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Kauai, Paradise on Earth: Day 9

Happy Eleven.

Photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/42427255@N00/sets/72157626551508705/with/5691367585/

This was our 11th anniversary and what better way to celebrate than waking up in Kauai? Happy, happy day to us.

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The day stretched out before us…a blank canvas …..no plans, no itinerary, no schedule….just an endless ribbon of highway dotted with sandy beaches and waves. The day was wide open and limitless, just as a perfect vacation day should be.

We decided to see if we could find Secret Beach. Another Kauai “secret” that’s in all the guidebooks, the sketchy directions and steep walk down assured me that even though others could find it, they might choose not to, affording us some privacy for the day.

The directions to the beach were something like this: Drive north to the first Kalihiwai Road. If you get to the second Kalihiwai Road you missed it. Look for the unmarked, unpaved road on the right and drive until it dead ends. Park somewhere that looks legal and take a big guess which direction to walk, because there are no signs or markers. Good luck.

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We saw some surfers heading down, which was lucky, because I am not 100% sure we would have headed that way. The walk was steep and down, down, down. Lazy girl that I am, I couldn’t help but think about the trip back up all the way down to the beach.

Apparently, despite the fact that public nudity is illegal on Kauai, this beach is the one nudists often try to get away with “doing their thing” on. We did not, however, encounter any nakedness. We did not encounter much of anyone, to be quite honest. The beach was enormous and there were less than a handful of people on it, so spread out that once you settled in, you couldn’t see anyone else.

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Solitude.

We blissed out for a while with books and sun, listening to the roar of the waves and digging our feet into the cool, soft sand. As the sun rose higher and higher, and it got hotter and hotter, we decided to see if we could find a place to swim. The ocean at Secret Beach is not very swimmable and on this day, the waves were pounding ferociously, so that even when I just tried to splash my legs at the water’s edge, I was nearly knocked over by the crashing waves.

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I had read that one could find tidal pools in the lava rock on the northern side of the beach, and it was low tide, so away we went. We were up for a little adventure. We did a barefoot rock scramble along the lava shelves and boulders and not only was it a fascinating walk, we did, indeed, find swimmable lava pools! The water was incredibly clear and cool and not a soul could be seen.

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Our very best discovery, however, was on the walk back to the beach. As the tide had gone out in our absence, it had created the most perfect swimming lagoon against the rocks.

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Try to picture it: the waves are crashing out in the ocean, but between two towering sets of lava shelves and backed by a lava cliff with a cave, a little sandbar rises up defiantly, daring the sea to come any farther. Behind this little sandbar, enclosed on three sides by smooth black rock, is a perfectly clear, perfectly beautiful swimming lagoon. The sides of the lagoon rose up, soft and sandy, and we simply lay in the cool water, looking out at the crashing waves beyond the sandbar. I could have spent the rest of the day right there in that spot.

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We stayed until we pruned and then had to force ourselves away from this absolutely dreamy little oasis.

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Sunned, salted, and now pruned, we decided to go in search of food, what had become our standard post-beach activity. I wanted Mexican food, so we decided to head back down to Kapa’a to find Verde for lunch.

To ensure that we didn’t pass out from post-beach-hunger, we made a quick pit stop at Banana Joe’s for a banana smoothie. It looks like ice cream, it tastes like ice cream, but it’s nothing more than blended frozen bananas. I don’t know how they do it, but it’s phenomenal.

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Frozen banana smoothie in hand, we made our way to Kapa’a town. We stopped on the way as we passed the Anahola Farmer's Market. We could see the smoke and could smell the BBQ and knew they were cooking up some wild boar today. We had wanted to try it but hadn't caught them out cooking yet. Seemed like a good time to give it a shot.

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It was good, but not good enough to deter me from my original craving: Mexican. We passed on the BBQ but did pick up some incredible banana bread and some delicious dried mangoes.

Verde was easy to find, but it’s not a place you might go into if you just happened upon it. It just doesn’t look like much. Located in a simple strip mall, with no fancy décor and an order-at-the-counter set up, it looked way more fast food than fine food. However, I wanted Mexican and I had heard good things about this little place.

