The Hawaiian Islands are the most isolated (populated) Islands on Earth.
Kauai is the most isolated of the main Hawaiian Islands and a nature lover’s paradise.
I promised my three daughters that when they turned 18, I would take each of them on a mom and daughter trip anywhere in North America. My eldest daughter, Mist, picked New York City. Tabs (in the middle) chose Kauai. The two locales couldn’t be more different: one an urban mecca, and the other a wild, tropical mecca. They both proved to be adventures of a lifetime. We navigated the jungle on each occasion: one an urban jungle and the other, a tropical jungle.
Sunset Dancing at Hanalei Bay
Hanalei Bay is one of my favourite places on Earth. It is Zen, spectacularly beautiful, and fantastically exciting all at once. We danced at sunset on the beach, boogie boarded, sunned our pale bodies on the sand, and tried the surf.
I’ve been to Hawaii, the Big Island, and briefly to Oahu. The Big Island has the most abundant and healthiest coral though, the Kauai vibe truly suits me best. I love the chill, no-hurry attitude. Traffic is a dream, everyone is so polite: cars stop and let you in even when they’ve been waiting longer than you.
- We saved surfing to the last day. We were determined to squeeze it in, despite the rain. It turned into quite the adventure. Pics don’t show it but–we had to put the camera away to protect it from the torrential showers–by the end of the morning, as we walked along the dirt road to the car, carrying our boards, we were completely drenched and covered in mud.
Tabs by the banks of the Hanalei River
Below: Tabs at Queen’s Bath. Many naive souls have drowned when a rogue wave crashes over the rocks, fills the pool and then sucks the water and bathers into the raging ocean.
Navigating the rivers and hiking through the jungle was paradise. The tropical floral scents, warm water and complex root systems made each hike an ‘Indiana Jones’ adventure. We lept off cliffs (Tabs), swam underwater falls, and traversed swollen rivers.
Below: Tabs cliff jumping at Hoopii Falls
My favourite day in Kauai involved renting SUPs and paddling up the Wailua River. At a fork in the river, we paddled right, and the river eventually led us to a trailhead on the bank. We parked our boards and continued on foot through the jungle to Secret Falls.
We were warned that the hike into Secret Falls involved crossing an unpredictable river. In heavy rain, the river will swell to levels too high to cross. Thus, if it started to rain during the hike, we were advised to head back asap, otherwise, we might become stranded at the falls.
It did start to rain and thank goodness, Tabs and I have fast nimble feet. We navigated back across the roots and pools of water in record speed.
Below: this is Secret falls hike. You can see the river’s edge is on the right corner of the second pic:
After we left Secret Falls hike, we returned to our SUPs and headed out on the river again. This time we explored the left river fork. We stopped near Fern Grotto and tied our SUPs to tree roots bulging from the bank, and then used the roots to climb up to the trailhead to sacred Fern Grotto, where Kauaiians would honour the god of agriculture and peace, Lono.
We paddled back on the river, to where we parked the car (near the ocean), past an ancient Hawaiian village. Paddling against the fierce late afternoon wind was insane. At some points, we sat crossed-legged and paddled from sitting position. We were on the river for six hours that day!
Our trip Waimea Canyon was another nail-biting adventure. The pouring rain caused white-out road conditions and rivers flowing across the highway threatened to take our little Toyto rental car with them. Maneuvering the narrow, cliff-side canyon roads in white-out torrential rain challenged my Zen but I took them slow and steady. The views of Waimea Canyon are beyond stunning. The ethereal sunlight, blue sky, misty air, red soil, and deep green foliage made me think I’d stepped into a Maxfield Parish painting. We hiked down into the canyon in the pouring rain,slip-sliding through red mud. Tabs in her stylish sundress looked no worse for wear. Though, the white sneakers are permanently red-stained.
I love our mother-daughter trips. Tabitha is a fierce and fun traveling companion. She’s game to try anything and we explored the entire island with well-matched gusto.
Snorkeling with puffer fish @ Anini Beach