This vacation post is almost two months behind schedule. I am oh so tempted just to post the pictures and hope that I later remember what the heck we were doing. But, it was just too great of a trip to not get some details down.
It is time.
Though I promise everything I say did actually happen, I hold no fault for chronological miscalculations. We were there for 8 days. We did stuff. In some kind of order. It went something like this:
Our flight, rental car pickup and trip to the condo were quite uneventful. We showed up when we were supposed to (after ignoring Jon's advice that we were leaving WAY too early and Trevor thinking we were leaving WAY too late) and got there without issues. It is a seriously long flight of just straight blue ocean. I found myself paying more attention to the water landing instructions than I have in awhile... but as I mentioned uneventful. Moving on...
For the next few days, it was just Kristy, Trevor, Jon and I. Another couple was joining us later in the week. But during our two couple days, we did the following at some point.
We took a beautiful drive straight up the canyon into the middle of the island. There were a lot of place to stop and hike around and feel like you are in the middle of a jungle paradise.
Thank goodness for the stops 'cause that twisty drive almost did me in. I have slowly become the biggest motion sickness wimp but since its more of a recent thing in my life (thanks babies of mine) I forget sometimes that this is how I am now. That came back to get me later in the trip... note my very alluring foreshadowing here.
We cruised back down the mountain to make it to church at time at the adorable little ward in Kapaa. The church was three separate buildings, a chapel, a gym and one with classrooms. The chapel was PACKED. Each row was shoulder to shoulder. They were barely able to squeeze us in. I felt kinda guilty about taking up space in their already crowded room. I felt even MORE guilty as the room got warmer... and the voice became more distant... and then suddenly there was lava flowing down the aisle ways around the giant palm trees that sprouted up between the pews... and then I realized I was asleep. And then I realized EVERY SINGLE PERSON IN OUR GROUP was asleep. There was no way I was going to continue our embarrassing display of disrespectful sleepiness to Sunday School so I kicked everyone out of there and we headed home.
Speaking of home, we got to stay in one of my parent's timeshares while we were there. It wasn't anything too fancy, not nearly as awesome as the other resorts we crashed while we were there, but it was cozy and located in Kauai so it totally fit the bill.
Our second day on the island is when we planned our helicopter tour. Having never been on a helicopter before, we were all pretty giddy. Jon will never admit to being giddy, but he was.
We had a very interesting safety instructor, and her odd talking style became Jon's Kauai voice the rest of the trip. It didn't get old.
See here? Still giddy!
On board, the giddiness has not faded!
And then we started moving. And then I realized this was a bbbaaaddd idea. Like really bad.
I was instantly so so so sick. The motion didn't agree with me at all. I spent the entire flight staring straight ahead of me, gripping Jon's hand and trying to keep my stomach where it belongs. I made it the entire way until the last 10 minutes. Thanks to some well placed barf bags, my stomach loss was only bothersome because of the smell (sooo embarrassing...) and I felt momentarily better right before we landed.
Needless to say that will be my last helicopter adventure ever.
Luckily the sights out the front window were almost worth it. Almost.
The "Jurassic Park" waterfall
The top of Kauai
This is one of the wettest spots in the world. It gets almost 500 inches of rain a year. The south part of Kauai only gets 18 inches a year.
Jon's main purpose in going on this vacation was to hike the Napali Coast. It is a crazy two day hike across that cliff face (pictured above) where a lot of the time it is just inches between you and the end of the trail. Not to mention, it is a very popular hike in the summer but not during the winter because it is wet and rainy the whole time.
So we got to the island only to discover the whole Napali Coast path closed. A girl had been pushed off the cliff a few days before we arrived by what they think was a local guy and they were looking for him in all of the jungly beaches in the area. Crazy huh? It didn't reopen the whole time we were there. It was a big bummer for Jon, but I said a little prayer of thanks just in case it was a little divine intervention for me.
We spent the next day on Poipu beach. This place was incredibly beautiful. We got to snorkel, boogie board, get some good beach reading time in, and do a little tide pooling. Every other day we tried to go there the beach was packed with people so I am glad we went when we did. It was a great beach.
We then got to pick up the Whitmores. **Back Story** The Whitmores are old Nielsen friends. I met Sarah for the first time when I started dating Jon... because she was his roommate. Seriously. She had finished a lease and couldn't find a new place so Jon offered to let her crash for a bit. He gave up his room to her and slept on the couch. For a large chunk of our dating life, I would come over to hang out with Jon and just talk with Sarah the whole time. She's fantastic.
She met her husband Tyler while Jon and I were dating. They got married shortly after we did. They then picked up and moved to Arizona and I took over her dance teaching job at El Dorado High School. And if they weren't already ingrained in our history, we took our "babymoon" together in 2007, both 6 months pregnant with our first baby.
So we're lifer buddies basically.
We picked them up from the airport and headed straight back to Poipu beach to enjoy some New Year's fireworks. Which luckily went off at 9:00 p.m. Midnight is really late...