I ordered a margarita and she asked me if Patron was okay. For a $6 margarita? Um…yeah. At home, a $6 margarita means you’re going to be lucky to get some Sauza Gold. Score one for Verde.

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After we ordered, she told us we could help ourselves to salsa and directed us to a condiment counter. I found not one, but two delicious homemade salsas there to go with the house made chips. Self serve house made chips and salsa. Score two for Verde.

Our food arrived incredibly fast and didn’t look a thing like fast food. Didn’t taste a thing like fast food either. It was incredibly good and the portions were huge. Score three for Verde.

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Ding, ding, ding. We had a winner.

Bellies full, we headed back to the villa and decided to take our villa kayak out for a spin around the bay before heading in for some down time. The bay the house sat on was wonderfully protected by a reef and the water was fairly calm almost all the time. We paddled to our hearts’ content in the clear calm waters before the sun, fun, and food finally took its toll and we had to call it a day.

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Naps were in order, since we had an anniversary dinner that night at Makana Terrace at the St. Regis Princeville.

We could not have chosen a more perfect location for our anniversary dinner. Arriving just before sunset, the views from the terrace where we were seated were so picture perfect they simply didn’t seem real. It was difficult to concentrate on the menu with those views before us.

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We had a bottle of wine as the sun settled lower and lower in the sky. Just as the sun was setting, literally everyone in the restaurant was up taking photos. It was just too beautiful for words. When the sun finally ended it’s slow journey, sinking into a blaze of red into the ocean, we were able to fully concentrate on our meals: Scallops for him and a risotto with crabcake for me. We followed it with dessert and rolled ourselves on out of there.

Happy Eleven to my dear, dear husband.

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Posted by vicki_h 10:42 Archived in USA Tagged beach island tropical hawaii kauai Comments (0)

Kauai, Paradise on Earth: Day 8

The trail to Heaven.

Photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/42427255@N00/sets/72157626551443277/

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There is one section of Kauai that is inaccessible by road. The extreme north, or Na Pali coastline can only be seen one of three ways: by air, by boat, or by foot. The Kalalau Trail is considered by many to be one of the best hikes in the world. Stretching 11 miles along the Na Pali coastline, the trail begins where the road ends, literally. From there, it climbs and dips, steeply along a badly eroded trail that hugs sheer cliff edges and is often turned into a maddening slip and slide if one of Kauai's frequent rainstorms arrives. It ends at Kalalau Beach, a mile of pristine beach open only to those who want to get an overnight permit and brave the rugged trail.

For those who don't have a permit, enough time to do an overnight hike, or don't feel like lugging camping equipment all the way to Hawaii, you can still get a taste of this exciting hike by hiking 2 miles in to Hanakapi'ai Beach and 2 miles back out. You can tack on an additional 4 miles to hike back to Hanakapi'ai Falls if time allows.

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The beauty of it and the promise of a secluded beach are too much for anyone to resist, however it is not for the faint of heart. Even the short 4 mile trip to Hanakapi'ai Beach and back is difficult to maneuver. The trail gets vertical very quickly. In some places, it is smooth packed red dirt, but in others, it is a sheer climb up slippery rocks or mazes of twisted roots. The trail is not easily forgiving. One misstep, and you will be sorry. It's a hike that makes you wake up and pay attention to where you are putting your feet.

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We had been hoping to do the 4 mile hike to Hanakapi'ai Beach and back all week, but each day spewed just enough rain to keep us away. I knew the trail could be difficult under the wrong conditions. I had seen photos of the misery that is the Kalalau Trail when it's wet. I didn't want any part of that. However, this particular morning was heralded in by a bright blue sky and followed two very dry days. We felt that our chances for clear skies and a dry trail were pretty good, so we headed north.

We made a pit stop at my favorite little church, the Wai'oli Hui'ia Church in Hanalei. I think this might be the most beautiful church on earth.

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We continued north until the road literally dead-ended at Ke'e Beach. We grabbed the essentials (water, snack, sunglasses, camera) and headed toward the trailhead. It was a phenomenal day....clear, bright, and beautiful. We had managed to pick the perfect day to hike. The trail was dry and the skies were clear.

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The first section of trail climbed up to a viewpoint where we could look down on Ke'e Beach, with it's perfect swimming lagoon framed by a reef. I had no idea just how beautiful Ke'e is until I saw it from this vantage point.

