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Driving Kauai's Waimea Canyon

and contemplating Kauai's feral chicken population

sunny 85 °F

On our first day in Kauai, we woke early to explore our resort (more on that later) before driving out to the Waimea Canyon on the Eastern side of Kauai. Waimea Canyon is the closest thing to the Grand Canyon you will find anywhere in the Pacific, and Waimea’s rocky, red outcroppings and rust stained roads are reminiscent of Zion National Park in Utah. As you drive further into the canyon, the road becomes more narrow and steep as you steadily rise to 4,000 feet above sea level. Along the way, dozens of view points and pull outs beckon you forth to take in the beauty of the forested Kokee State Park and the canyon itself. Although the drive along the canyon is only 20 miles, we easily spent half the day exploring the side trails and view points along this scenic route.
As we reached mile marker 20 the road ended at a final lookout point where we caught a glimpse of the elusive Napali Coastline. Kauai’s Napali Coast is only visible from sea or air and for the adventurous types, dozens of multi day hikes can take you along these steep, yet rolling cliffs. During our short trip to Kauai this lookout would be one of two times we had the opportunity to view the spectacular Napali coast. If we ever return to Kauai, I vow to spend several days exploring this nearly untouched wilderness.
On our way back to the resort we stopped at Spouting Horn in Poipu where a hole in the coastline spouts water with each crashing wave. The display was spectacular and reminded us of the Nakalele Blowhole in Maui. Spouting Horn is different however, in that air is forced through a nearby hole with each wave creating a high pitched moaning noise. Perhaps more exciting than the blowhole was watching crazy people venture out toward the hole to pose for a photo. Obviously the chain link fence and ominous signs threatening arrest for nearing the blowhole did nothing to deter these few. Our guidebook warned us of all the lives lost when large waves would crash through the hole and knock people into it. Most memorable was the story of a man on crutches who managed to navigate the lava rock to the blowhole only to be swept away into the ocean. Broken leg and all, he was one of the lucky few to survive. Needless to say, Dan and I stayed put on the shore (sorry folks – I’m not that adventurous!).
Before leaving Spouting Horn we enjoyed watching the families of feral chickens and cats chase each other through the adjacent park. Did I mention Kauai has an overabundance of chickens?! They were everywhere! Supposedly after Hurricane Iniki in 1992, dozens of chickens were displaced from family farms and since then have taken over the island causing traffic jams and attacking family pets. I am an animal lover, and have read much literature investigating the intelligence of various animal species. Birds are highly intelligent, but I have to be brutally honest, Kauai’s chicken population is a particularly unintelligent group of chickens. It must have been the hurricane that rattled this particular gene pool.
When we returned to our resort, I noticed an oddly shaped trail in the sky. Sort of like the clouds which forms behind an airplane, but unlike contrails, these clouds were twisting and spiraling about the sky. I snapped a photo and did some investigation. It turns out that Japanese and U.S. warships were testing out a missile defense system right above our heads. Fabulous!
We finished our day at the resort, floating the lazy river in the pool, splashing down the waterslide, and watching the hula dancers grace the grounds. It was the perfect ending to our busy day and with the end of our vacation looming closer we vowed to spend more time relaxing at the resort before leaving our tropical paradise. Although I strongly believe that travel should be adventurous and educational, a good day of rest and relaxation can be rejuvenating and refreshing, and in return make travel a more rewarding experience.

Posted by Jennylynn 07:48 Archived in USA Tagged tourist_sites

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Thanks for the photos. I have never been interested in going to those islands, but you may have started to change my mind.

by Travel4gro

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