This past week has been incredibly full. After celebrating Katie’s 18th birthday in Los Angeles I came home to celebrate my own birthday. My mom and I traveled to Kauai to spend the first week of my 21st year hiking, swimming in the ocean, and soaking up as much sunshine as possible.
Although traveling can be anxiety-inducing for me, I always manage to push myself out of my comfort zone and return home feeling accomplished and grateful. I feel so lucky to have spent the past few days indulging in the art of beauty seeking. Natural beauty is everywhere you look in Kauai—chickens walk along the beaches, sea turtles sunbathe on the shore, rainbows arch across the azure sky, and tree trunks adorned in flowers spiral out into impossible configurations.
Each morning, my mom and I rose with the sun and after enjoying breakfast we headed out to explore the island. After full days spent hiking, swimming, and sightseeing we would return to our stunning room at the Grand Hyatt to rinse off the sand that stuck to our feet like sesame seeds. The salt water from the day would evaporate, leaving behind a chalky smoothness on our sun kissed skin. Each night I fell into bed early in the evening ready to wake up at sunrise again to begin another day of adventure.
To see more of what I got up to in Kauai, please view the photos below!!
Monday started off with a rainbow sighting from the airplane. From the airport we drove straight to Waimea Waterfall and then drove through the Tree Tunnel to walk around the little town of Poipu. There, we stopped for lunch at Island Grille and marveled at the little green Kauai geckos scaling the walls. In the afternoon we explored our hotel and walked along Shipwreck Beach before checking into our suite, changing into swimsuits, and swimming in the saltwater lagoon.
Tuesday morning we woke up at sunrise and headed to Ilima Terrace for breakfast. After enjoying a delicious assortment of fresh fruit, juice, blueberry pancakes, and scrambled eggs we headed out on a four mile hike along Shipwreck Beach towards the tortoise sanctuary and The Makauwahi Cave. After persevering through the heat we reached the cave which was evidently closed until 10:00 a.m. Our water bottles were empty and the heat was intense but we managed to work our way back and proceeded to hunt for seashells. After our morning work out, we stopped at ‘Anakē’s in Koloa for acai bowls and juice. Refueled, we continued on and explored the shops in Hanapepe including Talk Story Bookstore (Celeste “The Cat Boss”) which is the westernmost bookstore in the U.S. We found a few treasures and left to visit Waimea Canyon and the Red Dirt Waterfall (although no water was running on Tuesday). We also stopped at Warehouse 3540 (a creative community marketplace) and Living Foods Market before heading back to our hotel to spend the early evening swimming in the pool. As we dried off to head back to our room a rainbow appeared across the sky. We changed and headed into Poipu to grab dinner before going to bed.
Wednesday morning we visited with the parrots before heading out through the Tree Tunnel towards ‘Opaeka’a Falls and the Maunakapu and Wailua River/Wailua Heritage Trail. After taking a few photos at the scenic overlook we headed towards the Hindu Monastery - Saiva Siddhanta Headquarters where we wrote down fears we hoped to let go of and burned them in a small metal fire pit before exploring the gardens and viewing the temple. Leaving the monastery we drove to Kapa’a and walked along the beach and in the town stopping at a cute boutique called curious… Wednesday was our favorite day in Kauai because as we headed North towards Princeville I noticed this side street on Google Maps called Secret Beach Road. Intrigued, we decided to turn left down a narrow dirt road. We slowly drove through a field alongside a magnificent farm lined by huge trees. As we continued forward we saw these treehouse-like mansions hidden behind jungle trees. We parked and noticed other hikers on the dirt path and chose to explore further. After walking down the dirt road we reached the edge of the mountain we had been driving on and saw the sign for the trail. Straight down the mountain we caught a peek at the ocean below and decided to venture down. After hiking for about a mile down through the jungle we reached Secret Beach (aka Kauapea Beach) alongside the cutest Australian Shepherd. The beach was absolutely breathtaking and we spent a long time walking along the shore and collecting seashells. Walking back up the steep mountain was a fun challenge that left us in need of a refreshing snack. Once we got back to the car we continued to head north and stopped off when we discovered a cute stand selling homemade popsicles with unusual flavors so we picked up a coconut chai and a banana caramel ginger one for the road. We headed back to Shipwreck Beach and decided to return to The Makauwahi Cave which was actually open and we were finally able to go inside. After a day spent hiking we were ready to change into swimsuits and relax in the saltwater lagoon and do some more swimming at Poipu Beach after sunset to see a sea turtle and colorful schools of fish beneath the clear turquoise water. We finished off the evening by revisiting the shops in Poipu and enjoying dinner.
Thursday morning we enjoyed another sunrise breakfast before returning to the Red Dirt Waterfall (which was running this time). After the waterfall we wanted to check out the Russian Fort Elizabeth State Historical Park since we’d driven past it several times. Although there are not any forts or buildings still standing, the flowering field leads down to a black sand beach dotted with yellow butterflies in Waimea where I saw sharks and fish. We then returned to Hanapepe and revisited the Talk Story Bookstore and ordered lunch. We went across the Swinging Bridge and walked along the river before going back to our hotel to eat and change into swimsuits. Once we were ready to go, we headed to Poipu Beach to swim, read, and view more fish. I was feeling warm from the sun and probably a little dehydrated so I tried to think of an out-of-the-box activity for that evening—something different than swimming in the pool. We wound up checking out the Fun Factory Arcade in Kapa’a to play air hockey and other games.
On Friday morning we went straight to Poipu Beach to see the sea turtles sunbathing on the sand. We returned to the hotel for breakfast and checked out Maha’ulepo Heritage Trail which led us to these rock caves by the sea. After our little hike we made one final stop at Spouting Horn before packing up and heading home to San Diego.
anemone by slenderbodies
opal ocean by slenderbodies
50 Ways to Leave Your Lover by Paul Simon
Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes by Paul Simon
Driving to Hawaii by Summer Salt
Side A by Alohaha
Side B by Alohaha
It Isn’t Real by Fantasy Guys
Blue by Mura Masa, Damon Albarn
Follow the Leader by Foxygen
Tried by BADBADNOTGOOD, Little Dragon
West Coast by Coconut Records
Chasing Cars by Snow Patrol
Odessa by Caribou
O.N.E. by Yeasayer
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Two libras take Hawaii...that's just what we did for our birthdays!! Katie + I were so grateful to start off our 14th and 17th trips around the sun in one of our favorite places. Chasing waterfalls, geo-caching, and seashell hunting filled our days and we spent our nights enjoying some well deserved family time. I've put together a collection of some of my favorite memories from the trip to share with you.
Tell me about a special birthday trip in the comments below.
- Mahalo -