Waimea Canyon Kauai

Waimea Canyon Kauai

Although the Beach House meal (or more likely, the wine) kept us from getting in an early run, we were still up early. Before the crack of dawn, as a matter of fact. Which gave us the idea of going to see the sunrise. Poipu is situated at nearly the most southerly point on the island. So, while we’d enjoyed a sunset view on one side of town, we could drive to the opposite side to see the sunrise.

We grabbed the camera, and jumped in the PT Cruiser promptly setting off the car alarm. So in addition to the roosters, we treated our neighbors to a honking horn and flashing lights. Sorry!

It was not the first time, nor would it be the last. Perhaps as an unfortunate consequence of their history in Detroit, Chrysler has a very pessimistic view of humanity, and have their car alarms on a hair trigger. Sincere apologies to all those we bothered

We drove a short distance to Shipwreck Beach, passing our dinner destination on the way. We walked a few yards down the beach then climbed up a shrubby hill to sit on a worn lava shelf. Which was actually (according to the guidebook) the same seaside cliff that Harrison and Anne jumped off in Six Days, Seven Nights’. It’s a remarkably terrible movie, given the beautiful backdrops they had to work with. Regardless, we arrived just as the sky was beginning to change color.

The horizon itself was shrouded in clouds, so we couldn’t actually see the sun climb over it. But the surrounding clouds, sky, and eventually water and hillsides soon were lit up in a brilliant palette of colors. The day was to hold many more colors, though, so we hustled back to the Cove.

After packing a few snacks, and grabbing a delicious Kauai Pie Latte at Leppert’s, we were westbound to the Waimea Canyon. The car ride was spent mulling over hiking options, but we eventually settled on a plan to do the Alakai swamp hike. On the way to the trailhead, we stopped at a few of the many canyon lookouts to take pictures while the sun was shining. We snapped a few good ones, and got a couple more good comments on the Game Over’ t-shirt while gaining elevation.

The trail started off with stunning views of the Kalalau valley, a large coastal bowl, on the left hand side. Descending down the clay path into a very damp wooded area, the vegetation changed dramatically. We were walking on the wire-covered boardwalk through hanging vines and giant ferns, when turned a corner to come face-to-face with a slumbering stegosaurus! The whole scene (okay, sans the dino) seemed straight out of the Mesozoic.

Upon reaching the actual swamp trail, the vegetation changed again. It got less swampy. Funny how that worked. It was also about that time that we got our first glimpse of darkening skies.

Shortly after rockhopping across a bubbling stream, we heard what sounded like a waterfall. But it was moving. Toward us.

Soon, the skies opened up, and we were getting rained on. Not flash-flood hard, but a little bit scary, given that we were about four muddy miles from the trailhead at that point. So, rather than pushing on to the lookout point that would have yielded spectacular views of grayness (the low clouds and precipitation enveloped the hills), we turned around.

We made it back to the car with a thick layer of red mud on our boots, and drove part of the way down the road (past the point on the map that was recommended not to be driven in the rain) before sitting down for some lunch.

Fueled by some tasty turkey on Love’s bread sandwiches, we did another quick hike, getting a few more views of the canyon. The rain had deepened the colors, and coupled with the sun poking through a few of the clouds, we were treated to tremendous views. We clomped our muddy way back to the car, and drove back down into the sun.