Monday, September 8 –
Monday morning we woke up wondering how we could possibly top Sunday.
We drove east on Highway 50, the Kaumualii Highway, before passing through Lihue on Highway 56, the Kuhio Highway. We crossed the Wailua River in the Kapaa Community (largest town) to the northern side of the island. Kapaa is the largest town on the island with a population of about 10,000. We drove along the “Coconut Coast”, so known for a former huge coconut plantation. Along the way we passed beautiful Anahola Bay and Kalihiwai Bay, the posh Princeville area, world-famous Hanalei Bay and Wainiha Bay. After arriving at Ha’ena State Park, the roads end. Mom and Dad decided to stay at the nearby Ke’e Beach. Jeff and I decided to go hiking on the acclaimed Kalalau Trail.
We made sure to pay close attention to the weather. The forecast called for rain in the next couple of hours, and hiking the trail in showers was not recommended. It was humid hiking through the vegetation and hot in the open sections, but the Kalalau trail surrendered gorgeous views of the Na’ Pali coast. The 11-mile trail is the only way to the remote coast and follows an ancient Hawaiian foot trail that traverses 5 valleys before ending at Kalalau Beach where it is blocked by the cliffs. We didn’t quite hike the 2 miles to Hanakapi’ai Beach, which is a popular day hike, to see the beach, before returning. We would be visiting the beach later by catamaran.
Upon returning to the parking lot, we decided to cool off by going snorkeling since we had our gear with us. Dad and Mom joined us for snorkeling at Ke’e Beach. The lagoon had a reef with beautiful fish and a view of the Na’ Pali coast.
After getting cleaned up and changing clothes, we went to dinner at the St. Regis Princeville Resort – one of the world’s best hotels. We went out to the Makana Terrace restaurant overlooking Hanalei Bay and Makana Mountain. It was here that South Pacific was filmed. We watched the most beautiful sunset I have ever seen sink behind the horizon and cliffs as we enjoyed fine dining at our candle lit table on the terrace. I had some tasty swordfish and asparagus, which were also accompanied by flavorful mango and fresh lemon grass. Unfortunately, Dad couldn’t join us because he was sea sick from the snorkeling.
Upon driving back to Poipu, we all slept well that night.