Hawaii: Part Three, Kauai

And we'll sing
Just as loud as we please, 
And we will be, 
Forever so free,
So come follow me, cabin by the sea.

Picture you and me in the cabin by the sea. 

You paint the fence, I'll hang the tire from the tree.
Our friends are all around, and the storm was a no show.
Said we look better in the black and white photo.
//The Dirty Heads

Wednesday was going to be another full day of exploring Kauai and just kind of going with the flow. We woke up, made a nice breakfast and then decided to head out to Anini beach nearby to do some snorkeling. The cottage came fully quipped with everything we needed which was another really great perk- masks, snorkels, and even fins were all there for the taking. We each randomly grabbed a set, loaded it up into the Jeep and headed to the beach. We definitely wanted to bring the GoPro to be able to get some underwater shots and hopefully see some fish and maybe even turtles, as we had been told a group of about 7 or 8 live and eat right offshore at Anini. How attractive is this snorkel gear!? So sexy!

 I chose the red fins and Nick got the blue pretty much only for the fact that boys usually always get blue. 
 We started wading out into the water and it was pretty darn warm! It almost felt bath-like in some spots. Anini has a really flat and sandy bottom too which made it each to stand and walk in if you needed to or if you got tired at any point.

The GoPro is so much fun to bring into the water! It's crazy how waterproof it is when it is in the housing. And it still manages to take great photos while being submerged. We got tons of shots of us snorkeling and swimming and playing around underwater.

 Love all the bubbles!


I was just floating and swimming around having a grand old time. It was at about this point when Nick started to complain about his feet hurting. And it was kind of odd because he really doesn't ever usually complain. Yeah, they weren't the most comfortable things ever, but we had only been in the water for about 20 minutes so I kind of passed it off the first few times he said something.
How good do we look underwater. SOoooooo attractive. It's safe to say we have yet to master the cool, unfazed-looking underwater shots.





I LOVE these next two shots from the GoPro! I just pointed the camera up at the sky from underwater right below the surface and they came out really cool! I love the bubbles and the colors mixed in with the glare from the sun.

Our feeties! At this point Nick started REALLY complaining about his feet killing him. I wasn't ready to leave yet as I was having a lot of fun playing around so I still just kind of chalked it up to nothing and kept on swimming around and taking photos.
 I like this one because you can see Nicks shadow off in the background... at least I hope its Nick!
 Here I am having a grand ole time...
 ...and I look back and Nick is trying to stay afloat and taking off his flippers trying to adjust them in any way he can, groaning in pain.
 La de da having a grand ole time.


 Nick.... in pain.

 The water is so calm at Anini beach. It is protected by a large reef right offshore.


 After a few more minutes I turn and see Nick getting out of the water. He said his feet just hurt so bad he couldn't keep snorkeling and had to get out. I kind of thought he was being a wuss, because my feet felt fine. Maybe a little uncomfortable, but nothing crazy.

 Still having so much fun on my own, and poor Nick leaving the water.

 And then eventually I got out and took off my fins and then took this selfie photo below. And thats when I actually looked down at my fins and saw that right in big letters on the tops of them they said "SIZE 10-14".... uh oh. I instantly knew what the problem was. There was two pairs of fins at the cottage, one was likely a females size, and one was likely a males size. We just grabbed without looking and ASSUMED red was female and blue was male... I was so scared to go over to Nick and see what size his were. I decided to play it cool and walk over and try to glance at his to see what size they were before saying anything. OH MY GOD..... my poor boy. Written clear as day on his blue fins was "SIZE 4-7". No wonder his feet were in excruciating pain. The only thing I could do at that point was laugh and then show him what I realized. It was so funny but not funny all at the same time. I felt so bad, but it wasn't either of ours faults. We hadn't seen the sizes when we grabbed them and would not have known otherwise. My fins were practically flopping off in the water and his were making his feet bleed. At least now we knew for next time that Nick would get the red, and from now on we check sizes!

Although the water was a little murky that morning and we did not find any turtles, it was a beautiful morning at Anini and an even more beautiful day. We managed to see some fish and some coral, but mostly just played around in the water and with the GoPro.

 I just love all of the trees at Anini and how they grow into and hang over the ocean.