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From there, the trail climbed steeply up and over rocks, pretty much a rock scramble until it once again reached a dry packed red dirt trail that wound endlessly with lush green jungle on one side and a steep drop to the ocean on the other.

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The landscape was intoxicating. The views..... surreal. Jagged cliff edges fell steeply into the wild crashing ocean below. Turquoise water foaming with white tipped waves stretched as far as the eye could see. Matt pointed out a pod of dolphins as they jumped and played in the surf below. Plants in shades of green that seemed impossible to the eye burst out of every shady crevice, so large and twisted they seemed prehistoric. Flowers flowed over lava rock like brilliant purple waterfalls. Ragged green mountains rose like mammoths along the ridge before us.

I was mesmerized. I had no idea it would be like this.

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For a couple of miles, the trail rounded a jungle covered ridge where the forest canopy opened to reveal an endless expanse of blue Pacific waters. A thousand feet straight down I could hear the wild surf smashing into the rocks below, sometimes so loud I was certain it was thunder or a distant explosion, only to have Matt assure me it was nothing more than the force of the water against the earth.

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We were reaching the section of the trail where it started to head down toward sea level, nearing Hanakapi'ai Beach when a little girl walking toward us stopped to wait for her parents. She stood gangly and cute, like little girls do, hands at her sides, twisting back and forth to the kind of private music little girls always have in their heads when suddenly, she looked down and SHRIEKED!

I mean, it was a full on, horror movie, being bludgeoned to death in one's sleep, top of the lungs type of shriek.

She started high stepping toward us rapidly, reminding me of the drum major as he makes his way across the football field before the band at half time.

"GET THEM OFF! GET THEM OFF! GET THEM OFF!" she screamed, flailing her little girl arms helplessly at her legs as she ran, her mom trying to catch up to her, but not having a chance as fast as that kid was running.

It was then that I noticed the ground was literally teeming with THOUSANDS of little red ants. No exaggeration. THOUSANDS. They covered the trail for about 1/2 mile.

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This is not at all a problem unless you stop moving.

If you stop moving, you are dead because they will climb up your legs. Quickly.

If anyone saw a girl frantically marching in place every time she stopped to take a photo on the Kalalau Trail on April 21, 2011....that would be me.

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We made our way down where the trail crossed a stream. As we waded across and the view of Hanakapi'ai Beach could be glimpsed through the trees, I forgot all about hazardous slippery rocks, mud, roots, steep drop offs, hot sun, and ferocious ants.

It was beautiful.

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Smooth round rocks rolled from the lush jungle to frame the beach on the back and countless cairns had been set up, rising like little sentinels protecting this pristine paradise. Steep, lush green peaks rose on the two sides of the beach, and the beautiful turquoise waters of the Pacific rushed in from the front. The beach itself was a perfect little crescent of white sand dotted with rocks covered in a moss so green it looked unreal.

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The setting was simply breathtaking. There are no words to describe it.

There were several feral cats around and we had only brought grapes and cheese, so Matt kept feeding them cheese despite my warnings that, while he thought he was helping them by feeding them, that much cheese was going to wreck their little systems. I bet those 3 cats didn't poop for a week.

We had a snack and simply enjoyed the moment.

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And then it was time to make the hike back...which was absolutely as beautiful as the hike in.

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If you didn't count the ants.

As we neared the end of the trail I was hot and could just feel the cool water of Ke'e Beach as I splashed in. When we actually reached the end of the trail, I peeled my sweaty clothes off and dove in. Ke'e Lagoon was clear and beautiful and was the perfect place to cool off after the hike. Two big turtles were sunning up on the reef as we swam in the crystal clear water, feeling lucky to have been able to witness such a perfect piece of paradise.

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It was too late for lunch and too early for dinner. Not sure what we wanted, we stopped in Hanalei at Kalypso. I hadn't heard much about it and didn't know what to expect, but it was very good. I had an "Iniki" which was the strongest mai tai I had on the entire trip.

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Holy Moly.

Matt had the mango BBQ and spicy wings and I had some kind of fried fish and crab salad wrap which was delicious.

