our christmas traditions were cut a little short this year because we decided to fly out to kauai, hi on december 28th to celebrate our 9th wedding anniversary, jared's birthday, and my 29th year (crossing hawaii off my 30 things to do before 30). the minute we got off the plane the air was thick and summery and, after being in 14 degree weather that morning, it felt pretty great to be hanging out in the middle of the pacific ocean on the garden isle.
we picked up a rental jeep and then started driving north from lihue toward hanalei. we didn't have a place to stay the first night, so we found an empty parking lot, popped back the seats, and got some sleep in the jeep...well, we tried to sleep at least. as soon as the roosters started crowing and the sun filtered in, we drove the rest of the coast toward ke'e beach and the na pali coast. aloha, kauai!
so we spent the next few days sunning in the sand with a sleepy endangered hawaiian monk seal, watching humpback whales slap their fins on the horizon, snorkeling with thousands of brightly colored fish feeding on the orange coral, and bathing under the warm winter sun.
after spending a few days on the north side of the island, we drove to polihole or "the wild west of kauai" for our next campground. we had a beach view from our tent and some of the brightest stars i have seen in years! the downside? a long drive on a dirt road that left me near vomiting each time we left our campground. we celebrated the new year here with sparklers and an early utah midnight-which is actually only 9pm in kauai...i think we're officially old.
we got up first thing the next day, watched the sunrise, and then headed up to waimea canyon to do a little hiking in the mud. it was beautiful.
we were about as muddy and salty and achy as i could stand so i couldn't have been more thrilled to check into our first hotel on kauai! an indoor shower, toilet, and bed never sounded better!