 Since it was so nice out we decided to get our little beach chairs and hang out in the sun on Anini Beach for a little while. We really wanted to soak up some rays and maybe start to get a little tan going on.
 The cottage came with these beach chairs as well as really nice large beach towels. It was so nice to have them available to us as we would have either had to pack them from home or buy new ones when we arrived. It saved us on luggage space and on cash!



 Next up we decided to drive a little further up the North Shore to Hanalei Bay. We had stopped there on day one but the weather wasn't great so we didn't stay too long. This time, however, we knew we wanted to explore it more and jump off of the famous pier as it was hot and sunny.

 Hanalei is the most gorgeous little town and bay on the North Shore. The view is simply incredible and is surrounded by lush mountains.


 We walked down to the end of the pier and decided to jump off! We got some great videos on the GoPro of us jumping and Nick doing flips, but I have yet to figure out the video editing aspect yet so that will have to wait until later. 
 Here is my "I just jumped off and now probably look heinous" face... Yup, nailed it.
 Swimming under the pier to the ladder was so cool! Very "geometrical".


 There were tons of other little kids and groms jumping off and daring each other to do tricks and flips. Nick and I were clearly the oldest, but we felt like kids and were having a total blast.
 Another perfectly placed water droplet on the GoPro... gotta censor out the private parts! This ladder was really nifty to be able to get back out of the water. 

 SO HAPPY IN KAUAI!!!

 My PERFECTLY timed photo of Nick's front flip... NOT.
 Nick was able to hoist himself up onto this platform from the water if a big enough wave came. A lot of the other kids were able to do it too. I could have done it, I just didn't want to ruin or scrape my bathing suit ;-).
 The pier is overall just a really neat aspect of Hanalei and part of what makes it so iconic and memorable. Growing up here would have been SO fun!
 Looking from the pier back towards the beach.

 Lotttttttaaaaa booty in Hawaii. A lot a lot of booty. Most of it good, like this gal below, but some of it was bad.... very bad. The tini-tiny-barely-there bikini bottom is the Hawaiian norm. It is called a tanga and is practically a thong. Most of the suits you buy there are cut that way and mostly every girl wears one. The New England girls I am used to would have been gasping in horror! But it's all part of their culture.


 I caught a drone flying overhead! Just goes to show you you never know when you may be on camera nowadays!
 Picturesque Hanalei.... I could live there.

 If you have seen the movie The Descendants you may recognize this house/hedge from a scene in the movie that was filmed here!
 We decided to take a long walk down the beach and soak up some more of the sun.




 After seeing us take one too many selfies, a nice couple offered to take our photo! How nice!
 I just hadddd to hold the towel.... couldn't have put it down for one nice photo.... nope.
 George Clooney where are you!?




 After Hanalei we decided to keep on trekking up the North Shore and made our next stop at Tunnels Beach. Pierce Brosnan lives right on Tunnels and can often be seen out for a run or a stroll. Sadly we didn't see him, but the beach was gorgeous!
 It was so Jungle-looking!
 There is a huge shore break at Tunnels so swimming is often a no-go except on really calm days. Even still, there are huge current and undertows that can take you out even on flat days.









 Huge and heavy shore break! But it was really pretty. Even just getting water up to your ankles you could feel the enormous pullback into the ocean.

 Underwater!
 After Tunnels we drove to the furthest point North before you can't drive anymore called Ke'e Beach. This is where the Kalalau Trail starts along the Na Pali Coast that we would be hiking the next day so we wanted to see how long the drive was from this point back to our cottage. 
 The mountains you can see on Ke'e are the start of the famous Na Pali coast that we had flown over the day before via helicopter. Our plan was to hike a portion of the trail on Thanksgiving day.
 Bright and sunny Ke'e! Whats that over to the right??
 Oh, just crazy hippie drifters making little necklaces and rock formations. SO many people just float and drift around Kauai. It is the perfect place to be homeless. You can hitchhike anywhere and people will pick you up. The weather is always nice and what better place to be homeless than the warm sunny beach. There are missing person posters EVERYWHERE, but I assume that most of the people on them don't want to be found. 
 SO crazy to me that these views are on a beach. It made me really start to look forward to our crazy long hike we had planned for Thursday.
 We made it back to the cottage in about 25-30 minutes, so we knew we had to leave by 8am the next morning if we wanted to get a good parking spot and make it through the trail before the heat of the day really started. I took out my D300 while Nick was getting ready and took a few more nice photos of our cottage at sunset. I miss it so much already! Their property managers live for free on the 7 acres... I meant to tell Catherine if they ever quit to call me up!







