Sunday, December 25, 2011

Hanalei and Waimea Canyon

Merry Christmas!  Today, we started the day wandering around the resort on foot.  Our resort sits on the north side of the island, in the town of Princeville, where the waves are really rough.  Eddie spotted a couple of whales spouting, but we couldn't catch a glimpse of a whole whale.  There is no real beach access here at our resort, but the views are incredible, even if the cliffs are quite treacherous.

After breakfast, we took a driving tour of the island, from Ke'e Beach in the far northwest, all the way around clockwise on the island, to Waimea Canyon on the southwest.

At Ke'e Beach, you are in a tropical jungle with heavy canopy overhead, winding trails, waterfalls, and even a few caves.  Wonderful stuff!

We ate Christmas lunch at the Hanalei Cafe, where today they only served breakfast for lunch.  We had Eggs Benedict and bagels while listening to a guy play guitar and sing James Taylor and Eagles tunes.  (Very relaxing.)

After lunch, we drove past Lihue to Waimea.  As we passed the airport, and drove into the southern part of Kauai, the change in climate was remarkable.  The tropical lushness melted away and was replaced by arid scrubby mountains and dried grasses.  In ten minutes, we went from the Amazonian rainforest to the desert plains of Arizona.

Climbing quickly after reaching the town of Waimea, we crested at 3400 feet, where we reached the Waimea Canyon, and incredible site to behold.  I was very glad for the refreshments offered by a local merchant: fresh papaya, coconut, water, dried fruits and toasted coconut.

After the canyon, we headed back home for Christmas dinner, a roasted chicken, potatoes, stuffing, pies, and green beans that Nana prepared while we all toured the island.  What a wonderful Nana!

Here are the photos from the day.  I'm having fun making panoramas with some of these incredible views.  Be sure to click on the two below to see full size.  Both are taken near Hanalei.  The one shows the plain approaching the sea, while the other photo shows an agricultural valley looking into the interior of the island.  Both panoramas are composites of three photos each using my good camera.

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