13 June 2014

Kauai, Hawaii

We were so taken with Maui when we visited that we decided to take our last vacation as a family of three to another Hawaiian island: Kauai. In hind sight, Maui is more approachable (at least as far as beaches are concerned) for young kids, but Kauai has a lot to offer as well and provided us with a terrific vacation.

What is a visit to Kauai without roosters? When Madeleine spotted one, we'd typically hear the following: "Ooooh, rooster! I chase it! I kiss it! I cuddle it!"

We had a lot of rain the first day on Kauai, so when the clouds parted, we took advantage of swollen rivers and visited Opaeka'a Falls and Wailua Falls, which both appeared to be running particularly high. 

Another day, we were pleasantly surprised by the beauty, scale, and magnificence of the Waimea Canyon, known as the Grand Canyon of the Pacific. It is truly immense and very impressive...and has inspired us to consider attempting the real Grand Canyon again after it didn't quite work out last time

Madeleine was less taken with the scenery and very keen on watching the nearby mountain goats scramble along the cliff.

From the canyon viewpoint, we continued as far as the road would take us in order to catch a glimpse at the Na Pali coast, specifically the Kalalau Valley. It was every bit as beautiful as we were told, and I imagine our family returning with older children who can do a bit of hiking and/or cope with a few hours on a boat so that we can see more of it. 

Another day, we headed to the Kilohana Plantation to take Madeleine on their 40-minute train ride. I admit that I was skeptical about her ability to sit for that long, but it was the perfect length for her toddler attention span. The train traveled through the property's orchards, forest, and pastures. About halfway through, it stopped for everyone to get out and feed sheep, pigs, chickens (of course!), and goats. Madeleine thought the train was spectacular and had no hesitation in feeding the sheep straight from her hand. Why would she? She had already declared, "ohh, sheep! I kiss it!"

Another day, we headed north to check out the Kilauea Lighthouse, which happens to be near an island that is a bird sanctuary. While George enjoyed chasing birds with the camera and long lens, Madeleine wanted to spend her day knocking on the front door of the lighthouse. When I thought she'd done enough photobombing, we moved to the side, where Miss M discovered a little platform where she and another toddler spent a half hour taking turns jumping. 

Frigate and Red Footed Boobie

With a sleeping Madeleine, George and I drove the northern coast of the island until it ended at Ke'e Beach, but we didn't stop for any longer than it took to take a mental picture so as not to wake our exhausted kiddo. On the way back, we did stop at Hanalei and then at the lookout over Hanalei Valley.

All-in-all, we didn't get as much beach time as we would have liked due in part to rain and in part to less than child-friendly beaches. We did enjoy Lydgate Beach Park, which is widely regarded as the place to take kids to swim. Madeleine liked the water but was even more taken with sand this trip than our last - fortunately for playing rather than eating. She took her shovel work quite seriously! 

Even though we couldn't spend a lot of time in the ocean, we did take full advantage of the condo complex's pool, including the water slide. Madeleine would have ridden it from sun up to sun down if we would have let her. 

Madeleine was also a big fan of the Sunday and Thursday morning koi feedings at the complex's koi pond. "I feed fishies! Yum!" 

However, even with all that excitement, her favorite part of the complex was probably the "elegator" where she got to push the button. 

There were times when our little girl made it clear that our plans were cramping her style. 

There were other times when she found her own way to entertain herself while we were being boring adults. 

As a whole, I am grateful to have gotten to spend some dedicated time together as a family of three and, even though each one is another sign that our baby is growing into a little girl, it was fun to see Madeleine reach a few more milestones during our trip. Mahalo for the memories, Hawaii! 


aaron and misha said...

Looks like you had an awesome time! It is a bummer about the weather though. Kauai is known for a bit more rainfall than the other islands but less development! So crazy that you won't be a family of three for very much longer!

Janie said...

I just loved reading about M's discoveries...the rooster, the goats, the poi...you name it. Fun galore!