Monday, May 6, 2013

Kauai Pictures

Growing up, the Sargent family vacations were backpacking, skiing, or camping trips which always involved packed itineraries, cold climates, paddling around another lake, or summiting one more mountain.  I was forever envious of my friend's who traveled to Florida and just sat on the beach.  This year, since I didn't need to rush back to school as soon as the ski season finished, my big sister Elsa and I decided to go on a tropical vacation together.  We chose the Hawaiian Island of Kauai.  And while it was a much warmer trip than we were accustomed, I can't say it was any more relaxed.  Every day I excitedly read through the guidebook finding all the trails we need to run or hike and the beaches we need to explore.  I could sit and relax anywhere so why do it on Hawaii when there were endless possibilities for swimming, snorkeling, biking, kayaking, hiking, running, beachcombing, and more?  Luckily I have an amazing sister who had no trouble keeping up with my non-stop pace.  While this might not sound like a post ski season recovery period, it was exactly the mental break that I needed to recharge and prepare for the next year

Sister's trip- I will treasure this time together
Palm trees everywhere
Lots of hikes to waterfalls
So many beaches to explore

Monk seals come up onto the beach to nap.  This guy was snoozing in the same spot for an entire day and the only sign that he was still alive was the occasional slap of a flipper.

Our first day was misty and raining but after that we had great weather 

We went on a jungle hike that day and then explored some beaches where it really didn't matter if it was wet.  

Rooster sharing the beach with us.  A bad hurricane hit the island about fifteen years ago and all the chickens escaped so now roosters run wild.
Shave ice is an island favorite but it tasted a little too much like a snow cone to me.  I preferred the fresh fruit smoothies and coconut ice cream to cool down on a hot day.  
Hanalei Bay on the north shore
A funky tree
Looking down on Ke'e Beach which was as far as you could drive on the North  shore and had awesome snorkeling along the reef.  
A road follows the perimeter of the island except for the Napali Coast on the  northwestern corner of the island where the shoreline is too rocky and steep.  The only way to see this part of the island is by foot, helicopter, or boat and we chose the first option and hiked along a portion of the Kalalau Trail.  

We took a side trail to the Hanakap'ai Falls, a 300 foot waterfall.  On our way back down the trail, we ran into Canadian National Team skier Perianne Jones and her husband Joel.  
We decided to skip swimming at this beach

A steamy hike up Nounou mountain on a hot and hazy morning
After a few days on the north shore we headed to the southern part of the island where it was really hot but the  snorkeling was great.
We got very hot and sunburnt on a run to the Mahaulepu beaches one afternoon
Lithified cliffs
Cooling off in the sea breezes
And the secluded beaches at the end were definitely worth it.  Right Els?

From the South Shore we continued west to the Waimea Canyon which is called the "Grand Canyon of the Pacific."  We hiked a trail along the rim of the canyon
It's over 3000' deep and each layer was formed by a unique volcanic eruption.

Also from the west side you can hike the Napali Coast from the opposite direction
This hike went through a jungle swamp

And finished with views of Hanalei Bay and the North Shore
Our last big hike was in the Nualolo valley, scrambling down rocky ridges towards the coast
Yikes! Still haven't conquered my fear of heights
But the views were worth it!
Ocean meets the sky.  No limits here!