Friday, October 8, 2010

Our Trip to Kauai

the famous Na Pali Coast

Our trip started out great, got on the plane to LAX, no problems, an hour and a half later, we land, get on the plane for Kauai, fine - then we have to get back off the plane due to a fuel leak. A lot of people were complaining, and as for us, we were just glad they found it while we were still on the ground and not over thousands of miles of ocean.

But, since we were delayed, our flight didn't get to Kauai until almost midnight. The first thing that hit me was the humidity! I have never felt that before, it's almost like you are drinking the air around you. We took the shuttle to the car rental place (everything in Kauai closes by eight or nine, or five or six...seriously) where two girls had been waiting up for us. We got our car, hooked up the GPS and were on our way.

It took us until we were about 5 miles past our destination to realize the GPS didn't know where we were and was leading us astray. (We will not mention the possibility of user error here). We crept through the Hawaiian jungle, straining to read the not ever up-kept or illuminated street signs, which all have names that start with K, P or M and have approximately 25 letters in them.

Needless to say, we did find the home we were renting, got inside and fell fast asleep after the exhaustion of the day. The dark was so dark that we couldn't really see anything of our surroundings. Imagine waking up in the morning, walking out into the family room and seeing this out the window:

You can't really see in the picture, but we were in the middle of miles of Jungle. It was amazing.

Here I am at the head of our private drive to the house on Helena Lane.

This is a pathway that went down behind our house to the organic garden and waterfalls, etc below. The house we stayed at was called Honua Lani Gardens in Kapaa.

The gardens. Papaya trees in the garden. Sweet.

This is the owner, Jai Roberts, and myself in her jewelry studio that is on the land as well. She made me a beautiful ring that Nathan bought as a gift, and also a gift for my sister in law Aubrey who braved it with all of my children and both of hers the ENTIRE time we were gone. Yeah. She is probably still trying to recover.

Some amazing flowers. (As Nathan took the photo, he said 'I need of picture of my flower next to those flowers').

Not a bad place to relax, eh?

Jai's massage hale in the middle of her beautiful 5 acres. How relaxing to have a massage with all of those bird and other animal sounds all around you, but for real! Not from a CD in a spa. It was awesome!

Coconuts and lychees. We could pick and eat anything we wanted while there. I was in love with passion fruit. We had amazing, ripe fruit every day for breakfast and snacks. Awesome!

This was our house. Home sweet home! (For two days, at least.)


We went on a helicopter ride on Friday morning. It was incredible, other than the fact that I barfed toward the very end. Don't worry, I made it into the barf bag provided. I had no idea my stomach would react like that! It made me mad! Still a great experience though. Kauai is 85% wild and inaccessible by car, so we saw things we could only see from the air. A good example is the famous Na Pali coast (the very first picture in this post). Spectacular!

Don't you love how my hair blew right in my face in time for the picture? I would have asked them to take another one, but that operation runs like a well-oiled machine.

Nathan bought me this lei at the Coconut Marketplace. It was made of real flowers, and smelled heavenly!


We went snorkeling a couple of times while there. I was nervous at first, because I have tried snorkeling before at Bear Lake, and just about had a heart attack. I felt claustrophobic and cold and so afraid that water would go in my tube thing-ey.
For some reason, in Kauai, it was like second nature to me. I seriously only needed two seconds to acclimate, and I was off. We went to Lydgate beach (the 'bunny-hill' of snorkeling, as the locals say), and Tunnels beach (the best snorkeling on the island). We got to see amazing things like this:

and this:

(yes that is a zebra moray eel. I did not even care that he was inches from me and could have chewed off my finger. I had become a fish by this point and was therefore invincible.

So many colors, so incredible. Under the sea, Under the sea, darlin' it's better down where it wetter, take it from me.....

Schools of fish are so fun to mess with!

I really loved snorkeling. Anytime I see water now, I just want to grab my gear and go! (Too bad all I will find in the Great Salt Lake are brine shrimp).
I still snorkel in my dreams. Really. I loved it that much.

This is the deck outside the second house we rented. A bed outside on the deck! So cool and tropical. Notice the hammock. We put that thing to good use.

The private drive leading to our house. This one was the Orchard Cottage at North Country Farms in Kilauea

A tree outside our window called a Mountain Apple. It has the texture of a soft pear, and is very mild. We sliced one up to put on a salad one night, along with avocados also picked near this spot.