And from then on I have no idea which day we did what so just go with it.
I am pretty sure one of the first day's they got in town we went kayaking. We kayaked down the Wailau river that runs through the center of the island up to the Fern Grotto and over to hike secret falls.
Flash flood warnings don't scare these two crazy chicks! Not too much at least...
The scenery was beautiful.
Another awesome thing about Sarah? She takes a buttload of pictures. Jon and I didn't even bring a camera, that is how lame we are.
And this is the fern grotto. Its very pretty. But not very exciting. I found out later that during the summer there are performers and all kinds of other crazy stuff going on here.
Since they didn't provide the crazy stuff, we had to bring 'em with us.
What's more crazy fun than panorama picture fun?! Nothing
And then back into the kayaks and over to the Secret Falls.
And this is the moment when our little games of bumper kayaks took a bad turn. Tyler and Sarah's kayak gave Kristy and Trevor's kayak a little nudge and they thought it would be a good idea to both learn away from the impact. By the way, in a kayak that is not a good idea. They then got a nice dip in the river. Which would have been all fun and games... except their kayak somehow was the one with all of our sandwiches. Doesn't matter how much you hike, soggy sandwiches are never delicious.
The hike to the falls was beyond beautiful and very doable. It was just also very very slippery. And we all chose incredibly insufficient footwear.
That hike to me will always be punctuated with high pitched wails as Sarah tried in vain to stay on her feet. Luckily we kept her on the path for the most part but I am pretty sure she was bumped and bruised from the experience.
The falls were freezing! But you don't fly all the way to Hawaii, kayak all the way down a river, and then hike all the way into it on the muddiest path in the history of existence and then NOT get under the waterfall! Unless you're Kristy and Trevor of course. :)
We drove up to the North side of the island to walk through fancy hotels to feel poor and to check out the NaPali coast firsthand - definitely closed. It rained on the north side the whole time we were there so we didn't linger.
But on our visits to fancy hotels on the south shore, we found ourselves lingering a little longer...
look at me, I'm a fancy hotel and I have parrots just hanging out in my lobby.
And this was the Sheraton. The resort was sitting on a public beach so while Jon got his bodysurfing on and I enjoyed a little reading in the sand time, a few of the rest of the crew slowly meandered themselves into this paradise and made themselves at home.
Sarah even ordered a fancy drink or two. We had such an awesome time pretending to be rich, we may or may not have come back a couple of times...
but check out who we saw catching a few waves, Bethany Hamilton.
We threw in some local flavor time with a hula performance from a local hula studio and some trips to the farmers market. Lychee... much tastier than they look from the outside.
Jon and I rented some beach cruisers one day and took off on a fun path that wound north up the beach from our resort. On our way, we found an almost completely deserted beach and then a little further on, a completely deserted beach. We took the rest of the crew with us there the next day. The surf was really high so we enjoyed our solitude, let a few waves knock us over, took a bazillion pictures and called it a day.
We call this picture... longing.
In between all of these fantastic adventures we spent a lot of time eating. A LOT of time. We ate a shaved ice at least once a day... usually twice. The perfect Hawaiian shaved ice goes as follows:
scoop of macadamia ice cream on the bottom
followed by perfectly shaved ice
topped with sour cherry
and pineapple flavors
It's called the Kacey (or it really should be), you can thank me for the recipe later.
And really, don't be tempted to order the weird flavors like dill pickle or buttered popcorn. You will take a bite, think 'wow this really does taste like (whatever weird crap you thought you should try)' and then you will be stuck eating the whole thing. Cause you know your friends are not going to share their delicious flavors with you. This is not personal experience advice I am sharing, I am way too smart to make that mistake.
Our last adventure of the trip was a four wheeling tour to... you guessed it a waterfall.
We didn't let Tyler or Jon come. They went and hiked a mountain or something instead. They have a hard time "staying behind the guide" and "following the rules" and "not getting us kicked out of fun tours" so they were deemed unfit companions.
And it was seriously fun for the mildly adventurous people that we are. This was my first four wheeling driving experience and it was a blast. We got to some some of Hawaii's finest wild animals up close and personal. Here's an interesting Hawaiian tidbit for you. Kauai has no predators. There are no snakes, no crazy poisonous spiders, nothing like that. So when people introduced wild boars and chicken to the island, they took off like rabbits. There's nothing to kill them but people and they just wander the island like they own the place.
The waterfall at the end of our journey. We jumped off it into the freezing cold water. It was awesome.
It is a true miracle to me that we have come to the end of this blog entry. It has taken me months to finish it. I blog almost solely on Sundays and between trips out of town, it just wasn't happening. Then two Sundays ago, I committed to finishing. Then, Jon ripped out a tree in our front yard the day before, taking our internet cord with it. Undaunted, I vowed to finish the next Sunday. Instead I spent the evening in the ER (more on that later, no worries everyone is fine). I was beginning to think it just wasn't meant to be but I have proved you wrong Fates of the Blog! I will now publish before I accidentally press the delete button or something.