We had stayed the night at Kevin’s house so that we could wake early and go for a hike.  While the road ends at Ke’e beach, there is a hiking trail that continues on.  We planned to hike roughly two mile segment that would take us to Hanakapi’ai Beach.  Kevin and Hyun Joo had hiked it before, with the kids, so we knew it wouldn’t be TOO grueling.  Still, I was annoyed to find I’d forgotten my hiking sandals.  Kevin loaned me his reef shoes, which were a bit big, so I tucked them into my pack in case I needed them.

Our early start got us a good parking place and we headed up the mountain.  I was wearing my Birkenstocks and feeling pretty smug about my ability to climb rocks with them on. Must be that I’m such an old hand, wearing the ‘Stocks since the 80s, hiking all the time…

Footwear and smugness was soon forgotten, however, as nature just hurled one gorgeous thing after another at us.   We kept saying “This is actually REAL.”  It looked like what other places try to be and each time we rounded a bend, something more lovely than the thing we’d seen before would come into view.

Look, lantana just grows wild!

Look, lantana just grows wild!

Ooo, that's pretty, take a picture of us in front of that view, which is surely as nice as it gets.

Ooo, that’s pretty, take a picture of us in front of that view, which is surely as nice as it gets.

Hyun Joo and Hana forge ahead

Hyun Joo and Hana forge ahead

Oh there's Ke'e beach, surely THAT'S the prettiest thing!

Oh there’s Ke’e beach, surely THAT’S the prettiest thing!

A light misty rain started to fall, making the path kind of slimy and slick.  But then we rounded a corner

Rainbow!

Rainbow!

Get our picture here, for it cannot get any more beautiful!

Get our picture here, for it cannot get any more beautiful!

 

The rain stopped and we continued climbing, constantly exclaiming over the beauty.

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At the coconut festival and in shops, we kept seeing photos retouched with lurid paints.  We wondered who on earth would want such a tacky thing.  But when I uploaded all these photos, I felt like no amount of saturation would get the blues blue enough, the greens green enough.  I can see how you’d reach for your black light paints in desperation.

As we neared the summit, the rain started again.  Would we get another rainbow?

How about A DOUBLE RAINBOW?

How about A DOUBLE RAINBOW?

I mean really, it’s almost showing off at this point.  The rain made the descent rather treacherous, even for an old Birkenstocky like me, so I took off my shoes and went barefoot the rest of the way down.  I don’t think it hurt, but I was pretty distracted.

too much!

too much!

Hi Kevin!

Hi Kevin!

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This is really a place.  I saw it.

This is really a place. I saw it.

There were ripe guavas overhanging the trail and sometimes I’d find one that had fallen yet wasn’t rotten.  We came to a stream and found a whole bunch floating in it, cool and preserved and waiting for us.  It pays to get up early.

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Oh, you brought trail mix?  I'll just eat this guava that fell from the sky.

Oh, you brought trail mix? I’ll just eat this guava that fell from the sky.

Finally we turned a corner and saw our goal, Hanakapai’ai Beach:

Accessible only on foot and by boat.

Accessible only on foot and by boat.

As we climbed down, Hana started complaining about the ants.  That’s when we noticed that the ground was aswarm.  Ants EVERYwhere and if you stopped walking, they’d go right up your legs.  I was barefoot (unless mud counts as shoes), so I was very motivated to keep on truckin’.  They didn’t bite, but it was still icky.  Steve noted that there appeared to be two different sorts of ants, so maybe it was a turf war.  Move along, monkeys, this is not about you.

Continuing the “the water is trying to kill you theme” of the trip, we passed this sign:

"Hanakapia Beach.  Do not go near water. Unseen currents have killed (tally marks to 82?) visitors."

“Hanakapia Beach. Do not go near water. Unseen currents have killed (tally marks to 82?) visitors.”

Kevin says the tally has never changed that he’s seen.  But what I want to know is: Where did the sign come from?  I’m assuming the Park Service didn’t put it up.  Did some one walk two miles and decide to stop for a carving break?  Make it at home and pack it in?

Cross a stream and down to the beach.

