Wednesday, December 31, 2014

In a Helicopter WITH THE DOORS OFF!

Who would do such a crazy thing??? Well, us of course! We chose to go with Mauna Loa Helicopters, because the helicopters were smaller, so everyone got a window seat. And you had a choice of whether to have the doors on or off. We chose OFF!

We took off from the Lihue Airport, and went along the southern coast of Kauai for a while. After going past the harbor, my first recognizable spot was this scene from the film "The Descendents," one of my favorite movies.

We also flew over an ATV course.

And we arrived at our first-of-many waterfalls, Manawaiopuna Falls, commonly known as Jurassic Falls, because it was in the movie Jurassic Park.

Then on to many more waterfalls.

I love the pools under each of the falls.

We then went over a few ridges and ended up in Waimea Canyon, where we were hiking the other day.

Waipo'o Falls is the waterfall we saw from the road the other day. Notice the itty-bitty helicopter.

Another shot of the falls.

And another of Waimea Canyon.

From there we went out to the Napali Coast.


This is a sea cave where the roof has collapsed.

And a nice arch -

Complete with waterfall.

This is part of the 11-mile trail we were on the other day, although much farther than we went.


From there we went up a canyon to see this huge waterfall.

And then we flew into Wai'ala'ale Crater, known as the wettest spot on earth, but fortunately not today.

Its 3000-foot water-etched walls was the spiritual center of the ancient Hawaiian universe, according to my guidebook. On a rainy day, all those vertical ridges are waterfalls.

On our way back to the airport, we flew by Wailua Falls, aka Fantasy Island Falls.

Coming in for a landing with all the other helicopters. Wow! It was a great trip. We loved being in a smaller helicopter, and Guy, our pilot was great.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Hiking the Napali Coast

At the end of the road on the north side of Kauai is an 11-mile hike along the Napali Coast. I have wanted to do a piece of it for a very long time.

It's not without its risks, as the signs at the beginning warn you. But what's a few falling rocks, flash floods and hazardous cliffs?

The beginning of the trail is really rocky. I suspect they do this to discourage you. But I am determined!

After a while the trail becomes less rocky. A young couple felt sorry for us and gave us their hiking sticks. We hadn't noticed there were some lying at the beginning of the trail.

The part of the trail that we did was fairly wooded, but we still got some good views.

At the half-mile mark there is a great overlook, where you can see the rest of the Napali Coast. The trail we are on continues in and out along the cliff.

We went a little farther, but turned around when the trail started going back downhill.

We got a good view of Ke'e Beach where the road ends and the trail starts.

Back in the parking lot, we walked over to see one of the wet caves in the area.

Oooooo... Someone left me a drink!

Driving back along the north shore, we stopped at a couple of cute churches.

This one had a very old cemetery next to it which was interesting.

And then we stopped at the Kilauea Lighthouse, which unfortunately was closed that day.

That night we actually went out to eat!

And afterwards went to Kauai's Festival of Lights.

All of the Christmas decorations inside were made with recycled materials! These are from plastic bottles and tin cans.

And of course, this being Hawaii, there was a Spam tree!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Hiking in Waimea Canyon

One day we took a drive up the road on the side of Waimea Canyon to do a hike and see the scenery. We first started out hiking on the Kukui trail, rated "easy," but turning out to be anything but.

We started out through the trees, where some seemed to be leaking sap. Hope they don't bleed out.

The trail soon got really steep - not my favorite. Barbara slid down this stretch on her butt.

While I slid down on my shoes, kind of like I was skiing.

At the bottom of that hill was a bad omen... There are living wild goats on the island, but I have yet to see one.

Looking back at my ski tracks.

I was worried someone else might fall because of my tracks, but fortunately, a horse and a mule came by and roughed them up again.

The scenery was spectacular, if you could take your eyes off your feet. We didn't go much farther, and on our way back got a recommendation from another hiker for the Canyon Hike up the road.

It looked pretty good, and we saw people over on the ridge to the left, so off we went.

Unfortunately, that involved climbing down to the bottom of the valley, up again, down again, and up again. So we went to an overlook on the trail and gave up.

From there we went to the end of the road for a view of the Napali Coast.

Just gorgeous!

We could also see the wettest spot on earth, Wai'ale'ale.

We stopped at a final viewpoint, where we could see a waterfall in the distance. By this time it was getting cloudy.

On the way back down the road, we stopped for a great view of the waterfall.

And one last look up the canyon.