In July of 2013, we packed the kids into the plane and spent a week on Kauai.
Los Alamos » Albuquerque » Phoenix » Kauai
- Day 1 - We left on a Friday morning, getting up way too early in the morning to drive to Albuquerque for an early flight. After a quick stopoff in Phoenix, we were on our way on the looong flight across the ocean. Eventually we made it to the island (with a great view while landing), and our adventure was ready to start! But not until after we picked up a rental car, which involved waiting in a line of people who wanted to rent cars with expired drivers licenses, pay for them with expired credit cards, or add their 13 year old kids as drivers.
I eventually got to the front of the line and learned they had transformed my compact car reservation into a minivan, but I really didn't care at that point and we bolted out of there. Finally, we were ready to explore Hawaii! We piled into the van, headed to the hotel, and went straight to bed after having some dinner and playing in the pool. It turns out that getting up at 4:30am in New Mexico makes you ready to go to bed at 8:30pm in Hawaii (12:30am in New Mexico).
- Day 2 - Everybody woke up super-early the next day, so we decided to make the best of it by wandering down to the beach to watch the sun rise. Maddy and Emily were both instantly knocked down by little waves (after which Emily pointed at the hotel and demanded that we "Go. Back. Hawaii."), so after greeting the sun we walked back up to the hotel for some dry clothes and to start actually exploring Kauai.
We spent our first night on the east coast of the island and were spending the rest of our nights on the south coast, so we decided to start out by heading north and then working our way back to where we would be spending the rest of the week. Our first stop was a fruit stand to pick up some fresh Hawaiian fruit, followed by a quick stop at the Kiluea Lighthouse. Since we got up WAY TOO EARLY, we got the lighthouse before it opened and could only look at from a distance. We decided we would stop again on our way back south.
Heading north/west some more, we eventually made it to Hanalei Bay and stopped to see the beach on the bay. When we had our fill, we kept taking the highway west until it ended, at which point we had reached that end of the island. We planned to come back if we had time later in the week, but for now it was time to head back to the south.
On the way back toward Poipu, we stopped at a farmer's market for lunch, saw the lighthouse for real, and made a trip to see Spouting Horn. After watching the horn spout a bunch of times and chasing chickens in the park, we headed over to hotel to meet up with Lis's family. After checking in, we headed down to the pool to lounge for the rest of the afternoon.
- Day 3 - Sunday started out as a lazy day at the hotel, followed by two snorkeling trips: one behind the Beach House restaurant and the other at Lydgate Park. The area behind Beach House was very promising, but also very rocky and pretty choppy. Lis and I spent a little time kicking around there, but we were quickly exhausted by the constant need to avoid the rocks that the waves kept throwing us at. The pools at Lydgate were a lot calmer, but were also a lot murkier. However, they ended up being the perfect training pools for all of us, and by the end of the week we were snorkeling like crazy back at the hotel.
- Day 4 - On Monday we decided to head out and visit nature again, driving up to see Waimea Canyon and hike some of the Alaka'i trail. The trip up to the top of the mountains was fun, with a bunch of great views along the way. When we got up to the trail, we packed everybody up and headed off on our journey. The start of the trail was a bit rough for the short-legged among us, but we were able to make it pretty far before everybody wanted to turn back. On the way back down, the short-leggers took a nap and I took the opportunity to map out the west end of the island. After that we headed back to Poipu and spent some time on the beach (where we got to see a sleeping seal) and in the pool (where Maddy suddenly decided she was big enough to start dunking her head in the water).
- Day 5 - Tuesday was another lazy day at the hotel, where we spent some time going snorkeling on the beach and swimming in the hotel pool. Lis snuck out to grab us lunch at Puka Dog while everybody else was sleeping, and then later that afternoon she and I went out on a grocery shopping adventure. We just barely refrained from buying any goat cubes, but we did stop by a crazy storefront built on to a butchering building. It was a pretty exciting outing.
- Day 6 - Wednesday was Lis's birthday, and we spent it on a driving tour of the eastern side of the island. We started out with a quick stop at the Menehune Fishpond overlook, admiring what is now a completely overgrown fish farm. Then we stopped briefly at Kalapaki Beach to look for big ships, but there were none to be seen. From there we headed up on a waterfall tour, visiting Wailua Falls and 'Opaeka'a Falls on the road and Ho'opi'i Falls on foot. After a stop by Kapaia Stichery so Lis could pick out some Hawaiian fabric, we headed back to the hotel for some more pool lounging and a fancy birthday dinner.
- Day 7 - Thursday was our last day on Kauai, and we spent it hanging around Poipu. We started out with one last snorkeling jaunt in the morning, followed by more lounging in the hotel pool. Eventually we had to pack everything up and head to the airport for our overnight flight back, and by the morning of day 8 we were landing in Albuquerque again. It was a fun trip, but everybody was happy to be back home.