Kauai, Hawaii

Catch Anthony! 
A long, long time ago (re: February of 2017) on a total whim/great online deal, I purchased a flight to go to Hawaii over Thanksgiving for 12 glorious days. I put out a call on Facebook asking if anyone wanted to join and... lo and behold, Anthony answered with a resounding yes. From that moment till approximately November 20th, very little further planning and discussion occurred (sometimes to poor Anthony's chagrin). And then... we were in Kauai!

Mudtacular Mountain Biking 



So quick Kauai summary for those of you like me who knew nothing about Kauai until landing on it (hehe). Kauai is the farthest island from the continental US and one of the oldest Hawaiian islands (no active volcanoes). It's a pretty tiny island - you can legitimately drive from one end of the island to the other in 2.5 hours on the one major road/highway. There are multiple climates covered on the island from the arid desert on the south side to the rain forest on the north shore. Most importantly, chickens and roosters are everywhere on the island; they are like squirrels on Kauai.

Near Waimea Canyon





Shy of recounting every adventure we did on the island (would take multiple blog posts), I'm going to try to hit the highlights. Anthony and I tagged teamed most days, drinking coffee on the beach together in the morning during sunrise and then parting ways for a bit while I obsessively rode my bike everywhere and Anthony either prepared for the next adventure or went on an exploratory hike, we'd then meet up decide to camp or stay in a hotel/hostel and consider food from there.

A nice romantic beach stroll for me and Anthony
We started initially on the South Side, exploring Waimea Canyon and some of the trails there. I did some spectacular mountain biking on the top of the Canyon after a nice rain fall, which meant I got to take a solid mud bath and then a mind blowing descent down the canyon roads. Later, we came back at the end of the trip and I climbed Waimea Canyon twice on a road bike, which was the highlight of the trip for me. Every day either started or ended in some quality beach time, and I could definitely feel the years melting off my face (I see why people go to Hawaii to relax now...)

Country roads take me home... 
The next area we explored was in between - near Kapaa and Lihue. This was kind of our 'home base' and relax zone. When we were here, I did a lot of exploratory bike riding on country roads that would melt your heart. Especially with the near perfect weather (75 F pretty much every day), I couldn't have asked for better conditions or scenery to be on a bike and just having fun.


Anthony shows the fish who is boss



      Down south a bit near Koloa, the beaches were pretty awesome, and we did some great beach side hiking (I swear I saw a dolphin, swear it). At the end of the trip, we circled back and checked out snorkeling. I had never snorkeled before (as an adult? ever?), and it was a surreal experience. The fish, clearly used to getting fed, kept coming up to us and basically following us around. I had at least 9 panic attacks ('you're NOT supposed to do that! I could eat fish, you stupid fish!') but eventually realized that was "normal" (whew!). Seeing the huge chunks of coral and things like a sea cucumber (...!) made all the fish-induced-terror completely worth it. We also got snow-cone-ice-cream after which was on point.

The bit of the Na Pali Coast we got to do... 
The last major section of the island that we hit twice was the North shore (shudder). We had really unfortunate luck on both our trips to the North Shore. It totally down poured both times making our trek on the Na Pali Coast impossible (due to a flooded river) and kind of put a damper on spirits. We tried a few hikes in the area, but the hiking was extremely muddy, so not for the faint of heart. We actually were trapped in Hannalei on our second trip up to the North side because of water flooding the road (wait, not a highlight...).                                         

I repeat, not for the faint of heart
Chef Anthony prepares the jet boil dinner 
Overall (despite water!), the trip was incredible. We had a lot of adventures ranging from our neighbors building a bonfire that was too big and us fleeing in the middle of the night to a different campsite to cliff jumping on our last day hours before my flight (no shower!).   Anthony and I both grew a lot as people too; for Anthony, it was hard to have such unstructured and constant chaos ("I want to bike then eat tacos then lay in the sand and then eat more tacos and then let's walk 9 miles; let's not worry about where we are staying for the night until after") and for me, it was counterintuitive to have to try to plan things out more than 3 hours in advance. We negotiated, compromised, and found ourselves having an amazing vacation (awww a happily married couple!).

Pretty awesome camping accomodations

 As expected, my favorite memories are of biking, hiking with Anthony, and some of our nights camping. It's things  like getting into a car soaking wet after having our plans thwarted and things a little tense and then having us dissolve in laughter when we realize how ridiculous the situation is but that we'll be totally fine. Between our anti-theft device, Phillippe the rental, Coconut Gone, watching the sunrise from Sleeping Giant to a chorus of roosters... these are the things that will stick with us for a while.

I would love to do this trip again but no hotels, only camping (snorkeling = showering!). It is always an adventure when you go a few days without showering and trying to navigate where/when/how you're going to camp, and I just love it.   I'm so grateful I got to go on this trip... I came out of it feeling 8000% better and more relaxed and ready for life (re: rain) back in Seattle. Thank you Anthony!!
Dynamic Duo getting lost on their first hike 

How does one transport a bike on an island? 
Anthony in the waves (look center and slightly left)
Classic Hawaii sunrise photo... :D 


                                

Lo

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