Freed Up Girl

Kauai-Tunnels Beach

Friday, June 24, 2016

We finally made it Tunnels Beach on one of our last days on the island. I'm so glad we decided to give it another try because it was, by far, our favorite beach on the entire island. The beach did get crowded but we were able to find ourselves a nice spot under a tree that shielded us from the rain. Parking is limited. We ended up parking at Haena State Beach Park and walked about 5 minutes to Tunnels. Bring your snorkel gear because there are some great reefs and we saw more fish here than we did on our paid snorkeling excursion. A must see when on Kauai!

Kauai- Waimea Canyon

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Getting lost was becoming the theme of our trip. We woke up early to
hike the Napali Coastline. Instead, we found ourselves on the opposite side of the island and stumbled upon the magnificent Waimea Canyon (aka the Grand Canyon of the Pacific).

This, my friends, is Kauai. No matter where you drive you are constantly slamming on the breaks to appreciate the stunning views. This small island offers a true feast for your eyes. 

We stopped at a small lodge that served up a hearty breakfast before our hike. Yes, at this point we were still thinking we were heading in the right direction. The workers (at the lodge) eased our worries and advised that it would be about 5 miles north to our destination. 

Once we arrived we realized that we were at the wrong trail... on the opposite side of the island. We decided to hike a short distance on our newly discovered trail (Swamp Trail). 

The views were masked by thick cloud cover. 

The clouds would break every so often and give you a sneak peak of what you had been missing. If you blinked, you would miss it. 

Having had our fill we decided to head back to the hotel. That is, until Jer, had the brilliant idea of hiking the Canyon Trail for a better view of the canyon.

It was a hike. I was hot, sweaty, and a bit terrified. In my old age I have become scared of heights. Like, really scared of heights. My heart starts beating really fast, my hands start sweating, and I think I may faint. Jer would test my limits (and patience) by leaning off the edge and I would scream bloody murder. He thought it was hilarious. Me, not so much.

If you are not into hiking, the views from the road are just as dramatic. You can save your energy and time. 

Once you come back down the Waimea Canyon Road to head back to Poipu, you will run into the Shrimp Station. Stop and eat. Banging shrimp.

We got the Cajun Shrimp and it was finger licking good. Even the fluffy rice was on point. 

After your done consuming your banging shrimp, turn right and head to Jo Jo's Shave Ice. This will turn non-shave ice lovers into believers. We got the Rainbow with macadamia nut ice cream at the bottom. Since we were sharing, I tried to distract the hubs with other things as I quickly sneaked extra spoonfuls.  

We headed back to the resort to rest our sore muscles by the pool. 

June- Book Recommendations

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

There is nothing I enjoy more than lounging by the pool with a cold beverage and a good book. My summer reading list is growing rapidly. I thought I would share a few that I just finished. 

The Glass Castle- By Jeannette Walls
A memoir of the authors poverty-stricken upbringing. I was engrossed in the stories of this dysfunctional family. The parents wanted to live a life of adventure and lacked ambition. They had the means, the intellect, and the physicality to change their somber situation. Instead, they chose alcohol and a stubborn will not to conform to society. The children in turn learned to be resilient, independent, and financially aware through the hardships they endured at the hands of their parents. It is a quick read and I highly recommend.   

All The Light We Cannot See- By Anthony Doerr
Surprise, Surprise...another WWII novel. They seem to overflow my bookshelf. This one ranks high on my list. A blind French girl who flees to Saint Malo with her father in war torn France. A young German boy who is fascinated with building and fixing radios and is recruited to join Hitler's Youth. Their stories intersect as they both grow into young adults and endure extreme hardships caused by events of the war. 

When Breath Becomes Air- By Paul Kalanithi
 "Knowing that even if I'm dying, until I actually die, I am still living." 
I put off reading this book for some time. I read a few pages of the Prologue and kept putting it down and moving onto something else; less heartbreaking. I'm so glad I sat down (late at night) and read it cover to cover. By 1am, I closed it up with tears running down my face. Dr. Paul Kalanithi was training as a neurosurgeon when he was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer. He questions the meaning of life when the certainty of death lingers close in the shadows. He had a very matter of fact approach to his writing and in no way was it self-pitying. Was it depressing? Yes. Was it uplifting? Yes. Was it worth the read? Yes. 

What are you reading? Have any good book recommendations?  

Kauai-What Dreams Are Made Of

Monday, May 30, 2016

"The earth has music for those that listen" - William Shakespeare

I don't know what it is about being on vacation but I am always up at the crack of dawn while the hubs lies peacefully beside me in a deep sleep. I sit and wait until he awakes with a little help from the noise I so desperately try not to make (sarcasm) and say "Good Morning" with a devilish smile. 

Our plan for the day was to head to the North Shore of the island to check out one of the best beaches for snorkeling...Tunnels Beach. We set our GPS and set off for the 1 hour drive to our destination.    

You have arrived at your destination. We hopped out of the Jeep and unloaded all of our stuff and found the perfect lounge spot under the palms. Jer dug himself a nice lounge chair in the sand, popped open a beverage, and took in the beautiful scenery. 

The rugged mountain backdrop and the crashing waves in front of us made for one very happy girl. We found ourselves making multiple trips up north during our stay. 

We raced to the ocean to check out the reefs. We were a bit skeptical because there was noone on the beach or in the water. 

Not finding much of anything we decided to ask a man walking his dog if we were at the right location and he politely responded that Tunnels was about 5 miles away. Thank you, GPS.

Not wanting to leave our cozy spot we stayed for the remainder of the day. 

My three dollar souvenir came in quite handy. I bought it because the resort was charging six dollars a day to rent them. Um, no. It has now found a forever home in my pool.

We built up quite an appetite and decided to pack it in and head to Hanelei for a quick bite before heading back to our resort.

We took a small detour and admired the scenic view points from the road. I mean, I could spend all day just staring at this view. 

It came as no surprise to me that Jurassic Park was filmed on this island because I kept imagining Pterodactyls swooping down from behind the mountains. This is a place where your imagination runs wild. A place where even in your most vivid dreams you could not come up with a more magical and surreal land. This is a place that takes your breath away.  

This is also a place where roosters and chickens run freely and they outnumber the human population on the island. (I really don't know if that is a true fact but it seems about right and I am too lazy to look it up. If you find out leave it in the comments below.)

We arrived to the town of Hanalei right when the clouds started to roll in and the raindrops were coming down.  We tucked into small boutique shops and made our way to dinner at a small cafe

I would love to come back to Kauai and rent a house near Hanalei. This was one of my favorite areas on the whole island. A perfect day indeed.