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Trip Report Another Songdoc Kauai Trip Report--Doesn't He Ever Stay Home???

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Sorry for the delay in posting this. I’ve been busy, busy, busy—and just returned from an amazing trip “glamping” (glamorous camping) and whitewater rafting in the Canadian wilderness. It was a work trip--but I had plenty of time to enjoy a very different kind of paradise.

As my faithful readers know, I’m a hopeless Kauai addict and have done countless trips there since falling under the Garden Island's spell eight years ago. I figure I’ve spent more than a total of eighteen months in paradise, so I’ve already seen most of the beaches, sights, hikes, gardens, and activities that interested me. This trip was more about relaxing. DP and I needed to relax after six weeks of work (and sightseeing) in Australia and New Zealand. With horrible layovers (including seven hours in the Sydney airport) it took twenty-five hours to fly from Christchurch, NZ to Kauai. AGGHHH! It would have been much faster if I could have flown from Auckland.

As always, I stayed at a Sealodge condo in Princeville booked from Ahh Aloha (www.kauai-vacations-ahh.com). It’s an amazing value with awesome views.

We spent a week recouping by going for long walks and swimming at nearby beaches. My faves are Hanalei Bay, Lumahai, Haena, Tunnels, and Ke’e. But wait ... I like Anini and Kealia, too! Love that walking/bike path that goes along the ocean past Kealia Beach. It's a great way to walk off some of those massive Kountry Kitchen macadamia/banana pancakes.

Actually, we don’t go to many restaurants. We prefer eating on the balcony, enjoying better views and healthier food than we can get in any restaurant. But course, I had to indulge my addiction to Hamura’s Saimin (with BBQ chicken stix) several times. Also enjoyed a meal at Neide’s. Love sitting outside there.

After about a week of walking at Hanalei Bay and soaking in the sea we were ready to venture out further. We had gorgeous weather when we arrived at Waimea Canyon and Kok’ee State Park. The sky was crystal clear and there were hydrangeas and brilliant red trees blooming at the Kalalau Lookout. To me, this is quite possibly the most beautiful spot on this Earth.

We continued on to the Pihea Lookout and walked the beginning part of the trail. The beauty of that undulating brown dirt path makes me think I’ve landed on another planet. We’ve done this path before and enjoyed it, but this time we had something else in mind.

We love this area and Koke’e State Park, and would typically hike the Canyon Trail. It’s relatively easy and the views along the rim of the canyon and at the end of the trail (past the waterfall) are truly spectacular. But we had decided to try the Awa`awapuhi Trail this time. The Nuolo Trail that it would typically connect to had been closed for quite a while, so we couldn’t do it as a loop. It was a long walk to the end, but those views of the Napali Cliffs were worth every step. IMO, most of the trail doesn’t provide great views; it’s all about the end--and it was fantastic. Unfortunately, what goes down must come back up … and the return trip sure was steep! I’m glad I did it before my achy, old knees got any older.

On several evenings I walked to the lookout just before the St. Regis hotel to join the crowd of sunset worshippers who gather to marvel at the sunset against a Bali Hai background. One evening I went down to Hideaways (Pali ke Kua) Beach. Nice, but too much work to get down there. I felt like a chimpanzee holding onto the swinging ropes to get up and down the very steep path. With there being so many exquisite beaches that are easily accessed, I no longer feel the need to hike down steep or slippery paths to see them all.

A few times I parked on the road at the first one-lane bridge heading north toward Hanalei for an exquisite sunset walk through the Hanalei Wildlife Preserve to the start of the Okolehao Trail. The taro fields were teeming with waterfowl and the light on the mountains made everything look like a painting. I took some of the most beautiful photos of this trip there.

I’ve done the Okolehao Trail before and was rewarded with stunning views of Hanalei Bay far below—but my knees were complaining, and it’s pretty steep, so I decided to pass on it this time.

To be continued …

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