The more formal part of the gardens. That green lettuce against the red soil is so striking! Delicious.

On Sunday we went to church at the Hanalei Branch. What a great experience! Such a small congregation, but so much faith and dedication. They each hold so many callings, it is ridiculous. Most of the seats were filled by tourists, not locals. I also randomly ran into someone I knew. Anyone from Layton High remember Romi, the sweet Italian exchange student who went on the California trip with us? Well, she and her husband and little boy were living in Kauai for two months, and were there at church. What a small world!

The Kilauea Lighthouse overlooking the ocean and bird refuge.

just down the hill from the lighthouse, we stopped to watch the sunset. It started out like this:

Then went to this:

and ended like this:



This next group of pictures are deceptively happy looking, because we only took photos of the first half of our eight mile hike along the Kalalau trail on the Na Pali Coastline. Someone at church said the hike wasn't that bad, and that it only took a few hours. They must have been the hiking champions of the world, because that statement was very false. (As we found out seven hours later). We started right before ten in the morning, and didn't make it back to our car until five o'clock at night. Still worth it. Exhausted, out of water, backs aching and ready to vomit - still totally worth it.

The unsuspecting happy couple, ready to go.

This is a good example of the incline of the entire trail, either up or down. There is Nathan, ahead of me again. That's okay. I think I beat him on the way back out.

This is the crazy man behind us for the first 25% of the hike. Literally crazy, like, talking to people who weren't there, calling across the valleys to nobody, asking questions to thin air, arguing with himself, the middle of uninhabited Kauai. Right behind me.

I turned around and took a picture of him so that when the police found our dead bodies, there would be a picture of our attacker on the camera. I am so smart and prepared, eh?

Beautiful, beautiful.

No, the crazy man didn't take this for us, another couple came along and we traded off cameras.

Made it to the hidden crescent beach! Halfway point to the waterfall! Don't tell us we're only one fourth of the way through the hike!

These cats are wild, and roam the island. I can't believe it, they look so domesticated. This one wanted to eat my Slim Jim.

Guava. Paradise. Everywhere. (I didn't know until later when a tour guide told me that you shouldn't ever eat the wild guava because you can't see the worms in them. Uuuugggghhhhhh! Now this picture makes me sick. He said not to worry, that they are not going to do anything to me. I hope so.)

first glimpse of the waterfall

getting closer

....finally there! So beautiful, amazing, huge, COLD!

Brrrrrrr....a refreshing swim. Yes that is me in there. Nathan swam right under the waterfall (always a big NO NO). Another swimmer was watching, and he called out a huge "No way, he DID IT!!! That was AWESOME!!!" which Nathan didn't hear because his eardrums were being pounded by thousands of feet of water falling on his head. That boy is in big trouble. I guess he needed to check it off his bucket list or something.

We relaxed at the waterfall for maybe an hour, then headed back out. Just around the corner, right?.....Torture! The trail doubles in length on the way back out, I swear!

Here is how my hair responded to the humidity:

This is first thing in the morning, no fussing or styling involved.


Yes, I did it. Yes, it was an act of love in supporting my sweetie. Yes, I was afraid I would either be a)bored
b) sick

I was actually neither, and totally LOVED it. SHOCKER, I know. And Nathan is the one who barfed (sorry for ratting you out there, dear).

Nathan with his huge, awesome Aku

and me with my cute, little one. I was so proud of myself!

Showing off the catch of the day. Our guide was awesome, a local born and raised, the true Hawaiian experience with fish smell on our shorts. We got to take some home to cook up for a couple of nights. Aku was delicious! Almost like roast beef, I am not kidding.


We took a personal guided tour through the rain forest up to Mt. Wai'ale'ale, the wettest spot on earth. It receives around 450 inches of rain a year, or more. This tour also covered a lot of ground where scenes from Jurassic Park were filmed.

One of the islands many waterfalls behind us.

Rainbow Eucalyptus trees. Unbelievable!

