Monday, March 7, 2016

Walking Picture Tour

Tammy and I invested in a trip to one of our favorite places (Kauai) to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary.  The trip was a great time for us to just spend time together and put aside the daily worries and concerns that sometimes prevent us from appreciating our life as partners.

While this is not necessarily a "farm thing," it does have something to do with the farmers.  We've been farming now for enough years that everything we do is still tinged a bit with the farm.  We hope that everyone who reads this blog and looks at the pictures will enjoy them and take them in the spirit the sharing is intended.

Wailua Falls
Tammy and I tend to avoid "touristy" things most of the time, though we do recognize that the definition for touristy is changing since the internet gives all of us more resources to hunt for and locate less common locations.  Wailua Falls, assuming you take the back road that ends in a small parking area, kind of fits into the touristy side of things.  People drive their rental cars up to the lookout, stand behind a railing, take a few pictures and then drive back down the road.  The falls are beautiful of course, but getting a really good shot from the standard viewpoint is pretty difficult.

The two of us enjoyed the drive up as much as anything because it goes through some rural/ag area.  We made sure to stop at a local stand and purchase our first Kauai fruit of the trip.  We had a swallowtail butterfly decide we were pretty cool, but we couldn't get it to slow down enough to take a photo of it.

We really took the road up on a whim more than anything and we made sure to stay and enjoy the falls for longer than most people allow themselves to do.  We're always a little shocked how people will get out of their cars, stand for two minutes, take a few pictures and then climb back into their cars.  It's almost as if a large portion of the visitors think it is a huge treasure hunt - but they forget to appreciate the treasure while they're there.

As we watched the falls (and the butterfly), we noticed our blood pressure dropping and we started talking about things other than the farm and school.  A good part of the reason for going in the first place.

Pu'u Hinahina Lookout of the Waimea Canyon
Our first day was spent locating a farmers market and acquiring supplies for our stay in Koke'e State Park.  Our goal was to get to the cabin before dark since the drive is a typical windy road up a mountain.  Since Waimea Canyon is probably our favorite spot on the island, we couldn't help but stop and take a peak at the Pu'u Hinahina lookout.  The sun was starting to go down and we wanted to see how it highlighted the East canyon walls.

The picture above is a familiar one to us.  The last time we were in Kauai, we took a hike to Waipo'o Falls that was a bit on the 'scary' side (the link takes you to our adventure a few years ago, it's a fun read).  We realized this time that we could actually use the long lens and record some of the view we had at Waipo'o from this lookout.  We're both captivated by the arch in this picture.  No reason why.

We spent the first part of the trip in a cabin up in Koke'e State Park.  The cabin is on the rustic side, which is fine for us.  Temps got down into the 40's a couple of nights, which maybe was a bit less fine, but we dealt with it ok.  The real advantage was the proximity to some of our favorite views and some of the trails we wanted to take.

Waimea Canyon Lookout
The main lookout for Waimea Canyon is heavily trafficked by tourists, so we made sure to get up and get there before larger numbers of people would arrive.  The shadows really displayed the texture of the canyon.  If it weren't for a little bit of overcast, these pictures would be outstanding.  But, we'll settle for just pretty good.  We ended up viewing the canyon several times while we were up on the mountain, so we could catch it with sun at different angles, or with clouds.  Let me correct what I said earlier about Waimea Canyon.  It isn't just one of our favorite spots on the island, it is one of our favorite places in the world.

Waipo'o Falls
The Waipo'o Falls are about 800 feet tall and can often be overlooked by persons who only go to the main overlook.  There are a couple of pull-outs further up the road that give a better view.  If you look at the picture above, you CAN see the falls.  It did amuse us to hear people as they tried to figure out if they were seeing a waterfall or not.
We did take the hike to Waipo'o again during this visit.  If you look at the rounded rock to the left and up from the falls, you can see where we hiked to get there.  In fact, we encourage you again to take this link to the story about our hike a few years ago.  Check out the falls in that picture there - there was MUCH MORE water in it this time around.

We've got ALOT of pictures of the falls now and we just need to figure out which ones are keepers.

Pu'u O Kilo Lookout of the Kalalau Valley in Koke'e Park
We also thoroughly enjoy looking into the Kalalau Valley from the two overlooks.  Once again, by staying in the park for a while, we could pick and choose times and be patient as the weather changed.  It's Late Winter/Early Spring on the island and clouds/rain were to be expected.  We managed to get a nice sunny morning and caught some cool shadows from the Pu'u O Kilo lookout.  Since we had a different trail in mind this time, we decided not to walk the Pihea Trail, which starts at this lookout.

While it is nice to get a big picture of the entire scene, I've been enjoying trying to locate a subsection of the whole picture and try to capture the texture and color.  Both Tammy and I thought the one above turned out well.

The other thing you need to know about Kauai is this: The colors are brilliant.  These photos were not taken with a filter, nor have they been "photoshopped."   If anything, they may not quite have captured how electric the colors were at times.

Nu'ololo Trail in Koke'e
This trail was a very good challenge for us.  It had rained, so there was mud and Tammy took a bit of a slide early on.  No harm, no foul - just red dirt on the pants.  This trail goes up a few hundred feet right away, so we got our cardio workout.  Then, we went down 1400-1500 feet in altitude for the rest of the hike.  Which means - yes - we had to go back up on the return.  We REALLY felt this hike afterward.

Sadly, this is what we got when we reached the overlook portion of the hike.  We certainly do not regret taking the hike at all, it's just too bad we didn't get the end of trail reward that we'd read about.  We may have to go back and try it again? 

Kalalau Overlook on a cloudy day
It would be easy to let yourself be disappointed if you go to some of these places hoping to see the beautiful views and you find clouds.  But, in our case, it simply allowed us to see the beauty of these places in different clothing.  This was part of the advantage of staying in the park, we could experience the area more fully.

The picture above is probably one of our favorites for the trip.  We caught sun, color and clouds all in one try.

And, if you scroll up to the sunny day picture from Pu'u O Kila, you can see what this ridge looks like in the sun.  We both like this one because I was able to catch the clouds framing the ridge.  The trees give the whole things some balance and perspective that I like.  We were able to stay up there and watch the clouds move off (most of the way) and then come back in. If you would like to see what this area looks like in a brilliantly sunny day, a picture from our previous trip opens up this post.

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