Waimea Canyon & the Island of Kauai

Grand Canyon of the Pacific

I’ve been dreaming a lot of pleasure travel lately. My husband and I, both recently retired, had several trips planned for 2020. We were able to get one in during early February before the shut down in mid-March of last year. This was a trip to Santa Fe, New Mexico and we loved it! Trips to Italy, National Parks, and a Viking River Cruise in Europe – our travel plans for 2020, never got off the ground.

Now, to keep our desire to travel alive and well, we are talking about future trips. Among other places, my husband and I would like to return to Hawaii. We’ve been to Maui twice and Kauai once. When you think of the Hawaiian Islands, one conjures up visions of pristine beaches, black sands, lava rocks, and volcanos.

Waimea Canyon, Kauai, © Carol Labuzzetta, 2013

One might also think of pineapple plantations, sugar cane, waterfalls, and luaus. But, does one think of deeply carved canyons? Probably not. When we visited Kauai in 2013, one of our island day trips was to Waimea Canyon, otherwise known the Grand Canyon of the Pacific! At the canyon, we hiked, saw a lot of red rocks and “dirt”, as well as a few requisite waterfalls. We encountered fog at Waimea lookout, unfortunately, so our view from the Kalalau Lookout, obscured the Na Pali Coast and azure ocean waters.

© Carol Labuzzetta, 2021

Still, the visit to Waimea Canyon stays with me. I’d like to return. The vegetation was lush and the hike undemanding. Was the canyon the highlight of our trip to Kauai? I’d say it was one of them. There are many things about this Hawaiian island that begs another visit.

The Famous North Coast of West Kauai

The Na Pali coast is stunning. The verdant cliffs rise high over a clear turquoise sea bordered by sand. We went to Ke’e Beach and snorkeled, there were locals as well as plenty of tourists. From Ke’e Beach, known as the beach at the end of road, we hiked to Hanakapiai Beach, along a short (2mile one way) segment of the Kalalau Trailhead. This was our most difficult hike, as the very narrow trail sits in the lush Kauai jungle, high above the water. It was also one of our most beautiful experiences during the trip.

On the trail to the hike in only beach. © Carol Labuzzetta, 2013.

South Kauai

We stayed on South side of the island near Poipu Beach, where there is a wide expanse of sand and calmer waters for children. One morning, we saw a sea lion sunning himself on the sand. Incredible!

The nice thing about Kauai is that the island is small enough that you can make it to from one side of the island to the other without much trouble. With little traffic, the trip is under two hours. But, traffic can be very heavy at times, so one needs to plan accordingly.

Unexpected: A sea lion asleep on the Beach on Kauai. © Carol Labuzzetta, 2013

Adventure awaits

One adventure we added to our trip to Kauai was tubing down the sugar cane irrigation ditches! This was a fun way to spend a hot July day on the island. The water’s current takes you on a trip through the hand dug ditches and tunnels that were used to shuttle water to the sugar cane fields as long ago as the 1870’s.

So maybe you can see why we are anxious to travel again. A trip back to Kauai is not in the near future, but maybe in the not so distant future. We’ll have to see. All I know is that I miss travel. For now, I’ll just have to keep on dreaming.

Today is day 10 of 31 of the Slice of Life Story Challenge hosted by TwoWritingTeachers.org. Thank you for allowing us to share in this supportive community of writers.

15 thoughts

  1. We went to Maui for an anniversary a few years ago. I could sit and look at these pictures all day! It’s rather overcast here right now. Thanks for the sunshine through my computer screen!

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  2. I miss travel, too. We had a stellar travel year in 2019, and I’m grateful for that, but 2020, as you know, was not a void travel year. We’re lucky to live near Yellowstone and w/in driving distance of Utah’s national parks, but we had cruises and a trip to Iceland planned for 2020.

    I loved this tour of Hawaii. We went to Oahu a few years ago, and now that my husband has had his first vaccine and I’m able to get vaccinated this month, we’ve booked two trips, one to Maui and one to Costa Rica. I’m stir crazy and ready to bust out of here.

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    1. Thanks, Glenda! It sounds like you live in a nice part of the country near some natural beauty. I would say the same about here and that has definitely helped. However, I am ready for a big trip! The two you have planned sound wonderful. My husband and I are both young retirees and do not fit any criteria yet for vaccines. We are hoping that by early summer we will be able to have ours! I hope your trips are wonderful! I think it’s nice to have something to look forward to!

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  3. I would LOVE to go to Hawaii, your pictures are absolutely beautiful! We also had Italy travel plans cancelled in 2020, very disappointing, but hopefully those trips can be re-scheduled for sometime in the near future!

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  4. I have never been to Hawaii! After looking at your photos and reading your post I would really like to go one day. It looks beautiful. May you be able to resume the travels soon!

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  5. It turns out that remembering our travels helps us when we miss the chance to travel more. With the added bonus- you took US there with you! Beautiful photos- you broadened my view of Hawaii for sure.
    Of the groups of people I feel especially for, in quarantine, is recently retired people who had to postpone the chance to travel! I hope you will get back to it soon and have many wonderful trips in your future.

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    1. Fran, Thank you so much! As I was explaining to Glenda in another comment, my husband and I are young retirees so we are not eligible for the vaccines yet. I hope by early summer we will qualify. What you said is true…remembering our travel helps when we can’t! Thanks for stopping by!

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  6. Absolutely gorgeous – the photo of Hanakapiai Beach has me longing to be there, drinking in this paradise. I also want to stroke that sea lion. Bad idea, I’m sure – but so compelling! Breathtaking, all.

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