 Once we both showered and got ready we decided to head to the next town over, Princeville, for a fancy happy hour at the prestigious St.Regis Princeville Hotel and Resort. Basically all of Princeville is owned by the hotel as the property is HUGE. It is the only town on Kauai that doesn't have a hawaiian name, but it is named to honor the son of the King of Hawaii, Prince Kamehameha. The hotel sits right on the ocean and looks out over the beautiful Hanalei Bay. It has a perfect view of the sunset right across the bay over the mountains.

 Finally looking tan!! I have such a handsome date.





 Shoutout to my workplace! We saw so many license plates starting with KBE! It was cool to see, but I definitely have to say I was NOT missing work by any means...! Sorry guys!
 We grabbed a seat at the bar inside and ordered up some fancy drinks. They had a guy playing acoustic and he was actually really good. We ended up getting a little sofa seating area with a great view out to the bay. I went out onto the balcony to get a few end of sunset shots.


 Everyone was tuned into the sunset.
 And the moon was out!




 After a nice happy hour we decided to eat out again that night. We had had a few people recommend the Kilauea Bakery for their great pizzas and salads, so we knew we had to try it out as it was right down the road from our cottage. Even better was that they were BYOB and we could sit outside! My kind of place. I had gone to get a coffee there the day before so I had seen it but had not had anything to eat .
 I loved the take-one, leave-one book rack they had outside as well. Everything about Kauai is just so relaxing!

 Loving the BYOB optin. The salad was great and had really yummy gorgonzola dressing. We also ordered a Hawaiian pizza and it was delish! We ate the whole darn thing.

 The Bistro where we had eaten the other night is right in the same plaza as well. Two great spots to eat in one location, you can't beat it!
 A hideous, but hilarious and cool take on a Ford Expedition!
 Happy Thanksgiving! The next morning it was up bright and early on Thanksgiving Day to get ready for our 8 mile hike along the Kalalau Trail, part of the Na Pali Coast. After calling and face-timing with our families to say happy turkey day, we made a nice hearty breakfast to get some fuel for our hike.
 We packed up Nick's backpack with everything we needed and headed back to Ke'e Beach where we would park our car to start the trail. We got their by 8:30 and still didn't even end up getting a good close spot. I thought that maybe on Thanksgiving Day it wouldn't be as full but we were wrong... we had to park in the far lot, which added another 1/4 mile onto the hike. Oh well! Early bird gets the worm I guess.
 Right behind Ke'e beach is the start of the famous Kalalau Trail. The full trail is a whopping 11 miles long, and 11 miles back to make a full 22 mile hike! The only way to do it is to hike out the 11 miles, camp overnight, and then hike back. We were not that crazy so we decided to do the much shorter 8 mile round trip hike to Hanikapi'ai Falls. 


 As you can see from the sign below, Hanakapi'ai falls was a 4 mile hike, but the distances listed are one-way so including the hike back it would be 8 miles. The hike goes two miles along the shoreline almost exactly, and then cuts into the woods two miles up stream until you reach the waterfall. We were really excited as we were yet to see a waterfall up close in person besides on the helicopter ride.

 Majority of the trail was fairly rugged terrain with lots of rocks, uneven ground, wetness, winding and so on. It was definitely not an easy hike, but the views and experience were totally worth it.

 After about a quarter mile of what felt like a straight-up hike, we finally got to a point where you could start to get some amazing views.

 Occasionally we would run into other group on the trail that we had to pass. 

 First sights of the Na Pali coast off in the distance!
 These photos are just amazing to me. I can't get over how beautiful and tropical of a place we were in. It felt like a dream.


 Little wildflowers along the cliff.
 Looking back the other way we could see a full view of Ke'e beach from above! So beautiful.



