Monday, July 23, 2012

Hiking the Kalalau Trail to the Napali Coast

Taro fields
Today we went to Ke'e beach to hike the Napali Coast. It is located on the North Shore, and this long and steep hike was our last adventure on the island before we left for home.  The drive to the North Shore is beautiful with many green Acacia trees, thick forests, and taro fields.  

We started our hike at Ke'e beach and wanted to go to the Hanakapi'al Falls. The hike was extremely strenuous and we ended our hike at the Hankapi'al Beach.  To get to this remote beach you had to hike 2 miles. The trail was very steep, going up and down.

The first quater of the mile was straight  up, and it was boiling hot but it was very green and beautiful. There were also  many trees with tropical fruits on them.  When we finally arrived, we were at the top of the mountain, with  beautiful view of Ke'e beach and the Napali Coast. The week before, we went on a boat to snorkel on the Napali Coast, but today we were exploring the mountains by hiking to get an up close view. From above, the water off the coast was torques blue and a darker blue as you move away from the coast. Once we passed the Coast Viewpoint, the hike went mostly downhill and we ran most of they way, slipping a few times into the mud. When we finally could see the ocean, we had to cross a big river in our shoes. The water was cold and refreshing from a long hot hike.  

Beautiful turquoise water
Hiking up

View of Ke'e Beach
View of Napali Coast

Most surprising,  when we got to the beach, it started pouring rain and we hid underneath some large trees that were like umbrellas to have lunch and to rest. The rain also made the the trails  muddy and the rocks slippery.    While eating lunch, we saw some wild cats, that my little sister Hannah wanted to take home with her.  They were all very skinny, probably because they don't get a lot of food. They ate some of our turkey that fell on the floor.

Hankapi'al Beach

Crossing the river

After lunch, we went down volcano rocks to the sandy beach. This beach had dark tunnels to hide from the sun or rain. The waves at the beach were huge, but the water was very warm. There were gorgeous mountains around this beach.  Also, there was a stream, that was even warmer than the beach, which came from the waterfall. On one side of the stream, there were tadpoles of black poisonous frogs.

When we were driving back we saw a  magnificent sunset with the colors red, orange, and  yellow.  It looked like fire burning in the sky and it was the perfect way to finish our day.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Exploring the North Shore

View from Hanalei Bay- You can see the waterfall on the mountains
While in Hawaii, we visited the north shore of the Island. We had to drive 1 hour because we stayed on the east part of the island. Usually in the winter the north shore gets the most rainfall, but since it is summer, it was nice and warm. The north shore has both mountains and beautiful beaches. We were planning to stay on the beach until sunset, because the north shore also has the best sunset on the whole island.

Hanalei National wildlife Reguge
On the way to the way, we stopped to look at he view of the Hanalei National Wildlife Refuge which provides nesting and feeding habitat for endangered Hawaiian water birds. It also has beautiful taro fields. The island of Kauai grows 73% of the Taro found in Hawaii and most of the Taro fields are on the North Shore. Taro is a plant that is grown in water and was the main food for the ancient Hawaiian people. The root of the plant is the corm and is cooked and mashed into a sticky purple pudding called poi. It is very similar to mashed potatoes. The leaf (lu`au) and flowers (pua) can also be cooked and eaten usually with meats, fish, coconut milk, and other vegetables.  Unfortunately, I did not get a chance to try taro while I was in Hawaii, but I maybe next time I will make sure to try it. While we stopped to enjoy the view, we also saw a family of chickens. Aren't the baby chicks cute? The mother chicken is very protective and got angry at my sister Hannah when she tried to get too close.

Tunnels Beach- Look at how clear the water is
The north shore also has great snorkeling. In the morning, we went snorkeling at Tunnels Beach, the best snorkeling beach on the island. Tunnels beach has a very large reef and no waves. We had to be careful not step on the reef, otherwise it would die. We saw many fish such as the rainbow parrot fish, Morish Idols, and the humuhumunukunukuapua’a. We happened to meet a  fourth grade teacher from Iowa at the beach, and he asked if we knew of a fish called humuhumunukunukuapua’a. I said that I knew this fish, thanks to Mrs. Yollis for teaching it to us. He was very impressed.  This fish was probably my favorite because it had blue lips,and was very unique looking. The water was turquoise blue and was very warm.

We always went snorkeling in pairs just in case one of us needed help

Palm trees at the bay
After tunnels beach, we had lunch at a restaurant. After lunch, we went to Hanalei Bay to swim.  It is the largest bay on the island, and it is a two miles. The water is very calm and it is great for swimming. It is surrounded by big and beautiful cliffs.  The sand is hard and fine which makes it good for running. After swimming, we went for a run around the Bay. When we came back from our run, the sun was almost down. and we saw a beautiful sunset  As sun went down, it shone down onto the water and it looked like a path of shining light. Hanalei Bay was our favorite place to swim and we went there many times during our trip.

It was hard to just choose one photo of the sunset

 What is your favorite place to go on vacation?

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Kalapaki Beach

Kalapaki Beach at sunset
We are staying on the east side of the island in the city of Lihue. Across the street from where we were staying, is the best beach on the east side called Kalapaki Beach. This beach is popular because it is surrounded by a bay, which makes it good for swimming, surfing and paddle boarding. The water is very warm, and  the sand is very soft with no rocks. Many people walk their dogs and run along the beach. After swimming, Miriam would go for a run while I did some gymnastics on the sand.  After exercising, we were really hot and would jump into the cool water. This beach has beautiful views and mountains. On one side of the beach, the waves are a little bigger which makes it better for surfing. 

On one side of the beach is a small stream that flows into the ocean. It looked very small and calm and should have been easy to cross. We decided to try to cross it to get to the beach instead of going all around. I was the first to try to get across, but it wasn't as easy as it looked. When I first stepped into the stream, it pulled me in and my shoes flew into the ocean. As I was trying to fish out my shoes, I got all wet. My sisters and mom, didn't learn from my example and had the same thing happened to them. When we finally crossed, all our towels were all wet since we all got pulled in. 

We would spend all day at the beach starting from early morning until it was dark. There were many people paddle boarding, and we decided to try it too. We got one board that would fit 2 people, one adult with one child. Miriam and I took turns going on the board with my mom. We started on our knees until we were able to get our balance. Then I slowly stood up. It was hard at first but then when I got my balance it was easier. One time,  my mom and I tried to stand up at the same time.  The board turned a little sideways, and I fell into the water. Then I got back up onto the board, and we decided to take turns standing up. What made paddle boarding difficult was that the waves would make the board go up and down, and it was hard to stand. Also, the wind would blow the board into the wrong direction. I really liked paddle boarding and maybe I can try it again sometime. 

Kauai has many different beautiful birds.  While we were sitting at the beach, I spotted a Red Crested Cardinal that came over to eat some food that it found. It was my favorite bird on the island. 

Red Crested Cardinal

Do you like to go to the beach?
What do you do there?