Sunday, September 20, 2009

Waimea Canyon

Thursday was our day to drive all the way around Kauai. The weather report for the weekend was a bit iffy, and I didn't want to miss out on seeing the Canyon and Kalalau overlooks when it was clear.

If you are not familiar with Kauai, where we are staying is on the north side, at roughly 12 o-clock, if you look at the island as a clock. Hanalei is only a 15 minutes or so from where the road around the island ends AT Ke'e beach on the north side. You can't drive counter clockwise from 12 to 9 because that's where the Napali coastline is, and there is no road through those cliffs. To get to the overlooks on the west side of Kauai you have to drive clockwise all the way around. The end of the road on the west side is actually at Barking Sands beach, but before you get there, the road forks up into the hills, past Waimea Canyon, and up to the top of the Napali cliffs.

Our plan was to leave fairly early in the morning, and drive straight through, around the island, to get to the top of Koke'e State park as early as we could. Then we would take our time working our way back down and around the island again. So we started out around 8AM. It takes about 90 minutes to get as far as the town of Waimea. Then another 45 minutes to go up the winding Waimea road to the final overlook, the Pu'u o Kila overlook. When we get to the top the weather is gorgeous. Hardly any clouds at all. We can see down across the Kalalau valley and out to sea.
From Kauai

We've really lucked out on the weather today. It can be very cloudy and rainy up here, and its spectacular.
The slightly lower overlook of the Kalalau valley is even more gorgeous

A little lower down you can see Waimea Canyon, carved by the heavy rains and streams in this area. It's been called the Grand Canyon of the Pacific, and it is not unlike the one in Arizona

By the way...there are chickens here. People told me this, they are EVERYwhere. But they only were kind enough to pose for me in Koke'e, when we stopped at a picnic table to have our sandwiches

Here's Todd at the Waimea Canyon overlook

After leaving the state park, driving along Waimea Canyon road, there are great views of the ocean, and in the distance the island of Ni'ihau. It's called the "Forbidden Island" because its privately owned, and the public is not allowed to even land there on the beaches.

[Once again, I do recommend taking a look at the Kauai album for more photos from this region.]

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