Kauai has some of the best hiking we've ever experienced. JD always researches the coolest hikes and this one was no different. There were zero waterfalls (which is high on the criteria list for a great hike) but the views were amazing and inspiring! And we also love a good tree tunnel. I especially loved the giant ferns uncurling to bask in the sun. Sometimes I wonder if Dr. Seuss hiked through Hawaii for inspiration. Seriously. The fauna here is remarkable.Read More
If you're following along with the Scripture Memory / Dwell Richly printable, here's the verse for week 41:
“Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,” says the Lord, who has compassion on you. Isaiah 54:10 (NIV)
This is a story about a time where we stood among a crowd of people mesmerized by the huge waterfalls flowing from a cliff into a pool. We stood among the onlookers on the road that looked down below, searching for a way to get down to the pool for a closer look and a quick swim. After much investigation and reading through our handy Ultimate Kauai Guidebook, we found the fence and Hazardous Cliff signs blocking the trail down to the falls. So we did what any adventure-craving, crazy person would do: trekked around the fence and hazard signs, scooted down the rocks and dirt while holding onto a couple of the ropes that guided us through the mud without losing our shoes, and enjoyed the luxuries of nature at the bottom of the falls.
This is also a story of our Father's faithfulness. I look at the photos of these waterfalls, carving out the edge of the rocks into an eroded overhang. Rocks, to me, seem like the steadiest of all natural creation. Together, they form hills and mountains. They are solid - literally rock steady. Because of their fortitude, we barely see their changes due to other natural elements. But they do change. Over time, they change.
Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,” says the Lord, who has compassion on you. Isaiah 54:10 (NIV)
But our Father doesn't change. He is the same yesterday and today and forever (Hebrews 13:8). His love for His children will not and cannot be shaken, regardless of time and situations. His covenant of peace to us, the covenant of salvation, will not and cannot be removed. He is a Father who overflows with compassion for His children. And we don't even have to trek through mud and slide down mountains holding onto ropes to find Him. That is peace.
If you're following along with the Scripture Memory / Dwell Richly printable, here's the verse for week 32:
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28 (NIV)
Welcome to (the not-so-secret) Secret Beach! As always, take lots of water and get ready for amazing views and fantastic adventure!
We had a little trouble actually finding the place to park for Secret Beach but To Hawaii's directions were super helpful: From Kuhio Highway (Hwy 56), turn onto Kalihiwai Road near mile marker 24 and turn right onto the first dirt road. Proceed to the end of it and park. Nearby is the trail leading to the west end of the beach.
The trail only takes about 10 - 15 minutes to walk down. It's pretty steep and a little slippery but, oh, so worth it! (You may be thinking it wasn't as worth it when you have to walk back up the trail.) JD and I went to the left as soon as we got down to the beach because we really wanted to see the Lava Pools. We passed a family on the way over to the Lava Pools but they didn't trek the whole way. It's pretty rocky so it may not be the best place to take young kids (even though it sounds amazzzing!!).
And it was, indeed, amazzzing! There are two small freshwater waterfalls that pour into the Lava Pool area. We recommend hanging out in the pools for a little bit then rinsing off the salt water under the waterfalls.
We really wish JD had his iPhone at this location. This would've been the perfect place to get a nice landscape panoramic! (If you missed a previous post, he fell over in his kayak with the phone in his back seat pocket - insert palm to the forehead here - so the circuits got wet and it went a little crazy; i.e. it died). A girl dropped her iPhone while she was crossing underneath the waterfall here too. This island really knows how to distract you from tech gadgets. ;)
After exploring the lava pools, we walked back to Secret Beach. JD found the perfect spot in between towering lava rocks where it was basically like our own little beach. There were actually a lot of people out on the beach this day so it was nice to feel secluded. We spread out our favorite giant blanket and basked in the Hawaiian sun.
Then we headed over to Kukui Grove Cinema to watch Jurassic World - because who wouldn't want to watch a movie that was filmed on the island they're staying on!? Side note: Kukui Grove was super old school - not in the cool, vintage old school way, but legitimately old school; it felt like we were in Mystery Science Theater because of the seating) but it was definitely an experience. And the theater had air conditioning, which is apparently a big bonus for anywhere on the island!
If you're following along with the Scripture Memory / Dwell Richly printable, here's the verse for week 29:
God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Psalm 46:1 (NIV)
If you're looking for a lengthy yet leisurely trail with lots of breathtaking views, the Maha'ulepu Trail will be perfect for you. As always, bring lots of water. It's an adventure filled with incredible lithified sand dunes.
This trail was super close to our hotel in Po'ipu. You basically walk the coastline (and walk on the edge of a golf course at one point) then hit a semi-secluded beach at the end of the trail. We were running out of water (and daylight) so we didn't spend much time on the beach this day. However, we did drive back a few days later (incredibly bumpy dirty role with lots of pot holes - motion sickness almost got the best of me) and spent the afternoon bathing in the sun with only a couple of other people around. Bliss, my friends. Sheer bliss.
Here's the random, infamous pink chair...
You can also find an ancient open-roofed sandstone sinkhole called Makauwahi Cave but it was closed by the time we got there.
Welcome to the Grand Canyon of the Pacific (i.e. Waimea Canyon). We suggest starting early in the morning, driving all the way to the top first rather than stopping at viewpoints along the way. Since we hiked the Canyon Trail before heading all the way up the Canyon, we arrived to the Pu'u O Kila Lookout around noon. We hit it right when the afternoon clouds began rolling in.
