Saturday, July 23, 2005

Waimea Canyon and Na Pali Coast

Half way into our stay at Kauai, we decided to explore the west side of the island (Waimea Canyon) and the inaccessible north-west side (Na Pali Coast).
Taking highway 50 and then 550 into the National Park, we drove about 1.5 hours from the east side to catch the first glimpses of the Canyon. The Canyon itself was created by an earthquake that almost split the island into two. The Waimea river still flows through the Canyon, eroding the basaltic rocks at a fast pace and depositing the red mud into the ocean.

Erosion of the rocks is quite evident in this picture taken on our drive along Waimea Canyon Drive.

This is the main view of the Canyon from the Waimea Canyon lookout. Look at the left side of the picture, you can spot the Wiamea River flowing. It has its origins in Mt. Waialeale, the wettest spot on Earth with an annual rainfall of about 450 inches.

At the end of the drive, we came upon this amazing lookout (Kalalau lookout) to catch the first glimpse of the Na Pali cliffs. The quiet surroundings, the neon blue waters and the majestic cliffs....We breathed in the place and craved for more. We continued on foot on the Pihea Trail.

A 1.5 mile hike took us to this other astounding view of the cliffs and the water. The clouds were right there...

Our snorkelling guide had insisted that our Kauai experience would be incomplete without the hike along the Kalalau trail from Kee' Beach. And after our first views of the Na Pali Coast from the Waimea Canyon, we definitely wanted to see more. So on the Tuesday, the day we were flying out, we decided to hike some more to view the cliffs.

We hiked almost 2 miles into the wilderness, it is a steep hike into the very rocky and rain-foresty terrain and we had to negotiate our way around rocks and small streams or waterfalls.

View of the Na Pali Coast about 1 mile into the hike....

View of the Kee' Beach from where we had started. As you can see, it is a very steep hike and quickly takes you to heights that provide wonderful vistas.

We came back tired, yet satisfied that we had ultimately done justice to our trip to Kauai.

Monday, July 11, 2005

The Kauai Hindu Monastery

July 4th, 2005

Right before we left for Kauai, I happened to run into Shaker who told me to check out the Kauai Hindu Monastery.

We went, more out of curiosity than interest - A Hindu monastery in the middle of nowhere. Our trip, though, was fully worth the effort. Set in some very lush greens, about 3 miles from the wettest spot on Earth, the tour of the monastery and its grounds was one of the highlights of our trip and here are some pictures from the same.

For more information on the monastery itself and "Hinduism Today" - the magazine published by the monks at this monastery you can visit:

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Kauai - The Garden Island June 29th to July 5th

June 30th

We travelled to Kauai, before Sunit finally leaves for his 2 year stint as an MBA student at Ann Arbor. Here are some pictures from the first day of our trip with more to follow later.

A white sand beach, Kealia Beach was just a few miles north of our hotel and the first one we visited when in Kauai.

Located on Kauai's northern end, Kilauea Lighthouse has the world's largest clamshell lens.

Anini beach is one of the most protected along the North Shore of the island. A fringed reef runs the entire length of beach. And it is here, that Sunit took his first dip into the ocean

Travelling back from our drive to the North end of the island, we came upon the Taro fields of Hanalei. These flooded taro fields, called kalo lo'i, are an ancient way of life in Hawaii.

Located off the north branch of the Wailua River, are the Opaekaa falls. An overlook provides an excellent viewing area from where we viewed the falls before finally heading back to our hotel for the evening.