Hawaii: The high life

Let me set the scene: 8 days in Hawaii, 4 on Maui, 4 on Kaua’i. We mixed it up: relaxation and adventure. We saw new sights and revisited a couple of favorites.

We spent a lot of time up high.

Ziplining (Maui). This is a relatively new past time, where you hook onto a steel cable, launch from a platform, and ‘zip’ over a canyon to a landing platform on the other side.

Adventure Chick ready for action

Adventure Chick ready for action

We had two guides for the excursion, Junior and John, who were a well-practiced comedy duo, and handled our diverse group with deft hands. The first one to launch off the first perch was a little, round woman who was visibly terrified. John talked her through it, and then the rest of us lined up, one by one, and crossed the canyon.

Ziplining

Ziplining

I was nicknamed ‘Giggles’, because I laughed every time I crossed. It was just exhilarating. We did 8 crossings, ranging from 350 feet to 1100 feet. The trick on landing was to get feet on the platform and run out the momentum.

Ben coming in for a landing

Ben coming in for a landing

The views were incredible.

View from the final crossing

View from the final crossing

The lookout where we had morning tea revealed the next valley over. Spectacular views, but I doubt I would have ziplined across something so deep.

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Views up the canyon

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Adventurers

Hiking the North Maui coastline. Not only was some of the hike precarious (sheer cliffs – I took the ‘long way’ a couple of times), the road to get there was too. For about 20 miles, the road is a single lane winding along the coast. There were a few times where we had to hug the edge to let another car pass. The ‘pay off’ was mind-blowing landscapes and cultural phenomena.

Right on the edge

Right on the edge

Our guidebook mentioned that there is a spot on the North Maui coastal drive where travelers have left hundreds of stone piles. The guidebook also says that these piles of rocks have no cultural significance. This may be true of the ancient Hawaiians, but for the travelers who make it here and leave their own ‘mark’ on the landscape, the sculptures have taken their own significance. It is like ecologically friendly graffiti.

Stoners

Stoners

The day before we did the hike, we drove past on our way to the beach. I was intrigued.

Picking my way through the 'ruins'

Picking my way through the 'ruins'

The next day we left ours atop a cliff.

Eco-friendly graffiti

Eco-friendly graffiti

The rest of the hike revealed a landscape so unusual, that we felt like we were on set of a Sci-Fi movie.

North Maui Coastal Hike

North Maui Coastal Hike

Nature's Gargoyles

Nature's Gargoyles

Molten Mt Rushmore

Molten Mt Rushmore

Wasteland

Wasteland

The rest of this hike will be featured in the next post: we were on a quest to find two blow holes, the second of which sometimes blows water 100 feet in the air.

NouNou Mountain Hike (Kaua’i). Our first day on Kaua’i we followed our noses to NouNou Mountain, where we could trek up high and get a lay of the land.

The trail was deemed a ‘moderate’ hike, and for two reasonably fit people, we certainly worked hard for the 45 minutes it took us to climb the trail. The terrain was rugged, so challenging, and there were a few shortcuts that were little more than tree root ladders.

Rugged trail

Rugged trail

We stopped to admire the view. The day was heating up, and we were working hard.

View from the half-way point

View from the half-way point

We pushed on to the top, not really knowing how much further it was.

The view of the coastline, towns and farms was spectacular.

Kaua'i Coastline

Kaua'i Coastline

Not much further we got to the apex of the mountain, with views back to the rest of the mountain range. We turned around and headed back to the car, satisfied that the hike would ‘count’ as our exercise for the day.

The most unusual aspect of the hike was the soundtrack: roosters crowing and cows mooing. Cows, understandably, because dairy farms fill the valley. The roosters and chickens are harder to wrap my mind around, because on both Maui and Kaua’i the chickens are wild. Yes, wild.

Mama and babies

Mama and babies

No matter where you are, on a kayak paddling down a river, in your room at the resort, on a sunset cruise, roosters all over the island(s) are staking their claim with cries of ‘Cock a Doodle Doo’ – morning, noon and night. We even noticed the following headline on the front page of the local paper on Kaua’i: What’s Up With the Chickens? Indeed! If you want to know the full story, read this article from Go Visit Kaua’i.

Waimea Canyon (Kaua’i). This is called the Grand Canyon of Hawaii. Some of the canyon is lush and green, and other parts are more like the actual Grand Canyon. We spent a morning driving up onto the rim of the canyon, stopping at various view points.

Lush valley of Waimea Canyon

Lush valley of Waimea Canyon

Hazy mist burning off in the morning sun

Hazy mist burning off in the morning sun

A girl with a view

A girl with a view

And at one lookout I noticed this sign, covered in stickers by people who were clearly ignoring, well, the sign.

DANGER!

DANGER!

At the top of the canyon, we headed off road to take on a 1.5 mile hike. The landscape was lush, and diverse.

Gnarly

Gnarly

conifers on Kaua'i

conifers on Kaua'i

And then the trail started to disappear. We turned around not long after this.

LOST!

LOST!

We read later that people have gone missing in Kaua’i because they get lost on hikes, think they are walking on solid ground, but are walking on outcrops of plant life that overhang canyons, and then fall down cliffs and die. Yeah, glad we turned around.

Back at the car, there were more fowl.

Cock a doodie!

Cock a doodie!

We kept driving, and at the very top of the canyon is a view of the Napoli Coastline. Just gorgeous!

Napoli Coast

Napoli Coast

View from Waimea Canyon Lookout

View from Waimea Canyon Lookout

As well as the outdoor adventures that took us to great heights, we were also living the ‘high life’. Our room at the Marriott Kaua’i was a beautiful suite with this view of Kalapaki Bay:

Kalapaki Bay

Kalapaki Bay

View from our room

View from our room

Yes, beautiful. Even with the sound of roosters.

Next post: Hawaii H2O

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