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Once we got back to the house, we were full and happy (and I was more than a little "Inikified") so we decided to call it a day.

What a day it was.

Posted by vicki_h 12:53 Archived in USA Tagged beach island tropical hawaii kauai Comments (1)

Kauai, Paradise on Earth: Day 7

Molo-ah-aaaahhh......

Photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/42427255@N00/sets/72157626513840513/with/5681678697/

We got a very lazy start to the day..beachcombing, reading, and snacking. I took some time to get a shot of Kalalea Mountain, which could be seen from Secret Cove Villa. This mountain bears a striking resemblance to King Kong's profile. Can you see it? He greeted us every morning as we came out to start our day.

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"Good Morning, King Kong!" I shouted happily as we piled beach bags and sunscreen into the car, ready to go out and find our next adventure.

Every day on Kauai was an adventure. We'd pile into our Jeep with some general sense of where we were going, pop in some happy sun tunes, and see where the road took us. On this day, it took us to Moloa'a Beach...one that quickly became my favorite beach of the entire trip.

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A bit off the beaten path, bordered by the Moloa'a ranch and scattered with just a few private homes, the beach felt like a secret. I know it's in all the guidebooks and on all the maps, but it still had less than a dozen living souls on it (and two of those were coconut chasing dogs). We were lucky enough to hit it on the right day as well, with light winds and calm waves. It was a perfect oasis for a blissful morning.

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The shallow, clear waters on the left side of the beach were perfect for swimming or just lounging in the cool water. Near the middle, there was a rock ledge, where the waves would crash and then pour over like a waterfall. This might have been my favorite spot to just sit and enjoy all the beauty around me. The right side of the beach (after walking over some lava rocks) was long and stretched into a delicate curve dotted with a few palms and more of that beautiful azure water.

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It truly was paradise.

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I could have stayed there all day. We reached that point in the beach day..you know the one..where your belly starts growling..and you have a bit too much sand in your swimsuit..and you can see your arms starting to turn that angry shade of pink no matter how much sunscreen you put on them..but you are so in love with the place you are that you can't decide.go or stay? Go or stay?

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We almost stayed, but we'd been there for hours and some serious hunger was setting in, not to mention those angry pink arms. I knew it was probably a good time to pack it in.

We couldn't have timed it more perfectly. After spending four glorious hours in relative solitude, we walked up to the car to see four ..yes FOUR buses of senior citizens unloading.

What the????? Where were that many people even going to go? They were a flurry of sunvisors and bright polyester florals as they climbed out of the buses, Instamatics in hand.

I felt sorry for the people on the beach below as we escaped just in the nick of time.

We were only a few minutes from Kilauea so we headed that way to find the Kilauea Fish Market of ahi tuna fame. We found it easy enough and stepped inside a screen door emblazoned with a sign that read, "We don't have public restrooms, but we have killer food!" I stepped inside a small storefront with a cooler filled with fresh fish, a small service counter, and a menu board loaded with goodies like fresh fish tacos and ahi tuna.

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I saw a sign inside that said, "BYOB....we have openers and glasses." I directed Matt to run to the market nearby and grab us something to drink while I placed our order. I handed him $30 and he looked at me like I had come from Mars as he walked away mumbling something about how it wouldn't be that much.

I ordered his fish tacos and my ahi tuna wrap and sat outside to wait for Matt.

He came back empty handed and shrugged, "They don't have sodas," he said.

"Soda?" I asked. "Who wants SODA? I sent you for a bottle of WINE. This is vacation! We need wine for lunch."

Finally figuring out why I had given him $30, he dutifully headed back to the market and returned with a bottle of red wine.

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You can too drink wine for lunch on vacation. Can too.

The food was superb. The combination of morning sunshine, yummy food, and wine made me feel all warm and fuzzy. My favorite vacation feeling: Post beach, with a little sand on my feet inside my flip flops, my hair warm and salty from swimming in the ocean, my stomach full of some great after-beach food, and a slight lunchtime buzz. Aaaahhhh...vacation bliss.

We decided to check out the shops in Kilauea and walked around Kong Lung and the other neat places in the shopping center. We stopped to say "hello" to Daphne, who just peeked at us shyly from her perch. If you want, you can be friends with Daphne. Just go to her Facebook page (Daphne Kong Lung). I think she wants more friends.