 The trail just looked like an all out jungle. Supposedly there are about 25 people living illegally somewhere deep in the Na Pali forest. Our helicopter pilot Myles had told us about them during the flight. They have gotten themselves so remote the only way to reach them is by helicopter. No idea how they survive out there.

 Ahh, LOOK AT THAT!!! I was there!! I took these photos... it's still surreal to me.
 Jurassic-friggan-park!

 Big thanks to Nick for lugging the backpack all day with our water, supplies, and cameras.


 Some pretty sun glare! It was another beautiful weather day on Kauai.


 Making our way closer to the Na Pali Coast.

 This was a great lookout spot but really scary as the edge was pretty much a straight drop! I was scared to get too close because it was pretty windy as well.

 We had reached the 1.5 mile marker. That meant there was only about 1/2 mile left until we hit Hanikapi'ai Beach and would then turn into the jungle towards the falls.


 Our first sight of Hanikapi'ai Beach in the photo below! Talk about REMOTE!

 Some cool sea caves we spotted along the rocky shoreline.
 Getting closer and closer to the beach!

 Nick reading the warning signs.


 Tons of warnings were posted everywhere about not swimming at the beach. It was SO tempting as we were so hot and sweaty from hiking. But the signs warned to not even go NEAR the water, as in not even a toe-touch, because of unseen currents. These currents have killed over 80 people so far that they know of, as noted by the hash marks on this wooden sign. 

 More warnings. 

 And again... more danger signs!! Although sometimes we like to be daredevils, we decided to abide by the signs and not risk it. As much as we wanted to cool off there would be no swimming for us.

 Once back on sea level we had to cross over a stream before getting to the beach. This stream is the stream that runs down through the jungle from the waterfall we would be visiting. We would be taking a sharp left into the jungle and basically would be following the stream uphill for another two miles until we reached the waterfall.




We made it!! I felt like Leonardo Dicaprio in that scene from The Beach where he sees it for the first time.
 These folks were being a little dare-devlish and going near the water. I stayed pretty far back. My parents having to get a call on Thanksgiving Day that I had drowned was not something I wanted to put them through.

 A big sea cave.
 There were lots of rock stacks on the beach. Not sure who made them!
Selfie on the beach before heading into the jungle. We were so hot and sweaty and tired. This was the one point where Nick almost killed me if I asked to take another photo! I sorry :-(
 2 more miles until the waterfall!

 As we started to get away from the shore and deeper into the jungle, it started to get even more hot and muggy. It felt good though because I am usually always cold, so I wasn't about to complain. Sitting here as I type this is is -15 degrees in Connecticut.... I'd do anything to be back sweating my ass off.
 This clearing was actually a helicopter landing area in case of emergencies. The only way your getting out in a hurry is by air!


 I loved seeing bamboo in the forest. It grows in these tight clusters and it's pretty cool. 
 Everyone had carved into it, so it made for some cool pictures.

 We had to cross over and back across the stream about 4 times throughout the hike. It was pretty treacherous each time and I am sure MANY people have taken quiet the spill into the water. I had my Nikon D300 around my neck though so I was praying to the good Lord that I wouldn't fall in.

 The trail was so thick at some points they had to put markers to let you know which way to go as it was hard to make out the path.
 Crossing over the stream once again. We were getting higher up and the stream was getting wider and deeper. There were neat little swimming tide pools every now and then.
 We should have jumped into this one! Looks so refreshing.

 And finally, after two more miles of grueling hike, the first sight of the Hanikapi'ai Falls ahead!


 Looking back down the stream. Crazy to think that this makes it way all the way down to the ocean.
 Almost there!

 WE MADE IT!!!! It was so beautiful and the waterfall was HUGE! It could barely fit in my wide angle frame.

 It really looked like something out of a movie.



 The two photos above this were the photos that Nick was taking on the GoPro in this picture.

 Looking up to the top of the falls.

 The waterfall made a really cool shower into the pool below it with tons of different streams coming down at various levels of pressure.


 The water fanned out and it was like ten streams in one rather than one big stream, which made it extra pretty!





