My Aunt Jo started an annual Lyons family reunion at a cabin in Koke'e State Park about 5 years ago. However, this was the first time Rowshan and I were able to go.
We drove up with mom to Jo and Pairu's house. On the way we stopped by the 'Opaeka'a Falls. There were chickens everywhere. Kauai has an abundant population of feral chickens. Some people say it happened after the hurricane but mom thinks it happened earlier. I don't remember all the chickens from the last time I was in Kauai. Of course, I didn't see much besides the TV and the inside of a hospital room. Lots of people feed the chickens so they are shameless beggars. The falls were pretty but didn't have a lot of water.
Chickens at waterfall
Chickens are taking over Kauai
At the house, my Uncle Pairu showed us his latest projects: beautifully carved Tahitian drums and ukelele. See Tikiri Polynesian Instruments
for pictures. Then we had an impromptu drumming lesson before we had to run.
Rowshan and I headed up the coast to Hanalei. The beach at Hanalaei was recently crowned the most beautiful in the US. I mainly like the name and how Puff the Magic dragon used to live there. (Puff the magic dragon, lived by the sea, and frolicked in the autumn mist in a land called Hanalei.) The weather was gray and rainy as we drove up the coast, stopping now and then to look ath the wavesl rolling onto the beach. We had some great coffee and carrot cake at Java Kai which is in a cluster of shops which makes up the town. Although the shops are a bit touristy, it is refreshing to see that most are independant.
Brazilian cardinal wants cake
The beach was pretty but not stunning, especially since there were houses on it. Maybe when it is clear and the mountains are visible it is more impressive. As it was, it started to rain so we retreated back to the car.
The Hanalei viewpoint overlooks a serene valley of taro fields with a river wandering through. We got a vague view somewhat hidden by mist.
View from Hanalei viewpoint
We didn't have much time but we wanted to stop at the Kilauaea Point National Wildlife Refuge near the Kilauea Lighthouse. There we looked out over sharp cliffs and a pine-clad hill where the trees were decorated with nesting white red footed boobies. Near the turn off from the main road was an old lava church.
We picked up my cousin, Jeff at the airport and then headed to the Koke'e state Park. The turnoff to the park is in the town of Waimea which was full of trees with bright yellow flowers (golden shower trees), startling against the late afternoon blue of the sky.
Golden shower trees
The road to Koke'e (when we found it) rose up and followed alng the edge of the Waimea canyon-- known as the "Grand Canyon of the Pacific." The surroundings were beautiful. The canyon seems to rip the island in half, perhaps one day Kauai will be two islands. Stretching off into the distance are rich red carved cliffs dotted with lush green trees. The afternoon/dusk sun cast the interior of the valley into shadow but we did see a little owl. From the road we could see the tiny island of Nihue just North of Kauai. Jo later told us it is the only place in Hawaii where there are communities that speak Hawaiian daily-- only perhaps 300 or so people, most of whom are elderly. The young marry and settle on the other islands.
On the edge of the canyon at sunset