Saturday, April 16, 2011

Monday on the Western Shore

Day two, Monday, in Kauai was spent in exploring the comparatively arid western shore. It was a beautiful sunny day! We drove past fields of coffee plants along the Coffee Highway and stopped at the Hanapepe Valley Lookout. Amazingly this beautiful serene place was the location of the bloodiest battle known to have taken place on Kauai.

We drove through Hanapepe which once had the reputation of being Kauai's wildest town after being settled by opium smoking Chinese rice farmers in the mid 1800s. Our exploration took us to the mouth of the Waimea River and the spot where Captain Cook set foot on Hawaii in January 1778.

In the distance we could just make out the private island of Ni'ihau.

After much searching, we finally found the overgrown remains of a Russian fort built in 1816....

...before making our way to the impressive Menehune Ditch, a smooth, lined irrigation ditch built by the original "native Hawaiians" around 300 AD.

The stones which came from a quarry more than six miles away were cut to fit smoothly together.

We crossed the Waimea Swinging Bridge....

...lingering to view the Wiamea River. The river is full of sediment that dyes the water red.

These children weren't too happy to see us trying to photograph their warm up exercises prior to their river play. They were such cute kids we couldn't resist snapping a picture.

We took the steep Waimea Canyon Drive from Waimea, a 4,000-foot elevation rise to the summit.

The views were incredible!

Waimea Canyon

Waipo'o Falls

Our pet dragon.:)

Disappointingly, dense clouds blocked the views at Kalalau and Pu'u Kils Lookouts. The latter was supposedly one of the greatest views in the Pacific. I guess we'll have to go back.:)

We traveled back down the mountain and headed to the beaches of Polihale State Park. The muddy, potholed road we followed for the last four miles was not particularly pleasant but we made it!

What we could see of the fifteen miles of uninterrupted beach was spectacular--from the 100 foot high dunes to the magnificent Na Pali cliffs. The Hawaiians believed that the cliffs at the end of Polihale Beach were the jumping off point for spirits leaving this world.
The surf was wild.

On the way back to the B&B, we stopped at Jo-Jo's shack in Waimea for shave ice. It was deliciously refreshing!

By the time we got cleaned up it was late and we were hungry! We ordered takeout at No. 1 Chinese Food in Kaleheo. The Chinese woman who took our order didn't speak English very clearly. We understood her to say that macaroni salad and rice came with each entree. Macaroni salad with Chinese food? We turned down the macaroni salad but she insisted on replacing it with extra rice. We tried to explain that we didn't want extra rice either but to no avail. When we opened the boxes of food at the B&B, we discovered enough rice for nine of us! The food tasted great, however.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Sunday in Kauai

Our second day on Kauai was fantastic! As we were leaving the B&B to attend church, I noticed the giant plant growing up the tree by our front door and had to take a picture. Where we come from, those are much smaller house plants!

Stake conference held in the Lihue Convention Center was a spiritually uplifting experience. I'm so glad we were able to attend. After lunch in our little kitchen, we headed to Koloa to explore! We discovered the remnants of an old sugar mill built over 170 years ago.

We saw some interesting vegetation including a huge banyan tree,

some sugarcane....

...and a monkey-pod tree with long meandering branches.

Original plantation buildings have been renovated and are now quaint shops and a history museum in Old Koloa Town. Some of the oldest buildings in Hawaii are located here.

We drove south to find the Makahu'ena Arch. Watching the ocean waves crash through the lava arch and rage against the lava cliffs was awe inspiring!

We also discovered a not-very-impressive light beacon,

interesting greenery growing among the rocks, a pathway along the tops of the cliffs which we followed to....

... a tiny cove filled with giant sea turtles.

On our walk back along the path we were surprised to see some prickly cactus among the beautiful flowers . Apparently, it was imported in the 1800s because it made a great natural cattle fence.

The secret path to and from the lava arch.

Next stop was the Spouting Horn, a popular tourist attraction.

In our quest for dinner, we discovered an orchid garden.

The first restaurant we found was much too nice (and expensive) for our hot and sweaty selves. We ended up eating at Brick Oven Pizza in Kalaheo near our B&B. The food was good but not as great as the previous night.