 Now, let me tell you. The trail and hike were hot as hell. But as soon as we got to the falls, the wind was whipping off the mountain and waterfall and the spray from the water was making it very cold. The air temp was probably about 60 degrees at best, even colder when the wind gusted. What we should have done is right when we got there gone in the water when we were still really hot. Instead we took photos and ate some food and snacks. It cooled us wayyy down, and just being in my bathing suit I was starting to shiver. And then we felt the water. No way. NOOOO WAYYYY JOSE. Honestly one of the coldest waters I have ever felt. I was amazed, we really expected it to be warm. I knew it would be a little colder, but this was like ICE. Like almost instant paralysis when you put your leg or arm into it. Nick and I both don't do cold well so we knew pretty quickly that our waterfall swimmnig dream wasn't going to happen here. The guy in this photo below, who was SWEAR was Vladimir Putin, was one of the only ones able to go in and swim.
 I tried my hardest though, I really did. I stood up to my thighs in pain for about ten minutes trying to somehow get used to it. It was so cold I was nervous that if I just sucked it up and dove in that I would actually go into shock and not be able to swim or move.
 Nick laughing because we just can't believe how cold it was compared to the bath-like water just two miles away on the shore... Putin was in though and on his way to swim under the falls.
 Here is our waterall photo! We wanted to be in the water underneath it but there was no way it was going to happen. And we really don't regret it, because I can't regret not dying.
 Both of our hairdo's are so on point here....LOL
 So somehow the Gopro got accidentally put on a timelapse setting where it started taking one picture every few seconds. I actually kind of liked some of them though, they came out kind of neat. For instance this photo below where you can see the proof in my GIGANTIC goose bumps on my legs. Every pore is standing up! Not okay.
 Trying our hardest.... but not going to happen.

 Still on time lapse... we caught some pretty cool moments if you ask me!



 Still no idea it's taking photos.... here we are still debating if we should go in or not.



 LOL... I guess I was having some kind of "Spiritual" moment! It was for sure a spiritual place though... The most remote spot I have ever been.
 And finally we realized the GoPro was on time lapse so we stopped it and went back to regular planned photos.


 Putin finally got his girl to go in the water too! I don't know HOW she was able to do it!
 After a little while longer of taking in the beauty of the waterfall, it was time to head back as we still had another 2-3 hours of hiking to get back to the start of the trail.
 We started feeling the water in the stream every so often on the hike back to see when it started to warm up. It was still pretty chilly at this point, but luckily our bodies had warmed back up from hiking. I never thought I'd almost freeze to death in Kauai, who knew!?

 We put the Gopro into some of the tidepools for some cool shots.
 LOVE this one!


 The water was so green in this pool and it was really deep. The perfect spot to swim if you were hot enough.
 A happy hiker!

 A Doodle-tree. :-)
 Finally, after two miles we hit Haniakpi'ai Beach once again! At this point we knew we only had two more miles hike down the coast back to civilization.

 We didn't realize how much "Uphill" was going to be on the way back. We were dying! An 8 mile hike anywhere else may not be that bad, but an 8 mile hike in the overbearing Hawaiian heat on rugged terrain really does a number on you. Our legs were burning and once again I was sweating like a pig! The layers of clothes started coming off piece by piece.
 Goodbye Na Pali! Until next time.




 ARE WE THERE YET!? So sweaty and tired.... I was about to get down to just my bathing suit at this point. If I was this hot back at the waterfall I would have gone right in! Talk about two extremes all within a few hours of each other.
 Loved these green ferns all along the hike.
 Nick stripping down as well! It was sweltering. If we saw one more uphill we were going to puke!
 Last look at Ke'e from above and the end of our FINAL stretch of uphill hiking. It was all downhill from here... literally! I was so thankful.

 We made it!!! It was a long 8 miles but we were so happy we did it. Definitely a bucket list item checked off the list and I would go back and do it again in a heartbeat! Who wants to do the 22 miler someday?!
 Here is a map of our hike from Nicks Nike app. It was a little off on distance since he forgot about it and had put it in his backpack for a bit on the way home, but the overall path is correct.
 Before getting back in the jeep we saw a truck with a guy selling coconuts and we knew this was the perfect time to try fresh coconut water! Perfect opportunity to restore some electrolytes and rehydrate.
 Too bad it tasted awful...! Well, to me it did. Nick loved it! I actually wouldn't say it was awful, but it wasn't good thats for sure. 