Our favorite trail in the Canyon is the Canyon Trail. It has two entries. Coming down from the top, take the first Canyon Trail entrance (to your left) if you want to hike a shorter route (we didn't know about this route until we heard car doors opening and closing as we were hiking). We took the other trail head - very steep doing down and very steep going back up. However, this was, by far, the best-smelling trail we've ever ventured. So, that was nice.
There are two intersections along the trail. Go left at the first one (not the lookout), and go right at the sign that says Falls. You'll hike up some intense dirt pathways and end up on top of the exhilarating Waimea Canyon. Breathe in the view and take a few photos, though none will fully capture the beauty.
Continue walking down the trail to your left. You'll walk on top of some large rocks. Follow path to the left (not right). You may have to push through some tall brush. You'll find a waterfall and natural pool to your left. There's a giant rock to your right when you keep following the trail. We named it our Resting Rock and enjoyed a picnic on top of it.
After passing the Resting Rock, follow the path along the river and you'll find one more waterfall to your right along with a massive drop off for the giant waterfall!! This is also a great picnic spot if you can hold out that long.
We made a few friends along this trail, including a family from Slovakia, a local family (who let us in on a few local secrets), and a wonderful couple celebrating their 40th anniversary. They had intense trekking sticks and kept up with us the whole time. #respect
If you're following along with the Scripture Memory / Dwell Richly printable, here's the verse for week 27:
The Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to go on the heights. Habakkuk 3:19 (NIV)
*Like many hikes we post about, bring lots and lots of water for this one!!
If you're on Kauai and looking for a must-see waterfall - this is it! We finally made it to the Hanakapi'ai Trail after spending most of the morning at Queen's Bath. It's quite a trek (eight miles round trip) but it's totally worth it. The trail is filled with whimsy (like the Dr. Seuss-looking tree below) and the views are extraordinary along the way. You can hike the first two miles to get to a beautiful beach (also one of the deadliest beaches because of the waves) or keep trekking two more miles to get to the falls. Obviously, we forewent the beach and kept heading towards the falls. If you take the trail, just keep in mind that there are a few dangerous places with river crossings (shoe recommendations at the bottom of the post).
It took us about 2.5 hours to hike to the falls. We found a boulder under a few trees beside the pond and picnicked there with our pre-made wraps from the ABC store. We seriously cannot stress enough that you should bring lots of water on this hike. Forty-eight ounces between the two of us did not suffice. Swim out to the falls and enjoy some time behind them. (But also be aware of Hawaii's freshwater flesh-eating bacteria - this was the only waterfall I was brave enough to swim in. However, JD swam in all of them and he's fine so just know that I'm 99.9% more paranoid about things than he is. ) Pictures cannot capture this glorious waterfall!
(Side note: does the above photo remind anyone else of the dwell richly verse for this week? He enables me to go on the heights? Yes. Absolutely.)
The hike back was brutal. It's mostly uphill after the beach with very little shade. We walked back between 2:30 - 4:30 when the sun was blazing. Our words of advice: Be careful, stay hydrated, wear sunscreen and enjoy the adventure!!
- JD planned our meals / snacks perfectly. Eat protein-packed breakfast before the hike > snack on a mid-morning protein bar > grilled chicken wrap for lunch > afternoon snack of a juicy fruit and almonds.
- Lather on the sunscreen throughout the hike. Don't hold back on the SPF.
- Shoe of Choice: JD preferred hiking this trail in his Keens but I loved hiking in my New Balance Minimus shoes instead of my Keens. They felt like water shoes (which came in handy during the river crossings) and are flexible so my feet were basically hugging rocks. Great traction and not clunky like my Keens.
After our spontaneous adventure, we continued on our hike up to the Makapu'u Lighthouse.
There is no way this lighthouse could ever be hidden. It's a pretty clear picture of Matthew 5:14-16.
"You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven."
Isn't it beautiful...
The entire path lasts about two miles. Apparently, it is the prime spot for whale-watching on the island from December to April. Maybe we'll get the opportunity to see the migration one season!
In the meantime, the lighthouse proves to be a fantastic sight to behold for now.
Do you see the white fence that leads to the lighthouse?
Well, we found it and tried to follow the trail. Instead, an electric, locked fence denied us of entering.
We explored a few more paths along the way. As I was taking more photos of the lighthouse, JD was being adventurous. A little tooooo adventurous for my taste.
My heart practically beat out of my choice when I turned around and saw JD sitting on this rock (aka the top, outermost point of a 500-ft cliff). I took a few photos as I walked closer to him (in a quiet panic) and asked him gently to please get off of that rock before the wind blows him off.
In my defense, it was insanely windy.
Whew. Fortunately, he somehow maneuvered a safe dismount and we got some incredible photos from it. Just looking at this photo makes me queasy. Haha! I really wish I had the boldness for adventure that he has. Gosh, he's awesome.
We hiked several more of the trails and headed back to the parking lot. The ole' Subes was awaiting our arrival. We couldn't have asked for a more fitting rental car than a Subaru. Have you seen those commercials!? The commercials alone make an adventure-seeker want to drive one.
If you decide to take a stroll to the lighthouse, check out the other paths but be careful. Most people were only walking the paved road to the lighthouse. They missed the adventures hidden among the off-course dirt paths. As we were walking, JD said, "Life is really what you make of it." I replied with, "Adventure is out there!!"
Have you ever been on an adventure (physical, emotional or mental) that challenged you?? Was it worth the risk?