Paradise – Day One

On marker of paradise...at least for a gal from Colorado

On marker of paradise…at least for a gal from Colorado

We’re in paradise. We escaped from cold, snowy Colorado during the boys spring break and now we are on a family trip in Kauai. There are five of us (hubby, the boys, my mom, and I), and we’re all Hawaii virgins. Kauai, after hours of research, was on the top of my Hawaii must-see list. So after a very long day yesterday (awake at 4 a.m., 8.5 hours in the air, topped off with a four-hour time change), we at arrived in Lihue ready to rest up for our grand adventure.

This morning we were awake in the dark at 5 a.m. (courtesy of the aforementioned four-hour time difference). Anxious to start our vacation, we threw on our swimsuits, jumped into our rental Jeep, and headed to Starbucks for caffeine. We drove toward Wailua and landed at Lydgate Beach Park just a few moments after the official rise of the sun.

Happy boys

Happy boys

The boys, we discovered, are not mountain boys at all. They love the beach. As the adults snapped photos, the boys ran along the empty beach, kings of their own little universe. Their joy at building small sand structures and watching the ocean “demolish” them repeatedly was a beautiful reminder of how important the little moments are. Serenity is a beach sunrise. (Or a mountain sunrise at Maroon Bells in Aspen, Colorado. I’m not picky.)

After the caffeine had kicked in, we headed up to Opaeka’a Falls Lookout. We enjoyed the falls but mostly we were happy to catch a quick view of the Wailua River where we are going to kayak on Monday morning. Back to the car, we headed to our home base to gather up some things for the rest of our day. We stopped off at Hilo Hatties for some kitschy Hawaiian wear (it had to be done…hubby insisted) and a bobblehead for the dashboard in our Jeep.

Kekoa...our bobblehead surfdog

Kekoa…our bobblehead surfdog

As the rain poured down in Lihue, we headed to the reportedly “sunny” south shore for some swimming and snorkeling at Poi’pu Beach.

The instant we’d unrolled our beach mats, the sky opened up for a couple minutes. We thought about packing it in, but decided it would pass over. It did quickly, leaving behind sunny skies and warmer temperatures. We hauled out the snorkel gear we’d purchased one day on the Internet while sitting in snowy Steamboat Springs and hit the water. I was grateful that it was warmer than I thought it might be. I didn’t even need the dive vest I brought. While snorkeling, I saw oodles of fish, including a spotted eel, colorful parrot fish, and a very cool Moorish idol. No sea turtles sightings yet, but it’s always good to have something to look forward to for another day.

Poi'pu

Very sunny Poi’pu Beach

Five hours and five mild sunburns later, we departed the beach in search of sustenance. We found Puka Dogs. The Ultimate Kauai Guidebook gave this place high marks for their hot dogs, so I felt compelled to give it a try. If you have to eat a hotdog, this place does not suck. The polish dog is roasted until its skin is crispy and then it is tucked into a wraparound bun with spicy garlic jalapeno aioli and sweet relish (our choice was mango). Loved it. Totally worth the $6.25 price tag in my humble, hot-dog loving opinion.

As we were preparing to leave the area, we decided to shoot around and hit Spouting Horn and see what that was all about. Glad we did too because we were able to scout out the location of Allerton Garden, which is on our list for another day, and we caught our first sight of humpback whales off the coast. Steve and I have seen humpbacks while on a cruise along the Inside Passage in Alaska, but the boys were so excited. We’ve got our fingers crossed that they will hang around for a few more days as our sunset whale-watching cruise isn’t until Monday night.

A view of Allerton

A view of Allerton Gardens…destination for another day

All in all, it was a good day. I hope you’ll indulge me as I use my blog as a travel log for this week, although I won’t blame you if you don’t. While I certainly don’t mean to torture anyone who is still enduring winter that is spilling over into spring, I want to catalog my time here in paradise because too soon I will be back in Colorado watching spring snow fall. I need to have something to look back on as I tuck my flip-flops into the back of my closet and pull out the boots again.

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