We awoke the day after the luau refreshed and ready for another adventure. Destination: Waimea Canyon. Again, headed south. We chose that day because, well, it looked like the best day we were going to get for the remainder of the week. And, I had hopes that the husband would get to see the view from the Kalalau lookout at the top of the canyon road. The last time we were there, on our honeymoon ten years ago, it was so socked in with fog that there was absolutely no chance of a view. But, I’ll get to that later.
Because we didn’t intend to hike at Waimea Canyon (which, in hindsight was, perhaps, a poor choice as we didn’t have an opportunity to hike anywhere else the remainder of the week), we took our time getting there. The husband was happy….it was a true mosey. We first stopped in Kapaa at a favorite coffee shop, Java Kai. Chai for me…triple shot for the husband. Down the road a ways we stopped at another shop to pick up sandwiches and pastries.
Shortly after the husband finished the first coffee we arrived at Kauai Coffee in Kalaheo. He was on a bit of a mission. Last time we were on Kauai he was not a coffee drinker. Now….well…now he’s an addict. When we were in Costa Rica last spring we toured a coffee plantation and he fell in love with 100% Arabica. A couple of shipments from Costa Rica has arrived at our house since then. So, this was a test. A throw down. Kauai vs. Costa Rica (I’m just thankful he didn’t bring CR beans and ask Kauai Coffee to brew him a pot so he could do an on-site comparison. He’s reserved that for home).
As with Costa Rica, I took a tiny cup of coffee, filled it with sugar and faux creamer and took a sip. Disappointingly, it still tasted like coffee. The husband sipped and swilled and concluded that, while tasty, CR is the clear winner. Though he did buy a couple of bags of beans to take home. And bought another mocha while there (“just a small one” he jittered) before heading on down the road.
Next stop: Glass Beach. This small beach, located in the very industrial feeling Port Allen, is exactly what it sounds like: made of glass. Well, not made of glass. Once upon a time the area just to the east of the beach was used as a dump. Glass, pottery, metal..you name it, it was dumped there. Over time it was covered with soil, but the ocean has been eroding the area for years, washing glass out to sea. The remnants, now worn to sea glass, washes up onto the shores of Glass Beach. It was pretty fine stuff this trip, but still cool to look at.
Another site in this area is the McBryde Sugar Plantation Cemetery. This cemetery contains the graves of Japanese and Chinese sugar plantation workers from the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. Last time we visited it was very overgrown. We noticed it seemed much larger and, with a little research, discovered that a local resident, Debrah Davis, started clearing the site in 2013. Hats off to her for cleaning up this bit of island history.
From there, we headed on up into the canyon. The original intent was combine canyon with a trip out to Polihale beach, a gorgeous (or so I’ve heard, I’ve not been there) wide, long beach on the southwest shore that butts up against the Napali coastline. However, the weekend storm washed out part of the road, so the state closed the whole thing down. Whatcha gonna do?
I don’t know if it’s possible to make too many trips to Waimea Canyon. This was my fourth trek up there and I was just as impressed as the first time. It’s just such an unexpected site on a relatively small island. Now, the husband and I have seen the Grand Canyon since we last visited, so found ourselves making that comparison, but it’s not really a fair one.
We took our time on the way up, stopping regularly to gape at the view and so I could take photos. It was well after noon by the time we passed Kokee State Park and headed on to the Kalalau overlook. The weather was overcast our entire way up, so we expected the same at the first and second overlooks.
Ha! It was like stepping back in time.
We were last in Waimea ten years ago. On our honeymoon. During our last visit to Kauai, nine years ago, we did not make it up to the canyon. On our honeymoon trip we made our way up to the canyon in a similar fashion…lots of stops, lots of photos. I had already seen the view over the Kalalau valley two times previously, so had really talked it up to the husband. So beautiful. You’re going to love it. I can’t wait for you to see it.
We got to the top and it was socked in with fog. Not just a little bit of wispy fog. Not fog that rolls in and out so, allowing for peek-a-boo views. Nope. Thick, soupy fog. Undeterred (we were on our honeymoon after all….rainbows and butterflies and unicorns), we got our lunch out of the car and parked ourselves on a bench, eating while we waited for the fog to roll out, revealing the exquisite view below. We waited. And waited. And….waited.
The fog did not budge.
We finally gave up, but not before I took this shot of the husband, happy as a clam with a Kauai Kookie in his hand. Who cares about a view when you have cookies??
Fast forward to 2018. We arrived at the first viewpoint and stared in disbelief. Fog. Socking in the valley. Say it ain’t so! We walked to the railing…leaned over…nothin’ but white. We gaped at each other. The husband’s brow furrowed, “Ya gotta be kiddin’ me!” he exclaimed. “It really is gorgeous,” I offered, “Truly.”
We pressed on to the second (and final viewpoint). As we exited the car, we grabbed our bag of lunch and walked up to the overlook. Fog. We leaned against the railing and unwrapped our sandwiches. After a couple of minutes, the fog…rolled away from the coastline. Just a snidge. “Look! Look!” I exclaimed. “See! Cool isn’t it!” It was cool. The patch we could see. We stood and continued to watch the show. Fog…toying with us. Tantalizing us with brief views before sweeping back in. In…out…in…out. But, at least the husband got the idea. Perhaps someday we’ll be up there on a perfectly clear, blue-sky day…it is a sight to see.
As we were finishing our lunch and idea struck me. “Hey,” I said to the husband excitedly, “we should recreate the Kauai Kookie photo.” We didn’t have a box of cookies, but we did have a couple of small packages. He looked at me skeptically. I stared at him beseechingly (I may have fluttered my eyelashes), “Ahhhh….c’mon! It would be sweet!” He agreed.
We had to wait for the bench to be vacated by a couple of lunchers. Once they stepped away I scampered down the path to claim our spot. I dug around for the cookie packages, presented them to the husband (for some reason I thought he was holding two cookies in the original photo…turns out it was only one) and stepped back with my camera. Perfection.
But, it was a moment. We were back at a spot we had last been at on our honeymoon. Ten years ago. So, I asked a passing couple if they would take our photo on the bench together. They agreed, and after the woman took the picture I briefly explained the story. We were greeted with, “Awwwww”‘s, because, face it, it was sticky sweet.
They walked away and I turned to the husband for a hug. I started to get sniffly. Ridiculous, but recreating that moment totally made my heart do flippy-floppy squeezy things.
We headed down the hill, skipping the trip to Polihale beach we had originally planned because, well, it was closed because part of the road had been washed out by flood waters a couple of days earlier. When we reached Kileaua we stopped and picked up a pizza, then stopped for a cocktail at Tiki Iniki, which is this fun little kitschy tiki bar in the Princeville shopping center with remarkably tasty mai tais. From there, we headed back to the house for pizza and additional cocktails (when in the land of aloha). It was a Plan A day…and a good one, at that.