Forged In Fire
Forged in fire and surrounded by water, the island of Kauai is a magical place. Called the “The Garden Isle ” the beauty, charm and island vibe are everywhere. I feel the Aloha spirit the minute I’m out of the airport. I’ve been to Oahu, Maui and Kauai and they all have spectacular vistas, island vibe, lush jungles, great beaches, sea life and the trade winds on offer. I’ve loved Hawaii since my first trip to the island state and if Maui was my first love, Kauai is my soul mate.
I feel especially at home on an island, surrounded by water. Hawaii, specifically Kauai, has a certain feeling of being at one with the elements and it speaks to my soul. One of the first things I noticed about Kauai, is water. If it’s not the ocean, it is rivers, streams, waterfalls and of course rain. My favorite time on Kauai is the morning. Kauai is for early risers, first almost always comes a rain shower, birds stir and then the day is greeted by Kauai’s built-in alarm clock, the roosters! With no natural predator, chickens run wild everywhere on Kauai and are a charming addition to the island’s spirit.
I always try to be up and out for the sunrise because sunrise on Kauai is spectacular. At first light, the rain clouds begin to break up and start moving across the sky to make way for the sun. All of a sudden, brilliant sunshine appears between the clouds, the clouds themselves are ringed with gold and the garden island lights up in Technicolor glory. Every shade of green imaginable is represented dotted with pops of color from a multitude of tropical plants and flowers. Almost no space is without colorful and fragrant foliage. Kauai has enormous and beautiful mountains visible from almost anywhere on the island and another favorite is to see all the waterfalls lit like diamonds in the sunshine at sunrise.
While there are no active volcanos on Kauai, evidence of the island’s fiery past is everywhere. Black lava rock is a stunning addition to the canvas, standing in contrast to white sand beaches, red clay dirt against an ever-green backdrop. I can’t exaggerate nature’s bounty of beauty and I during each day I spend long moments, significant amounts of time just looking at it. Sometimes I can capture it in a photo, however the experience is really a combination of senses. Smell, feeling, sight and sound that can not be captured, except within my heart and soul. It is a meditative kind of melding of nature’s soothing sprit with human spirit. It is at once both relaxing and invigorating.
Although there are many adventures to be had in Kauai, the island is not known for night life, glamour or fast paced adrenaline rides. The adventures on offer are deeply connected to the spirit of the island and the elements. They are in keeping with the feeling all around of careful stewardship of the environment and natural beauty. I am sure there must be a push-pull between full-time residents to protect the natural beauty and resources and the much-needed economic driver of tourism. A beautiful balance has been achieved. Horseback riding, ATV excursions and zipline adventures take place on interior ranches and seem to be well-managed, minimizing impact to the environment at the same time providing well needed additional income to the operations. Sea going adventures seem to work the same way. Space is always limited. As population centers and tourist attractions are sprinkled around different areas or regions of the island, car traffic can sometimes be a problem and has obvious impacts that can not be avoided completely.
As I sit here writing, I can almost feel the ocean spray combined with soft, small rain drops on my skin, Smell the Plumeria, see the beautiful blue-green waves crashing and hear the roosters. While we have experienced a few of the activities on Kauai, we mainly stay on the north shore, and spend most of our time at or near the ocean, feet on the sand. So many different beaches to watch waves break on black lava rock, surfers mastering double overhead waves, fishing off the pier and sun bathing in Hanalei Bay. Surrounded by lush tropical jungle, I truly disconnect and lose myself in ethos of the place. There aren’t many destinations I have visited where I feel so in tune with nature.
As much as I have experienced on Kauai thus far, I know I will return for adventure after adventure to recharge and connect with this magnificent place. As soon as I am home I am planning the next one. In the meantime, I light my island candles and re-visit memories through photos. Boy, there are a lot of photos. I’ve shared a few of my favorites here. Check back into the blog for more on Kauai, our north shore favorites, west island excursions and recommendations on how to do it all, on a serious budget. Do you have ideas, tips and hacks on traveling to Hawaii and Kauai? Leave them in the comments! I can not stay still, wanderlust is always calling. I love to explore, the trips are never fancy and the focus is on the experience. Super blessed and grateful, always. Mahalo!