It was one of those bucket list trips, a week in Hawaii. Something my wife, Mary, had dreamed of her entire life. It was great…for four days. On Day 4 I came down with the flu.
Even so, we packed a lot of fun and exploring into the first few days. We arrived late Thursday night, and drove our rental car to our headquarters, the Marriott Courtyard at Coconut Beach on Kauai, known as Hawaii’s Garden Island.
We slept off the jetlag and started our venturing out on Friday morning. Our destination was Kauai’s spectacular North Shore. We drove the narrow two-lane road north from the hotel, and found beautiful vistas at every turn. The mountains on our left, the shore on our right.
Our first stop was probably the most beautiful view on the entire island, overlooking the lighthouse at Kilauea Point. The 105-year-old light is located in a National Wildlife Refuge that protects everything from Red Footed Booby birds to humpback whales. The view out to the point from an overlook, with waves crashing on the rocks below, was breathtaking.
From there we headed west, crossing one-lane bridges, where local custom is to allow seven cars to pass before you pull out to cross. We followed the road to the dead end at Ke’e Beach, where we stopped to take some pictures and soak in the beauty of the environment.
Saturday was hike day. We hooked up with the local Sierra Club to hike the four-mile Kuilau Ridge Trail.
We set off with the skies threatening to open up at anytime, and they finally did. It was never more than a drizzle and you could look out across the valley in the mist, in awe of the breathtaking tropical view. My hiking boots still have Hawaiian mud on them that will probably never come off. Our thanks to the Sierra Club, and trip leader Vivian Hager, for showing us the lush and wild side of Kauai.
Sunday we explored the Waimea Canyon, known as the Grand Canyon of the Pacific.
It’s a long drive on the narrow perimeter road from the hotel but the views were worth it. The canyon road rises from the beach into the mountains that peak upwards of five thousand feet. There are hiking trails at many of the pull offs along the way.
At the far end of the road, it dead ends at a scenic overlook with a view down into a valley of the wild and undeveloped Napali Coast. If you saw the George Clooney movie “The Decendants”, you saw this view. Amazing.
Sunday night was native food and entertainment at the Marriott luau, complete with Hawaiian dancers, stories of local history, a pork buffet, including poi. Must be an acquired taste. Mary went native with her freshly strung lei.
Monday was a trip to the emergency room with a 102-degree fever and a chest-wracking cough. The diagnosis, “Flu A”. The doctor’s orders: codeine cough syrup, Tylenol, lots of fluids and plenty of rest. The fun part of our trip was pretty much over.
Mary nursed me through the next day and by Wednesday the worst had passed, the fever broke and the cough subsided. We managed to get out and do a little shopping in Kapa’a, and even had a nice dinner out.
All in all we got a lot in. Because of the flu we missed a sunset catamaran cruise and a chance to kayak to the Opaeka’a waterfalls on the Wailua River. I promised Mary we would make up those on our next trip. This is definitely a place you want to go back to.