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Everyone should be friends with at least one cockatoo.

Go ahead. Friend her. You know you want to.

With our heads full of sunshine and red wine, we headed back to Secret Cove Villa to CRASH for a while.

That evening, we made our way over to Kapa'a for some shopping and dinner. Kapa'a has a really cool historic district with some very colorful shops like Larry's Music where you can buy your very own ukulele or the Hee Fat General Store filled with puka shell necklaces and sarongs.

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I was eyeballing a really expensive dress in the Island Hemp and Cotton store when Matt dragged me away just before I got the "I gotta' have it" gleam in my eye and headed me in the direction of dinner. Man, that guy is smart. And has great timing.

Dinner was at Caffe Coco, which was definitely one of my favorite restaurants of the trip. It was an eclectic little place surrounded by lush tropical foliage, hidden down a little drive at the edge of a cane field near Wailua. Twinkling little lights blinked happily from the open air dining space and soft music drifted through the air, courtesy of the live band on stage. We ordered at the counter and then headed back into the garden where mismatched bamboo tables were set up, surrounded by flowers, pomelo, avocado, mango, tangerine, litchi, and banana trees, all with a view of the Sleeping Giant Mountain in the distance.

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The trees apparently provide some of the key ingredients that are used in the delicious food that the kitchen prepares. It was a wonderful, laid back, cool place with a great vibe, terrific music, a tropical atmosphere, and amazing fresh food. We kept laughing as we heard what sounded like an elephant making it's way through the tropical growth behind us, only to realize it was the roosters settling into the trees for the night. Every time we'd think they were finished, one would go crashing and flapping about. It was a nice touch to an already wonderful place.

It's BYOB, so we had brought our favorite wine with us. We sipped on it as we listened to the band and munched on greek salads with house made dressing. For dinner, Matt had a Cajun platter that included gumbo, rice, and a Cajun grilled fresh catch. I had the penne d'alba, which was a pasta with mushrooms, herbs, wine, garlic, roasted tomato and parmesan. For dessert, we shared a black mocha cake that was to die for.

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We spent the rest of the fading evening sipping our wine and listening to the sounds of the music, wondering if the roosters had finally found a place to sleep... and thinking about sleep ourselves.

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Posted by vicki_h 13:36 Archived in USA Tagged beach island tropical hawaii kauai Comments (0)

Kauai, Paradise on Earth: Day 4

Puff the Magic Dragon and other mystical things.

Photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/42427255@N00/sets/72157626497881651/with/5671241192/

Awake by 5:45 every morning with little to do at that early hour but relax, we developed a routine of taking a long walk along our beach every morning before coffee and breakfast. It was a great way to stretch, wake up, and fill your lungs with fresh salt air bright and early.

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The beach behind the villa was a treasure trove of trinkets brought in by the sea overnight. Every morning, she would leave her bounty strewn along the sand, as if carelessly discarded in her hurried flight back to the open waters during low tide. I would comb through her treasures each day, grabbing them up before she had a chance to return and retrieve them. Much to my delight, I discovered on day one that "our beach" was littered with beautiful sea glass each and every morning..my favorite sea treasure.

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Pockets bulging with sandy gems, we finally returned to the villa for Kona coffee and some deck time in the sun, which was already shining hot and bright by 8 a.m.

A little before noon, we pulled ourselves out of the sun and headed into Kapa'a town for an oceanside Sunday brunch at Oasis. With a spicy bloody mary in hand and a GIANT platter of pancakes with grilled pineapple and maple bacon cream, I was in heaven.

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We spent the afternoon lazing in the sun at "our beach" in Anahola, and when we became so lethargic that we couldn't even stand ourselves, we cleaned up and headed toward Hanalei.

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On the way out of Anahola, we decided to stop at Duane's Ono Char Burger, because so many people rave about how great the burgers are, because it was less than 1/2 mile from our house, and because we wanted a snack. We got a BBQ burger and fries to split and headed down the road toward Hanalei.

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My assessment of Duane's: It was not a BAD burger, but it was a very forgettable burger. I am not sure what all the fuss is about. It was okay, but looked and tasted remarkably like a Whopper with BBQ sauce. To me, this is food you eat in a pinch when nothing else is available. This is not food you go out of your way for.

