Saturday, January 9, 2016


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!

not a lot of people were out on the beach at 7am, so we wandered through the sand toward tunnels beach and found a ymca where we could pitch our tent. our plan was to spend the first half of our time camping on the beach, showering in cold outdoor showers, eating peanut butter & jam sandwiches, and snacking on apple bananas- roughing it island style :-)


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!


after spending the first six days in kauai camping and sleeping in the jeep, i can't tell you how good that first night in a hotel felt! we might have started out a little bit more bohemian and adventurous, but i was ready for a little comfort and relaxation.

we stayed in a beach hotel in wailua where we could leave our screen door open and listen to the waves crashing...while lying in a comfortable bed! yay! and so we started enjoying our vacation from our vacation. we snorkeled at the sunny southern beach of poipu, ate shaved ice, kayaked up wailua river to a waterfall with kevin sorbo, and swam with sea turtles at anini beach.

while enjoying a relaxing time in kauai, we attacked our final big adventure...the kalalau trail. we decided to just enjoy the beautiful coast and not push ourselves too far, so i have to admit- we didn't complete the whole 25 mile trail. in all honesty, we only hiked about 5 miles of it...but it was really pretty and really super muddy and slippery. winter is the rainy season in kauai, and these mountains receive 300-600 inches of rain per year. so it was beautifully lush and green, but also muddy. we lucked out, and only got rained on for the last few minutes on the trail, but there wasn't a dry step.

after we enjoyed a beautiful hike in the jungle, we stopped at a local farmer's market and bought a variety of locally grown tropical fruit. we ate some yummy coconut, star fruit, pineapple, and hawaiian lychee. yum!

kauai was such a BEAUIFUL island and we feel so lucky to have had the chance to visit. happy 2016! and mahalo, kauai! mahalo.