Beautiful Waimea Canyon
7 Jan 2013
After a brief visit with the concierage to book a catamaran trip along the Na Pali coast later on during our stay, we headed westward to the quaint town of Waimea, the junction point to drive north to Waimea Canyon State Park and Koke'e State Park beyond.
What a steep, windy, narrow road! As we continued to climb, the scenery became more rugged and when we reached a pull-off spot, we took advantage to get out of the car to see the beautiful canyon below! Absolutely stunning scenery with streams, farms and deep furrowed ridges. We proceeded to Waimea Canyon Overlook to see how the colors changed as the sun and clouds moved across the sky. This is a 10-mile long, 3,000 foot deep canyon. The pictures just cannot do this beautiful canyon justice!
Our next stop was at the Pu'u O Kila Overlook which offers a window into Kalalau Valley, from the Alaka'i Swamp to Mount Wai'ale'ale. It was starting to get a bit more overcast, so the pictures taken here are not as crisp and clear as they were at the Waimea Canyon Overlook.
We stopped at every pull-off spot along the way to enjoy more views of the canyon. Many regard the two overlooks as the best views on Kaua'i and even the best in the Pacific. We finally reached mile marker 18, the Kalalau Overlook opens to an expansive view over Kalalau Valley, the biggest one on the Na Pali Coast. The valley was inhabited until the beginning of the 1900s, and since then, occasionally hippies looking to live off the fruit in the jungle stay a while. Unfortunately, by the time we reached the "end of the road", it was overcast, the clouds were misty and our views were definitely hampered by the cloud cover. We all decided if time and opportunity presents itself, we'd like to return to see it another day.
We returned a different route that brought us a bit further west and closer to the Naval base and while in that neck of the woods, thought it prudent to refuel with the gas on base being $4.07 compared to $4.59 and more on the rest of the island. Got a few more supplies and started our return trek. But not before stopping in Waimea at the Shrimp Station for an absolutely wonderful late lunch! Linda and I got the coconut shrimp, Jerry got the garlic shrimp and sticky rice and Steve got the shrimp with sweet chili sauce and boiled potatoes and we all said we would return for more! Even gave the fellas free sodas when they spied their ID cards!
One of the places I wanted to see was the monument paying tribute to Captain James Cook, RN (Royal Navy), the explorer who is credited with "discovering" the Hawaiian Islands (for the western world as we know the Hawaiians were already here). Cpt Cook left Plymouth, England in 1776 for what would be his third and last voyage into the Pacific. On January 21, 1778, Cpt Cook landed on this site in Waimea, their first time on Hawaiian land. Apparently the Englishman overstayed their welcome and a misunderstanding occurred, Cook became furious, a change in temper that cost him his life. Violence escalated and Cook was eventually killed over an argument about a row boat; his men sailed back to England.
Fortunately, while we were reading the information about Captain Cook, we spied Jo-Jo's Shave Ice shop across from the plaza. This is one of the "ono" (delicious) local treats. Shave ice is a local staple. Although it's similar to teh Mainland snow cone, shave ice is made with ice that is much finer. The heavy shave ice machine shaves away a block of ice, and the shavings are then piled into a paper cup. Most shave ice shops offer traditional flavors like vanilla and strawberry, along with local flavors like coconut, likiko'i (passion fruit), and melon. These flavors really make a shave ice a treat. Many shops offer the option of cream on top, whcih is really teh icing on the cake, or chunks of coconut or ice cream under the ice. And no, I am not making a spelling error it is not 'shaved' ice, but instead 'shave' ice!
Linda got hers with vanilla ice cream under the ice and with strawberry colada and watermelon flavoring on the ice. Steve got macadamia nut ice cream under the ice and chocolate flavoring and cream on top. And I got macadamia nut ice cream under the ice and got banana, pineapple and tangerine flavorings on top - sheer heaven! And Jerry did not partake and doesn't care for them. He tried them when he lived here back in the 80s and is just not a fan.
We returned in time to see Alabama leading Notre Dame by 14 points in the first quarter. I immediately went into our bedroom and pulled out Jerry's Crimson Tide tee shirt to don and his Roll Tide hat for Steve to wear to set the mood for the game - Roll Tide! We were all thrilled with the end results of the game!