|Opaekaa Falls Kauai|
Photo credit: Hannah S.
|Polihale Beach, Kauai|
|I'm so bummed i don't have more pictures of my mom on the island!|
|Have i mentioned i love this boy?|
The forecast included rain for most of their stay. I worried after the all the expense and the long flight, we'd wind up with a slew of dreary days, hard-pressed to find anything more awe-inspiring than shopping to keep ourselves occupied. (Of course, i might be the only one of us that hates shopping, but nonetheless, it isn't how anyone hopes to spend their tropical vacation. Or maybe some do?! Gah well, i can't entertain that thought much longer- wuf. Hurl. Gag me with a shopping mall.)
On our drive to the south side (immediately following our minor Christmas Miracle), the rain came down in torrents. We could've measured the flow in cubic feet per second; there was surging, undulating current, i swear. It was impressive. I had flashbacks of 2006 when Kauai was inundated with 40 days and 40 nights of straight rain, rain, rain. It was biblical. A whole week of grey skies is totally feasible on "The Garden Island".
Despite the not-so-auspicious douching upon arrival, however, we totally lucked out. Somehow all our drizzley mornings morphed into bluebird, kick-ass, tropical days. (Of course, i must say, it helps to have a top-notch tour guide who knows where to find the sun!) We spent our first day at Polihale, a 17-mile-long stretch of silky white sand beach. It's at the very end of a jarring dirt road- as far as you can drive on Kauai's Northwest side. We learned it had rained all day just about everywhere else on island while we basically sun baked and ray-worshiped our vibrant-white aspects off.
We devoted the next few days to pursuing the sunniest beaches on the island and were rewarded handsomely for our efforts in golden mother lodes of sunshine.
|At the price of looking like a dork in comparison, i'd squeeze between these faces any day!|
|Ever-present, yet ethereal mists of Kōkeʻe State Park|
|I never knew this shade of blue existed in the swamp before that day|
|Gosh, i guess i was sort of dainty for a change.|
We were so insanely spoiled rotten, we even got sun on our hike into the Alaka'i Swamp which sits just adjacent to Mt. Wai'ale'ale, one of the wettest spots on earth. I'd made the hike somewhere near a dozen other times and only seen the view twice. (Really more like 1.2 times because once we saw it for a whole 30 seconds before a curtain of clouds dropped down and socked it all in.)
The trail is infamous Kauai red dirt/clay for about half of the way. It was about as mucky as i'd seen it. Some portions are a literal slog. Fortunately, an incredible extent of it is actually a wooden-planked boardwalk; a mind-boggling feat (pun! <groan> sorry) given it's length and the extreme location.
We all got muddy. It was a great success. They were awesome sports. The whole week. I even took them outrigger canoe paddling (you can check out a video from one of my previous posts). The conditions were tough for learning- it was windy and choppy. I failed to prepare poor Jofus who thought we were just going merrily-merrily, la-la-la canoe paddling. Little did he know my former paddling coach would be running the practice and whipping him into proper fo'reals kine timing and mechanics.
I couldn't have been more proud of the three of them when they piled out of the boat with smiles on their faces after an hour of grueling wind and a fairly brutal bombardment of instructions and commands. My coach could be described as gruff, but she's bomb-diggity and i love her to death. It was so awesome to give them a genuine taste of the sport i loved so much in high school. I was floored to learn afterwards that they loved it. My family is bad-O's yalls.
Every day was packed-full and magical. We visited the Hindu Monastary (where i used to play hookie in high school), went on a Christmas Eve sailboat ride and watched the largest mammals on earth propel themselves out of the water about six feet and belly flop most magnificently time and time again. (I've seen whales playing, but this pod was breaching like it was going out of style.) We went to my favorite sushi restaurant and our waiter recognized me from half a decade ago- we ate the best sushi on the planet for less than it cost us to buy taco fixings at the grocery store the night before. We got hooked up.
My dad was re-modeling his kitchen so we hosted a dinner in our hotel kitchenette. Close quarters, yet again and WWIII did not commence. We laughed. My siblings got to know the infamous man of mystery and the not-so-evil step-mother who mean so much to me. They were low-key and easy-going moments that i'll always cherish. Natural yet momentous.
The day my mom, brother and sister left was rainy. They had to check out of the hotel early so they took my dad up on his invitation to hang out at the house til their flight. I certainly never pictured the lot of us just kicking it in that living room together like it was how it's always been.
My step-mom's been making jewelry so my sexist ass suggested Hannah go scope out her handiwork. Joe immediately expressed his interest and joined them. (See how this kid melts my heart the way he does?) So enthusiastic were the both of them, before i knew it, my step-mom had them soldering, hammering and polishing bangles of their own.
I regret not getting a picture of Jofus, but Hannah's excitement pretty much sums it up for the both of them.
Santa woulda had a fuckin' coronary trying to haul the colossal, towering crag of blessings heaped on me and my family this Christmas. Had Dasher and company been charged with the task of towing that load, they would've shit themselves so badly, all but two would be blinded, and Santa would need a fresh suit and a shower.
It was amazing, i tell you.
Ha, i still have more i want to say about this trip, but it's looking like it might take me til next Christmas to post it. God-willing and the water don't rise i'll get it out eventually. Bye-bye for now. Peace and love to you all and as always, thanks a bajillion for reading.