I did however, very much enjoy the chickens and dogs that kept us company as we waited 15 minutes for our very average burger.

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We headed north to Hanalei. Yes, the Hanalei where Puff the Magic Dragon lives. Don't believe me? Well, you should. I saw him. He was lying stretched out, curled protectively around Hanalei Bay. Look, I even got his picture. I "overenhanced" it a bit so that you can see his big, dragon head stretched out into the bay with one large brown eye watching all that comes and goes. Keep watching and he might wink at you.

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We arrived in Hanalei right at 3:00 p.m. so we decided to stop at the Hanalei Community Center for the Sunday afternoon slack key concert. This is a regular event held twice a week by slack-key guitar master, Doug McMasters, whose wife, Sandy, narrates between songs to tell you the history of slack key guitar. It is housed in a building that sits back in the taro fields, just below the towering green mountains.

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As we entered, we noticed it was a "shoes off" event, so we quietly slipped out of our flip flops and took a seat. Just as Doug began to play, a hard rain began to fall outside and a soft breeze blew through the open windows, bringing in the smells of the fresh fields outside and the occasional crow of a confused rooster. The combination of Doug's spellbinding music, the view of the misty mountains and taro fields beyond us, and the breezy windows bringing in the sound and the fresh smell of the rain created a magical moment as we sat there in our bare feet, mesmerized, transported. You could almost feel the presence of the "ancestors" of whom Sandy so often spoke.

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According to Sandy, the slack-key style is quickly dying, as the younger generation of Hawaiian guitarists are more interested in modern (easy) versions of Hawaiian style than they are in learning the old styles, which are far more complex and take a lifetime to master. The slack-key tunings, as best I could understand, were irregular tunings that were specific to various Hawaiian families and kept secret for decades. If you were not in the family, you'd never learn the tuning. Today there are more then 75 of them documented and only a few left who can play them. McMasters was amazing, not only in his musical talent, but also with his bubbling personality. We felt honored to have gotten to hear and see him.

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The concert was followed by some shopping in Hanalei and sushi in front of Bouchon's giant open window, overlooking Hanalei town.

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I fell asleep to the lyrical sounds of Doug's mongoose song dancing through my dreams.

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Posted by vicki_h 10:10 Archived in USA Tagged beach island tropical hawaii kauai Comments (0)

Kauai, Paradise on Earth: Day 3

Cliff hiking, puka dogs, and a rooster stampede.

Photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/42427255@N00/sets/72157626482751039/with/5668090410/

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With a little time left at the Hyatt, we decided to start the day with a BANG. We threw on our sneakers and headed to the Maha’ulepu Hertitage Trail, which carried us 4 miles (roundtrip) along ancient sand dunes that have been hardened and compacted into spectacular limestone ledges and cliffs that run beside the pounding ocean.

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The trail started at Shipwrecks Beach, right beside the Hyatt, so it seemed like the best time to do it. As we headed along the trail, every view seemed more spectacular than the last. The view was so huge, it was hard to take it in.

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A photo can never do it justice. You have to be there, standing at the cliff’s edge, feeling the wind whipping through your hair, feeling the salt spray on your cheeks, and hearing the waves crashing against the rocks below, only then can you fathom the enormity of it.

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The trail ends at a beautiful and secluded beach where we lay in the shade and listened to the crashing waves for a bit before heading back.

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It was time to say “good bye” the Hyatt, and while I would miss the decadent spa and the cool blue pools, I would not miss the $14 cocktails or the fact that no matter where I turned, there were people everywhere. This is why I don’t do resorts. The lack of seclusion is hard for me to take. However, for 2 days, it had been fantastic.

But I was ready to go!

We went a short distance down the road and stopped at Puka Dog in Poipu for lunch. Literally a hole in the wall inside a small shopping center, this hot dog counter had a perpetual line streaming in front of it, a testament to just how good a hot dog can be.

What’s a puka dog, you ask? First, “puka” means “hole” in Hawaiian. To make a puka dog, they bake a large fresh roll (about twice the size of an average hot dog bun) and poke a hole in it. They toast the inside of the bread and stuff in a giant, perfectly grilled polish sausage. They then squirt in any number of unique toppings that you request.

