, , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The alarm went off at 5AM, and we were on our way to the airport at 5:45AM to catch our 7:20 flight. As we walked into the lobby we were greeted with signs reminding us why we are in Hawaii. It was still a little drizzly this morning after the downpours last night.

We got there with no problem, and had plenty of time to spare.  Island Air’s terminal is very separate from the main terminals, and was more like the airport I remembered – long glass windows looking out to the tarmac where you would stand and watch arriving guests deplane, and departing guests would stand at the top of the stairs and wave goodbye.  

It’s been a long time since I’ve ridden in a prop plane!

A quick, easy flight and we were on the ground in Lihue, Kauai. We got our rental car, and we were off! Kauai is lush and green, just the way I remember it. 

First stop, Kauai Coffee Company. We sampled a lot of coffee, and learned a lot on the self-guided tour. Did you know dark roast coffee has more body, but medium roast has more caffeine? The coffee was excellent, and their sense of humor evident throughout.

Next on our list, Waimea Canyon, the Grand Canyon of the Pacific. Stunningly beautiful and serene. As we were pulling into the lookout, there were two blacktail deer on the ridge above the parking lot. One buck, the other possibly a doe. And lots of “free range” roosters.  The nene may be the Hawaii state bird, but the rooster is the unofficial bird of Kauai.

Waterfall on the way to Waimea Canyon

Hydrangeas! Not sure who brought them to Kauai, but they were abundant at this lookout.

The nene – Hawaii’s state bird. This is a teenaged one 

A drive back down the mountain into town where we stopped for lunch at Porky’s. Sausage or hot dog covered with kalua pork, or a grilled cheese with kalua pork. We double checked the time and distance to the light house, and realized we were going to be cutting it very close as they closed at 4PM. 

Fortunately traffic was light, but phone batteries were dying, so no photos of the scenery along the way. (I brought my battery pack with me today, but I forgot the charging cable. Guess we’ll chalk that up to the early morning hour!)   We passed Sleeping Giant in the Noi Noi mountains. Lush, tropical paradise continued, and even included a few stretches of beachs. We pulled into the lighthouse parking lot at 3:52PM. The park ranger tried to convince us we didn’t have time. D and I looked at each other and knew we could do what we needed to do – she stopped in the gift store to pick up a special request, I ran ahead for the photos. She had time to round the corner and see the lighthouse in person before the park rangers began shooing us out. One of the straggling visitors even pointed out a baby bird in its nest to us.

As we began our trek back toward Lihue, we stopped at a market we’d passed earlier, Kong Lung Market. Wonderful shops and local artisan’s wares. We had to be mindful of what we purchased as we had to carry everything back with us, in a carry-on, on a plane…let’s just say I wish I’d remembered that at stop #1 this morning! I can’t say what TSA confiscated or I will give away a Christmas gift (which I will replace before I head home.)

Fortunately most of the artisan’s we have seen and really liked have websites where we can purchase items. We were back to the airport in plenty of time. The ticket agent advised us Honolulu was under a flash flood watch as it had been raining all day, and there was a good possibility we could hit turbulence on the way home. Our initial thought? What a stroke of luck for us! We had sun and gorgeous weather the entire day. The flight left about 15 minutes early, and all was drying out when we arrived back in Oahu. Fingers crossed it stays dry for the next several days.

We went back to Duke’s tonight for a quick bite to eat before turning in.  We both opted for Hula Pie. I would say a perfect way to end a great day! Tomorrow we are headed back to the North Shore of Oahu for a slower look around at stores, swimming, sunning and whatever strikes our fancy.