Thursday, June 21, 2012

Kauai, Day 1 & 2

Early Wednesday (6/13) morning we kissed my mom good-bye and headed to the airport. We didn't see either kiddo that morning, which was probably for the best - no tearful good-byes.

Our first leg of the trip was from Atlanta to LA. Judd had picked out great seats for us, but they were the first row behind first class, so we were able to look longingly up there at their beautiful lay-flat seats. (We were on a 777). As the doors were closing, a gate agent quickly came to our seats and told us there were 2 seats up front, we could move to them! It was a great start to our vacation!

Judd purposefully scheduled a 4 hour layover in LA. He heard that you can take a Parking Spot shuttle to one of their parking garages that is next to an In & Out Burger AND that burger joint is on the flight path for LAX. What could be better, right? So, we found the shuttle and rode it over there.

We each had a burger (can't really say that I understand what all of the hype is about - I think 5 Guys is just as good) and watched the planes land for a while. We took the shuttle back to the airport and waited around for our flight to Lihue.

Our flight to Lihue was long. It felt REALLY long. Finally we landed around 5PM Hawaii time. We had been traveling for about 18 hours. We were both pretty tired at this point. We got our rental car and headed north. We stopped to eat at Hukilau Lanai for dinner. They had a beautiful Lanai (outdoor space) overlooking a nice lawn and in the distance the Pacific. The food was great. We hopped back in the car and started the journey to Princeville.

We pulled into the St. Regis Princeville around 7:45 or so. I can hardly even describe how gorgeous this place is. We were greeted and sent into to check in. They brought us bottled waters and leis. We were escorted to our ocean view room. It was dark, so we couldn't really see what the view was - but you just knew it would be great in the morning.

The next morning we woke up at 4AM. A combination of jet lag and excitement. Around 6 we peeked out of the window during sunrise. The view was breathtaking. We were looking right out onto Hanalei Bay. You could see the mountains, the ocean, the beach - amazing.

We put on our shoes and went downstairs to grab some $10 cups of coffee (the St. Regis is crazy expensive) and head out to explore.

We read about Hideaways Beach, it was a short hike from the St Regis. Sure enough, there was a little dirt path that went past some tennis courts and straight down a cliff. Somehow we managed to make our way down the STEEP path with coffee in hand to Hideaways Beach. It is an awesome little beach that has great views and pretty calm water for snorkeling. The hike back up the hill, though, you'll need to catch your breath at the top.

After we recovered, we got the car and headed out on an adventure to Secret Beach. First we made a stop at Kilauea Lighthouse. It wasn't open yet, but we saw it from above.

We found the parking at the top of the path down to Secret Beach, parked the car, and started the walk down. It was a 7-10 minute hike down. When we got there we stopped this little tide pool that was full of tiny baby frogs. The pool had all stages of baby frogs - tadpoles, tadpoles with legs, and teeny tiny frogs. I loved watching them, it was almost if you were watching them transform. Once Judd was able to pull me away, we started walking across the lava rocks in search of the Secret Lava Pools. We were walking along these lava rocks - basically a lava cliff - waves were breaking onto the rocks (far enough from us, it was safe). The pools were pretty deep in places - 6 feet or so. They were refreshed every so often with a little wave or two. It was so peaceful. There was one other couple there swimming with us. Turns out they were on a vacation - left their little one at home - and he went to college in the town I went to high school in Arkansas. He knew people I went to high school with. It's a small world.

After the lava pools, we said good-bye to our new friends and we hiked a little farther around the cliffs to a little waterfall. We hiked down and used it to shower the salt water off. I looked at Judd and said, "Do you realize what we are doing? We are showering off in a water fall looking out into the Pacific - and we have it all to ourselves!" We were right where the river meets the sea. It was one of those moments in life that I will never, ever forget.

We grabbed some lunch in Hanalei - fish tacos - and went back to the resort to relax.

After a nap, shower, and change, we went back to Hanalei to Tahiti Nui. This is where a bar scene is filmed in the movie, The Descendants. We had a pizza dinner while listening to a Hawaiian band play some tunes. A great way to end the first full day!


Allison D said...

I've been dying to call you but trying to give you time to catch up on all the lovin' with your kiddos! Trip looks awesome! And you look so fabulous in your bikini under the waterfall! Way to go, Cinch diet!

Emily said...

I wanna go, I wanna go, I wanna go. Sorry, I just had to get that out! I'm glad you had a safe trip.