Okay, girls - you know Paul Mitchell's Awapuhi Shampoo? Well, those red and white things are where it comes from. He takes extracts from the roots of those flower pods. We were able to try out the real thing, which has been used as a natural cleanser in Hawaii for hundreds of years. You take that flower head, and squeeze the flower head, and a clear serum of sorts comes out in abundance. You can use it for shampoo, or you can rub it on your skin. It softens it ten times better than Curel! And I love Curel, so that is saying something!

The posts where the gates to Jurassic Park hung while filming the movie. C'mon, Hollywood- couldn't you have left the gates there? So stingy. Still cool.

Cute little jungle grasshopper


Another Awwwwww....

Almost like a second engagement picture. In fact, everywhere we went we were asked if we were newlyweds. Then their jaws about dropped to the floor when they heard 'ten years' and 'four kids'.

Our secret waterfall. I had to climb through two spider webs to get up there, so appreciate this photo, please!

Nathan crouching outside a mysterious cave. I told him to go in it, but he said he didn't think he could fit. Right.

One of the 'salads' we ate along the trail, prepared by our awesome guides, Paul and Nicole. All collected by the wayside, edible, and delicious! They loved that we would try anything they handed to us.

We were able to capture a couple of rare photos of the 'eye' above Mt. Wai'ale'ale. Can you see the blue sot of sky just above the ridge?

What a beautiful day. Our tour guides were so knowledgeable and really took the time to teach us about the plants and history of this beautiful island! Aloha Kauai Tours!!!

Then it was time to go check in at our condo on Hanalei Bay (overlooking Bali Hai). Here is a shot of the grounds outside our door:

And some shots of the amazing sunset at the bay down below. I think I have said the words awesome, beautiful, amazing, too many times in the post, so just assume I am thinking them now. Maybe you are too.

See the paddle boarder? So cool.

The view from our balcony. Timeless. *sigh*

We filled our last day with various locations. First the Kilohana Plantation in Lihue. It has acres and acres of orchards and gardens that you can take a train ride through.

What train ride isn't complete without a stop to feed the wild pigs?

They seriously had us throw stale blueberry muffins out at them. With the liners still on. When I voiced concern about this, Nathan said "They're pigs, honey."
Oh. Good point.

These beautiful chickens are WILD, part of the wild bird fauna, and run ALL OVER the place, everywhere, all the time. We were awakened by a rooster almost every day. They are so pretty, though!

The National Tropical Botanical Garden

I think these pics need no explanation, just a moment to be amazed by their beauty and my ability to use the macro function on my camera to take such fun pictures. I've owned the camera for a couple of years now, and the rain forest hike guide is who taught me how to use it. Reading user manuals is such a waste of time, right?

We saw Spouting Horn, a spot where the ocean crashes up through the cliffs kind of like a geyser.

Traveling through the Tunnel of Trees on our way to eat dinner and return our rental car. I couldn't believe it was almost over.....

And here are our shoes, at home in Utah on our bed after the trip. What Hawaii does to shoes.

Thank you, Nathan, for such an amazing experience. I felt like a tropical Queen. Ten Years!!!!

Thank you, Adam and Aubrey for being the parents for us while we were away. You made this all possible for us and we could never thank you enough.

Thank you, Heavenly Father, for a beautiful earth
and an eternal companion
to share it with.

My cup runneth over.


  1. Holy Crap I'm jealous!!! Can't wait to hear all about it.

  2. Looks heavenly. And you both look so happy and that makes me happy.

    Welcome back to the land of blogging!:)


  3. What in the world?????? I had no idea you went to Hawaii!!! Looks like you had a blast!!! Wow! I want to do that someday!! I can't believe those sunsets! Man! What an awesome trip. Next time I see you you'll have to tell us all about it!!!!

  4. Looks like bliss. Sounds like bliss. I am blissfully jealous.

    For our ten year anniversary my husband and I saw King Kong. Romantic, I know.

  5. What an amazing trip and lots of great pictures. You got to see a LOT more of the island than i did with a baby last jealous! But such a beautiful, amazing island like you said. :)

  6. Wow, wow, wow! Love the pictures, they are all so beautiful.

  7. Holly and Nathan! All I gotta say is "Wow!" It sounds so amazing. My mouth was watering, and your pictures were a feast for the eyes. Cory and I will be contacting you for info--we are definitely going to do that some day. Thanks for sharing.

  8. Thanks for sharing the Amazing photos. And yes, I do remember Romi.