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KauaiZTuesday38Kevin and Hyun Joo said that they’ve come in the spring in the past and those stream rocks are underwater.  There is a rope strung across them and you hold on while feeling for the rocks.  i like this way better.

There were lots of caves in the cliff walls.  Apparently, these are often underwater as well, so we picked a good time to go.

Steve and Hana in the freshwater pool coming from the stream

Steve and Hana in the freshwater pool coming from the stream

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Hana catching tadpoles in the pool

Hana catching tadpoles in the pool

From inside one of the caves.  The sand in here was wet, so no camping.

From inside one of the caves. The sand in here was wet, so no camping.

We spotted light inside the cave and Kevin decided to slither out.

We spotted light inside the cave and Kevin decided to slither out.

Daniel and Hana followed suit

Daniel and Hana followed suit

Steve stacked a rock pile for me.

Steve stacked a rock pile for me.

The hike back out was more treacherous and I stayed barefooted for much of it.  Passing hikers admired my badassery, but I assured them it was just a lack of proper footwear.  At one point, I switched to the reef shoes because even my own grippy toes weren’t cutting it.

Go away rainclouds.  Rainbows are nice, but now we just want a dry trail, thanks.

Go away rainclouds. Rainbows are nice, but now we just want a dry trail, thanks.

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Lizard about the grab that wasp that is a black blur in front of him.  The wasp escaped his mouth and was then just an angry wasp.  So we left.

Lizard about the grab that wasp that is a black blur in front of him. The wasp escaped his mouth and was then just an angry wasp. So we left.

Back to Ke'e

Back to Ke’e

Hana got a little schmutzy, too.

Hana got a little schmutzy, too.

Big ol' parking lot spider.

Big ol’ parking lot spider.

We’d worked up a powerful hunger, so we drove to a taco truck in Hanalei Bay.

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Taco Truck

Taco Truck

We ambled up to the truck to order.  The woman taking the orders is English and has an East End accent.  Kevin asked if the tortillas were corn or flour.

“Ermmmm..” she looks off into the truck. “They’re all, er, flour.”

“Okay, could I just have the insides of a taco on a plate or some foil?”

She smiles at me, “Could you just not eat the taco?”

Yeah, sure, okay.  Kevin orders.  His kids are 5 and 7, so that means food issues.  he asks for the fajita burrito without beans.

She smiles.  ‘Yeah, we’re not good with special orders.  We usually just forget.  I’ll write it, but it probably won’t happen.”

For the record, it didn’t.  Also, he ordered four steak tacos, asking her several times “did you get that I want four of those?” when he saw that she didn’t write down a four.  She only gave him one.  The “kids” quesadilla that was to be jalepeno-less had jalepenos on it.  Daniel took one bite and burst into tears.  It was wicked spicy.  She was never snarky or anything, just utterly unconcerned.

I heard another customer ask “When are you open?”  And she replied “12-3, most days.”

This, my friends, is a Good Gig.  Three hours a day, if you feel like it, and you don’t actually have to give people what they ask for.  Really, she should just move to a “You sit down and I’ll bring you what I think you should eat” model.  it would work.  I tell you, I’m moving to Kauai.

After trying to convince these big snails to come out on our hands, no dice, we headed back to Princeville.

KauaiZTuesday56We pulled off at a sign that said “scenic view.” We’d passed it several times, but finally thought, “hey, if THEY say it’s scenic, we should probably look.”  Good thinking, us.

Those are taro fields in the valley

Those are taro fields in the valley

We spent the rest of the evening at Kevin and Hyun Joo’s , swimming in the pool and relaxing.  We got some takeout and then headed back to Lihue.

Hana took my photo when I put the plumeria behind my ear.

Hana took my photo when I put the plumeria behind my ear.

The menfolk and the kids in the hot tub

The menfolk and the kids in the hot tub

The view from the backyard.  There's a waterfall bifurcating the bigger mountain, see it?

The view from the backyard. There’s a waterfall bifurcating the bigger mountain, see it?

Actual real hibiscus.  Just growing in the yard like it was nothing.

Actual real hibiscus. Just growing in the yard like it was nothing.