Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Zip Lining

During Rob and Alissa's visit, we went for a zip-lining tour at the nearby Princeville ranch. For those not familiar with zip-lining, you basically zip along from platform to platform suspended over a forest or cliff by a cable that you're harnessed on to. Although zipping was new for Conor and me, Rob and Alissa were old pros after doing it once before in Costa Rica. I was a little nervous beforehand, given my severe fear of heights. But it turned out to be very fun and not scary at all.

All geared up on the bus to the zip course:

Starting off with a perfect first zip:

It took Conor a few zips to get the hang of steering. Here he is coming in backwards on his first zip:
Modeling our stylish zip gear:

This was my least favorite part. We had to walk across this bridge, and the planks are pretty far apart. So you have to look down at each step, and it's hard to not notice how high up you are. Even though you're clipped in so you can't technically fall to your death, it was still scary for me. Luckily there was only one of these.

We had lunch by a swimming hole:

Nualolo & Awa'awapuhi Trails

This past Sunday, we took our guests to Koke'e State Park, one of our favorite places to hike. We took the Nualolo trail, and continued on the adjoining Awa'awapuhi trail for a total of 10 miles of strenuous hiking. The hike showcased gorgeous views into the scenic Na Pali coast. Though seen just the day before on our boat tour, the hike allowed a completely new perspective on the amazing coastline.

The last 3 miles, uphill through a boring forest in the pouring rain, were our favorite part. Just kidding. At the end of the loop, our car was parked 1.5 miles away. Normally this would be an easy walk, but with the rain and after the long hike, it was not pleasant. Luckily, we were able to cash in on some of the aloha spirit when we succeeded in our first attempt at hitchhiking and were picked up by a pickup truck on the way back to our car. The four of us, smashed into the wet, muddy truck bed in the pouring rain, had never been so happy.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

The Na Pali Coast, by sea

The Na Pali coast is probably Kauai's most famous attraction. It is sixteen rugged miles of coastline along the Northwest side of the island. Na Pali, meaning 'many cliffs', starts on the north shore at Ke'e beach, and continues until Polihale beach on the west side. Some of the cliffs rise as high as 4000 feet above the ocean floor. The Kalalau trail, the most famous hiking trail in all of Hawaii, runs for eleven miles along the Na Pali coast, dead ending at the Kalalau Valley and Kalalau beach.

Although the Na Pali coast is inaccessible by car, it can be viewed by helicopter, hiking, or boat. We chose the latter option today, and set out by sea to enjoy the majestic views. The tour took off from Anini beach on the north shore, went by our apartment in Princeville, and continued northwest along the coast. Our boat ducked into a few sea caves along the way. We then stopped to snorkel and have lunch. This is a highly recommended experience for those considering a visit to Kauai.

This would be a good time to throw in a plug for Dramamine, without which this tour wouldn't have been possible (the Pacific waves get rough).

Taking off from the north shore:

You can see our apartment complex, just right of center, in this photo. Queens bath is also pictured, but just looks like a bunch of black lava from here:

Our first sea cave:

Looking up at the wall in an open sea cave:

The Kalalau valley:

Kalalau beach, complete with fresh waterfall: