I do apologize in advance, my reports seem to be getting more and more wordy, and I have a very hard time choosing my favorite pics so I end up with tons that are very similar!
Day 5: Golf and Hanalei Bay
We booked a tee time at Kiahuna Golf Club to use the certificate that I had won for a free round of golf. I don’t golf, but my husband does, so I decided to ride along with him and take pictures. We got there a little before 7:00 and were the first tee time. Between renting golf clubs and paying for me to be a rider it ended up being about $44, which seemed like a pretty reasonable price. I had never driven a golf cart before, so that was quite exciting. A few times I thought I was going to fall out or flip the thing over!
Unfortunately, the golfing didn’t go so well. I forgot to pack my husband a belt so his shorts were too big and he couldn’t play very well because he constantly had to hike them up! It was pretty funny, but he was not enjoying it at all and was getting very frustrated! He really only played about 4 holes before he threw in the towel. After that we decided to just drive through the course and take pictures. We got a whole bunch of funny looks from all the serious male golfers out there, but oh well! It was still fun. We ended up seeing a beautiful rainbow that I was able to get a few pictures of.
After that we were starving since we had gotten up so early to make it to the golf course, so we headed to Kalaheo Café to grab some more breakfast. We both had a build-your-own omelet which were very good. The reviews had mentioned there were great views from the restaurant, but we didn’t see any. We sat outside and had a street right next to us.
After that we were exhausted so we came back and crashed for a bit. The night before we were grilling some fresh salmon and chatted with a man and his son that own a timeshare here. They suggested we drive out to Hanalei Bay to catch the sunset. We didn’t want to feel like we had wasted the whole day so we headed out there to see for ourselves.
We got lost a little bit since it’s kind of tucked away in a residential area, but we eventually found it and I was so glad we did! It’s beautiful! There’s a very pretty pier and a mountain backdrop with a huge waterfall in the distance. There are also tons of activities going on from surfing, snorkeling and stand up paddleboarding and tons of kids running around and playing in the water. It was a lot of fun to just people watch. We stayed and watched the sunset, but for some reason the lighting was very bad and almost none of my pictures turned out. We decided we would come back again before the end of our trip and try to get a few more pics because it was a stunning area.
Day 6: Waimea Canyon and Polihale
On our last trip, which was only 2.5 days, we stopped by the lookouts at Waimea Canyon and also did a helicopter tour so we saw it from above. This time, I really wanted to do a little hiking. I had originally written down that I wanted to do the Nu’alolo Trail, but I spoke with our tour guide, Matt, from Kauai Photo Tours, and he recommended we do the Awa’awapuhi Trail. I looked in to both of them and chickened out because a lot of the reviews mentioned we would have to cross very narrow walkways between two steep cliffs where you could fall to your death. Who knows if that’s the truth or not, but we didn’t want to risk it. We decided we would just drive out there and see if there was anything different to see.
We drove straight through to the end without actually stopping at the canyon. We realized on our last trip that the Kalalau Lookout was completely clouded over so we hadn’t seen any of the views before. It is a beautiful lookout that should definitely be on everyone’s list of items to see.
At that same point there is a sign for the start of the Pihea Trail. I remembered reading about it and thought people had said it was fairly easy. The sign said it was only one mile so I thought it would be a real quick hike to venture down and come back. We had water in the car, but didn’t even bother taking any with us. Obviously, I don’t hike that much and was very, very wrong. It ended up taking us about 2.5 hours and we were dying of thirst by the time we got back! Don’t make that mistake! Take plenty of water!
The hike is beautiful, but very treacherous at times. It was very slick and muddy in many places. It looked as though the trail was old lava flow (I’m not sure?) with lots of mud on top. In many places there were gigantic holes where the mud had washed away so there was quite a bit of climbing and maneuvering on very slick ground with very little to hold on to. It got really bad near the top and we kept thinking about turning around, but we had no idea how close we were to the end. We asked several people and they told we were almost there so we kept going. We finally made it to what we thought was the vista. There was really no sign or clear indication where the trail ended. It did intersect with a couple of other trails, but we went up a little farther beyond that.
Regardless, the view was amazing. It’s a stunning view of the Kalalau Valley. Right when we got there a few clouds rolled in which I though actually added to the beauty. Right after that the whole valley clouded over and we couldn’t see anything at all. We were so grateful we made it just in time, although it did clear up again as we headed back down. Honestly, the views from the vista aren’t that much different than what you see at the lookout, but it did open up quite a bit and show both sides of the valley, so I thought it was definitely worth it. We did run in to a man that had hiked the Awa’awapuhi Trail earlier that day and he mentioned that he thought the Pihea Trail had much better views of the valley and was much shorter.
We saw numerous elderly couples doing the hike just fine, but it was quite exhausting. Although, as I mentioned, we are kind of wimps when it comes to hiking.
After that, we stopped by a couple of the lookouts for Waimea Canyon. As we were admiring the view, we heard a very loud noise echoing in the canyon. The cutest little goat jumped right up the cliff and we were able to capture a photo!
After that, we drove out to Polihale State Park. I knew we were prohibited from driving there by our car rental company, but we decided to risk it because we were upgraded to a Jeep Wrangler, otherwise we would not have done it.
The drive out there is about 4 miles on an unpaved dirt road, but it’s nothing like a dirt road you would come across in the country. It was crazy rough! I drove super slow, maybe about 15 mph, but our Jeep was still bouncing around like crazy throwing us in the air! The road has huge potholes I’m guessing from being driven on when wet and then drying out again. There were several tourists that whizzed past us in regular sedan cars, but I wouldn’t recommend it.
We were a little nervous we weren’t going the right way because there were a couple turnoffs, but we just kept going straight and came across one of the most beautiful beaches we had ever seen. It was amazing! There is a huge cliff on one side and a 17 mile stretch of beach down the other side. It’s phenomenal! The sand was so incredibly soft and there were very few people there, maybe a total of 50 down the beach. We saw tons of catamarans come through on tours and you can also see views of Ni’ihau and one other tiny Hawaiian island. It looked like the sunset would be phenomenal, because it set right over Ni’ihau, but my husband was tired so we didn’t stay for it. He had to pry me away though because I was in love! Enter at your own risk!
Here’s a link to the pics from our trip so far: