Kauai 2013 travel blog


Day 4 - April 23, 2013

The weather is supposed to clear up today. Goody goody. Because if I had to spend another day indoors watching movies on Lifetime, I would go batshit insane and do something very very bad that would likely result in a Lifetime Original Movie being made about Cathy, such as "My Husband Went Batshit Insane On Our Trip To Kauai: The Cathy Toyen Story".

So we got in our rental car and headed to the Waimea Canyon, which is nicknamed "The Grand Canyon of the Pacific". Okay, that's description is a little over-the-top. It does not have the grandeur of the Grand Canyon, but it does have the advantage of being on an island paradise, whereas the real Grand Canyon is in the middle of Arizona, which (how do I put this delicately) sucks.

And as we hit 1000 feet on our way to the canyon, we got some spectacular views of the outer areas of the canyon, and of the Kauai southern coast. But we never got to see the "money shots" of the canyon because the canyon valley was covered in a cloud bank. (Cue the tuba music that they play on "The Price is Right" whenever someone loses).

Nevertheless, we did a few of the nature walks at some of the lookout points. Even though we couldn't see the full canyon vista, we could see what was in front of us, and Kauai has some of the most beautiful flora and fauna of anywhere I've ever been. Kauai is not called "The Garden Isle" here for nothing, and a lot of the things you see here you don't see anywhere on the mainland. Literally EVERYTHING grows here, and it grows everywhere. Plants even grow in the sand. So the walks on the nature trails were still enjoyable. (If you follow Cathy on Facebook, you'll see some of the ridiculous pictures she posted of me doing "Tai Chi" moves on a rock in a misty forest. That was one one of the nature trails in Waimea Canyon)

The other thing that made Waimea Canyon so much fun were the chickens. I don't think I've talked about the chickens yet. but one think that is distinctive (and interesting) about Kauai is the ubiquitous presence of chickens and roosters. I was going to use as a metaphor that you see stray rooster and chickens in Kauai the same way you see stray cats and dogs on the mainland, but that metaphor really doesn't work because you don't really see stray cats and dogs that much in major US cities. The poultry here are everywhere. On the beaches. In the parking lots in strip malls. Hanging around tables at outdoor restaurants, and in Waimea Canyon, they are everywhere. And you don't just see one stray rooster every now and then. You see whole families of hens, roosters, and baby chicks everywhere you go. You also hear them in the morning much like the way you would if you were on a farm in a fly-over state.

Evidently, the chickens are a big hit with the tourists because the visitor's center in Waimea Canyon was selling big bags of chicken feed for 50 cents. Naturally I couldn't resist, so I bought a bag and delighted in causing chicken feeding frenzies wherever I went. As I was trying to drive out of the parking lot, some roosters were blocking my path, so I tried to be clever and get them out of the way by tossing some feed from my window. However, my aim was very bad and I ended up throwing the feed in front of the car, which only increased my poultry-related delay in leaving the parking lot.

And then there are the trees. Cathy refers to them as "The Lion King" trees, which is not really a silly nickname at all considering that the only time either of us have seen these types of trees is during the opening to the film "The Lion King". These are trees that appear "flat topped", meaning the ends of their branches seem to level off all at the same height, so as to form a plateau. Watch the opening to "The Lion King" if you're not sure what I'm talking about.

Then we walked around Waimea town for a while. The beaches in Waimea are peppered with large black stones that are fine for walking, until you discover that the rocks are the natural habitat of these large black sandcrabs that the Hawaiians call A'ama. At first you don't see them because they perfectly camouflage against the black rocks. Then you see them moving and they look like tarantulas, but they are not, because Kauai does not have tarantulas (as I was informed by a local). Cathy's reaction was to run away from the rocks. Mine was to whoop out my camera.

Then we hit Wailua Falls. These falls are famous for being the waterfalls that graced the opening credits to the Aaron Spelling 70's classic TV show, "Fantasy Island". They are spectacular, but there's not much to do there except look at the falls and try to squeeze in as many "Fantasy Island" jokes as you can think of. (Which were completely lost on Cathy, who did not spend her childhood in the United States, and was therefore deprived of any knowledge of that masterpiece of television. For those of you wondering what to get Cathy for her birthday - a Fantasy Island DVD box set would be very nice - or Blu-Ray if it's available). There are trails that lead down to the falls, but they have been fenced off, and all the guidebook strongly advise you to go with an organized group if you're going to take one of the two muddy trials to the bottom of the falls.

When we got back to our condo complex, it was still light out, sunny, and very warm. So we took advantage of the sustained good weather and got in some pool time.

The bad weather that we encountered on Sunday and Monday appear to be history, and not a moment too soon.



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