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Monday, June 30, 2008

Polihale & Waimea Canyon

Today, we explored the western part of Kauai. We woke up around 8:00 a.m. and got ready to head out for the day. The condo here provides a cooler, so we packed it up with things for lunch so we would be prepared. We stopped by Big Save to get some turkey cold cuts and we were off to the western most point of Kauai (well, the furthest west that you can drive).

We stopped at a lookout along the way because we thought it was beautiful... little did we know what we would see later on in the day.

Once you drive to the end of the state highway (route 50), you have to turn on a dirt road and continue down another 3-5 miles (depending on where exactly you want to go). It's a bumpy ride, but it was worth it for the view.

We started off right toward the end of Polihale Beach, right next to the beginning of the Na Pali Coast (only accessible/visible by boat or helicopter).

With the camera attached to my face... too beautiful

Polihale Beach... it's important to note that pictures really do not do these places justice. You have to see them for yourself to truly get how beautiful they are.

The little bit of the Na Pali Coast that you can see from Polihale Beach

Consulting the "Blue Bible" (Kauai Revealed) to try to figure out how to get us to Queen's Pond so we could swim. The book (and numerous signs) warned against swimming in this area. The surf and current are so strong that it's pretty dangerous. We didn't want to take any chances.

We backtracked down the dirt road a little bit and were able to find the access to the area of the beach called Queen's Pond. There were other people swimming there and the water looked relatively calm. We were dying to get in (so hot), and didn't waste any time.

Swimming in Queen's Pond

After swimming and taking in the beautiful beach and water for a little bit, we went back to the car and started heading back east. Back on the highway, we came across a little beach/park area with small pavilions and picnic tables. Since it was noon, we decided to stop and eat our lunch.

The view at the park at lunch

We didn't really plan ahead about what we were going to do with our afternoon, so while we sat at lunch, we figured it out. Since we were already over on the west side of the island, and we had seen many signs for Waimea Canyon, we decided to take the drive up the mountain to go see it today.

On the way, we saw a cool waterfall on the side of the road and stopped to take some pictures.

Here is Michael with the red dirt and the waterfall

Wild chickens EVERYWHERE on this island!

We continued up the mountain and eventually reached the Waimea Canyon Lookout. The view was literally breathtaking. I have never seen the Grand Canyon, but I assume it must look something like this.

Well, I suppose the sign is different at the Grand Canyon. :)

After spending a good chunk of time looking at all the glory that is Waimea Canyon, we continued up the mountain to try to see the Kalalau Valley. Unfortunately, when we got all the way up there, we were in the middle of a huge cloud and couldn't see a thing. :( It looks stunning in the Revealed book, so we're disappointed... but oh well, we can't control the weather! Who knows, maybe we'll give it another shot before we leave, but it's kind of a long drive to go all the way up there not knowing what the conditions will be like.

On the way down the mountain, we stopped at a couple of other lookouts. One had a different angle view of the Waimea Canyon, and others were just pretty countryside.

Our rental convertible for Kauai... brand new!

We ran into a little bit of traffic (with only one road that goes around the island, that's bound to happen) on the way back to our condo. Once there, we showered and got ready to go out to dinner. We had planned to go to Duke's at the Hyatt because we heard it is excellent. I happened to check out the menu online before we left and found that it wasn't really going to work... they have like one item on the menu that isn't seafood. Given that I don't touch seafood (picky eater), we decided to nix that idea, and had to find another place quickly.

We ultimately decided to go to a little Italian place called Casa di Amici. It was our nicest dinner we have had so far on our honeymoon (we have reservations for the Beach House later this week). We liked the atmosphere and the food was excellent. We shared a caesar salad to start--it was unique--the dressing was amazing!

My chicken marsala

Michael's pistachio crusted salmon with butternut squash and cheese risotto

OK, there is a funny story behind this last picture. We found Casa di Amici because of a recent comment left in the guestbook here at the condo. The woman wrote, "The food was so good, I almost cried." Obviously (hopefully?), this was an exaggeration to describe that the food was excellent, but Michael got a kick out of it. So at dinner, after we had our food, he started acting like he was crying because it was so good. ;) My funny husband. We were cracking up. Even now, looking at the picture, I can't stop laughing.

We ended the evening at Lappert's for ice cream. I can't remember what mine was called, but it was something like praline ice cream, fudge swirls, pretzels, peanuts, etc. It was excellent. Michael had Banana Fudge. Yum. Our friends came to Kauai as part of their Hawaiian honeymoon last summer and said they couldn't stay away from Lappert's... they said they spent like $75 there in four or five days. I can see why!

We're not 100% sure what our plans are for tomorrow, but we're thinking about heading up to the east coast for the day. We'll see what the morning brings.

1 comment:

ami @ elizabeth anne designs said...

GO TO DUKE'S! i put that in exclamation points and caps because 1) i hate seafood and love duke's, there is a great chicken dish and 2) the hula pie is a MUST EAT! go for dessert if nothing else. trust me!