 My coconut model :-)

 Right by where our car was parked there were some sweet caves at Ke'e.


 We headed back towards our cottage but had to stop at the Foodland grocery store in Princeville to pick up our "Turkey" (roasted chicken) for our Thanksgiving feast. Sure enough we ended up having our first Celeb sighting!! We saw him in the store and then waited outside in our car for him to come out so I could try and get a picture. I didn't even know who he was at first until Nick told me, I thought it was a homeless man by the way he looked but it was actually Rick Rubin (more info here). He is the former president of Columbia Records and also is the founder of Def Jam Records alongside Russel Simmons. He discovered and signed artists such as Beastie Boys, LL Cool J, Run D.M.C and is partially responsible for putting hip-hop on the map. He has worked with everyone from Jay-Z to Lady gaga to Black Sabbath to Aerosmith and even Kanye. Oh, and he is worth an estimated $250 MILLION!! We may or may not have creepily followed him back to see where he lives. He may or may not live in Anini.

 After groceries we stopped back at Anini to get some more relaxation and beach time in before our Thanksgiving dinner. It was so nice out and we were in heaven just chilling on the beach with a few beers.


 Sometimes we forget that the Gopro has a really wide angle!

 The iPhone is good for panoramas... thats about it.



 Shadow puppets!
 WE LOVE HAWAI'I!


 Another odd man noticing our selfies offered to take a few photos of us. He was from Sweden and it was his last day on Kauai.
 He even got in on one with us!
 These all had to be cropped because his big shadow was in.every.photo.

 Once the sun started to set we headed back towards the cottage but made another quick pitstop at our neighbors' ranch. This my friends is the filming location for majority of the scenes from the original Jurassic Park. The ranch itself is fittingly named the Jurassic-Kahili Ranch. It is a private historic property of over 2,500 acres of North Shore land. It is probably invaluable as it is just so much pristine real estate on one of the most sought after locations. We could only go up to the gate but I could still pick out certain scenes from the movie. All of Kauai pretty much felt like Jurassic Park, but this place in particular took the cake. 




 Gorgeous! I can see the Brontosaurus' eating from the trees in this photo!

 Back at the cottage I fed and petted my sweet Snowy for a bit. I loved having her there but it was sad knowing that she is 18 and she would likely be gone next time we come back.

 She looks and acts pretty damn good for 18 though! I would hold on as long as I could too if I lived her life!
 We showered and then had an awesome and fun team effort at making our Thanksgiving dinner! We love cooking together and although breakfast is our specialty, I don't think we did too bad! We got a roasted chicken, and cooked up some spam and pineapple as garnish. We made stuffing and got cranberry sauce. We tried to make gravy but that was the only causality of the night due to lack of stirring... I won't name any names. And the 'Piece de resistance' was the home made mashed Japanese Sweet potatoes. They were AMAZING. Best mashed potatoes, and best sweet potatoes, we had ever had. They are a cross between our regular white potatoes and our regular orange sweet potatoes. Not too sweet but not as dry and starchy as our regular taters. A little butter and salt and they were to die for. So much so that I went to great lengths to get Nick some for Christmas!
 Although it wasn't the same as being home and we did miss our families, we had a really nice dinner that we were proud of! We had accomplished a lot on Thanksgiving and we had a lot to be thankful for. Being in Kauai was a dream, and we are obviously doing something right in that we had that opportunity to be there.

 I fried up the spam and this was Nick's first time ever trying it. He loved it! So many people just think it is gross right off the bat, but it's so damn good. Salty, but good. TRY SPAM if you haven't, you won't regret it.

 Check out those delish mashed sweet taters!
 After dinner we curled up with some wine and watched a movie (Something About Mary, a classic!). We also wrote out postcards we had bought the other day to send to home. It was the perfect ending to a perfect day, and I will never forget it.
 Spot our leis from the airport drying out on the TV! They ended up making it all the way home and I have them in my room.
Thanks so much for following along with part three of our Hawaiian adventure. One last part to go! Hopefully I can get it up quicker than the previous ones so that I can move forward with 2015! It is really nice though being able to relive everything again through writing and photos. Take me back!

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