Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Row, Row, Row your boat... and then row some more

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day “they” say, so we started it off right with French toast again only this time Nephi brought coconut syrup – my favorite – and we made fresh whipping cream for the strawberries and blackberries – so tasty! (side note: I know lots of space on these Hawaii blogs has been dedicated to food, but we have eaten some amazing stuff!!!!) After breakfast we headed out for today’s activity – kayaking!!! We drove to the head of the Wailua River and got started. We had four kayaks and one was a double, lucky for Kristin and I because together I think we made up just about one fairly decent kayaker :).

As we started out we all felt strong and excited… Lizzy even insisted on singing “just around the river bend”, but as we rounded the third or fourth river bend and didn’t see our destination our enthusiasm faltered a bit. We did however make it to the first stop, fern grotto, in fairly good time. A stretch of the legs and a look at the ancient site and we were off. Stop number two was really fun! We pulled up to the swimming hole and we were the only folks there for a bit. We hiked up and were able to take our turns at the rope swing. My arms aren’t strong anyway, but after an hour of kayaking I was “rubbish”. I could barely hang on long enough to make it to the center before I fell off. We got great pics of everyone else holding tight, but my strength was gone (not a good sign since we weren’t even half way done kayaking and the way back was supposed to be the tough part). After my weak showing on the rope swing I had to do something that I felt I could conquer, so I headed up the side of the cliff for a little cliff jumping. Bingo – so fun and not scared. We had a great time and it was a good break for our arms. We sat and ate fresh pineapple right off the core as Brandon cut it, it was delicious! Lizzy ate her apples and cheese, her diet for the day.
Failed attempt at the rope swing

Next it was farther up the river and around a few more bends to the trail head. We hiked about 20 minutes in to see Secret Falls, a beautiful waterfall deep in the canyon. Krista and I decided to go for a swim. The water was fresh and crisp (actually cold, but crisp sounds nicer). It really was invigorating to stand in this powerful tropical waterfall and have the falling water massage your shoulders, amazing. As we headed out of the canyon I had accident number two for the trip…. As I headed up a large rock my wet flip-flop started to fall off… I had two choices – one, fall backwards and crack my head open on the rocks and ground below; or two, crash my shin into the jagged lava rock in front of me to catch my balance. I went with option number two, thinking that option one might equate to never doing anything again and option two would likely just tear up my leg. Happy to say my leg is pretty bruised and torn up, but I’m alive to fall again tomorrow ;). The hike down was less than comfortable, but I’ve hiked down a mountain with much more severe injuries (when I was in high school I fell and cut my leg open and had to hike down the mountain and drive for 45 minutes before I could get the necessary stitches… that sucked… and I still made it to the MORP dance – haha).

Back to the kayaks for the trek back. The first part of the trip wasn’t bad. In the narrow part of the river the winds were calm. As we headed back into the main channel and toward the sea the wind picked up and it was horrible. We fought the winds with our already tired muscles and it was a struggle for each stroke. As Kristin put it, most of the strokes felt like we were “rowing into and through concrete”. If we didn’t keep rowing the wind pushed us backwards and its pretty demoralizing to watch yourself slip farther and farther away while your muscles ache and burn already. It was tough, but in the end we all made it and we’re happy to have had such an awesome day. I think in total we kayaked about 4-5 miles total (best I could tell on the internet), but I think I’m claiming about 15 miles due to the tiredness of my muscles. I have to mention there was no singing on the way back.

Of course dinner was the next thing on our minds so we headed to the best local spot in Lihue called, Marks Place. it’s a little dive located in a strange industrial part of town, but the food was great. Brandon got some amazing teriyaki beef and my herb crusted swordfish was nothing short of mouthwatering (it was no ahi tacos, but very very good ;) – yes, I’m still talking about those tacos). I also bought some cinnamon macadamia nut shortbread cookies… oh, my, gosh!!! I ate three and I think they were about 10,000 calories each. Mark’s gets an A in our book!

Back at the Hyatt we decided the perfect end for our sore muscles would be a dip in the jacuzzis. The jacuzzis and pools here are open 24/7 – AWESOME! We tried to wait for Brandon to get back, but couldn’t. We headed down and enjoyed the heat and some girl talk. When Brandon did show up I couldn’t do anything but laugh! He had been so nervous about getting into the pool with us. He said that they are very strict about kicking locals out that are not staying at the property. As I saw him come down the path toward us with his hoodie on and a backpack on his back I realized why he always gets kicked out… he looked like a local sneaking in. My suggestions was – next time try it without the hoodie and back pack you might actually end up blending. Haha – he’s so funny! But THE BEST tour guide (and friend) in all of Kauai!

Fern Grotto

Tomorrow we’re all set to hike!!! (at least I don’t have to use my arms – I don’t think I’ll be able to move them in the morning)