I had spicy jalepeno garlic lemon sauce, mango relish, and lilikoi mustard and a fresh lemonade, just like grandma used to make (the lemonade, not the lilikoi mustard...I'm not sure grandma knew what lilikoi was). Delish.

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Wanting to see the south side sights before heading north, we drove toward Spouting Horn where we were stopped in our tracks by the amazing smell of garlic wafting through the air. We slammed on the brakes, made what I am certain was a very sketchy and illegal u-turn and pulled in at the Savage Shrimp truck to sample a plate of garlic shrimp. Smelling amazing and wrapped in foil, we carried our prize to a picnic table at Spouting Horn and sat down to eat what may be the best shrimp I have ever had.

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Yes, the best shrimp I have ever had was on a paper plate purchased from the back of a truck on the side of the road.

They marinate the shrimp in olive oil, garlic, and spices for something like 24 hours and serve it with the peel on. We sat there peeling and licking our fingers as a few chickens wandered over by our table.

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“Don’t feed the chickens,” I said to Matt.

“Why not?” he asked. “Maybe if I give them some, they’ll stop touching my feet.”

“The sign says, DO NOT FEED THE CHICKENS.” I replied.

Rules. I am all about rules.

“It’s the rule” I said smartly as I licked a big drip of garlic flavored oil as it ran down my hand.

That’s when Matt ignored me and made another mistake. He threw a handful of rice away from the table.

Remember the spoon and the koi? Well, it was a lot like that, but with chickens.

Within SECONDS, what were 3 or 4 chickens became about 40 chickens. They came running out of the woods. They came running from the parking lot. They came running from the restrooms. Chickens everywhere. Cackling and running straight for us in a frenzy.

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There were wings flapping, feathers flying, roosters crowing, and hens pecking. It was like Black Friday at Wal-Mart as they climbed all over each other fighting for the rice. I felt like I was in the Old MacDonald version of a bad Alfred Hitchcock movie.

I was mortified.

Oh my goodness. We fed the chickens. The sign said don’t feed the chickens and we fed the chickens.

I just knew we were going to be the first people thrown out of Spouting Horn Beach Park as I waited for some park official to show up with handcuffs for my garlic-greasy hands.

Thankfully, no one showed up to chastise us and no chickens were hurt. When the food was gone, everyone returned to their normally scheduled business and I left the table quickly.

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We got our look at the giant blow hole that is Spouting Horn, perused the vendors that were lined up selling shell necklaces and sea glass earrings, and headed back down toward Hanapepe with Lappert’s on the brain.

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Lappert’s Ice Cream is some amazing Hawaiian goodness. With a cupful of Kauai Pie (kona coffee ice cream swirled with chocolate fudge, coconut flakes, macadamia nuts, and vanilla cake crunch) we stopped to check out the sights and made our way back north.

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Aloha bliss, indeed.

It was time for a pit stop at Salt Pond Beach Park where we licked dripping ice cream from our hands and watched the kids play in the waves.

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We stopped in old Koloa town on the way, browsing the cute shops and eyeballing the giant monkeypod tree before continuing north. We passed through the tree tunnel, drove through Lihue, Wailua, Kapaa, grabbed some groceries and found ourselves in Anahola in the late afternoon.

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We checked into Secret Cove Villa which absolutely WOWED us upon entry. It exceeded our every expectation, with sweeping views of the most beautiful beach from every room, gorgeous décor and amenities, wonderfully cool a/c, and a welcome basket of chilled champagne and goodies upon our arrival.

This would be our home base for the next week and we couldn’t have been happier.

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As the sun settled lower and lower in the sky and we snuggled deeper and deeper into the super cushy sofa of Secret Cove watching the waves crash below and sipping chilled champagne, we just couldn’t tear ourselves away.

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We threw our dinner plans out the window and made a snack tray of cheese toasts, salami, fruit, chips and hummus, and garlic mac nuts followed by Roselani coconut ice cream; popped in a dvd; and called it a day.

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Posted by vicki_h 08:37 Archived in USA Tagged beach island tropical hawaii kauai Comments (1)

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