kauai day 4: kauai coffee + waimea canyon

I started out this morning at 5am, unassisted by any alarm clocks.  It is nice to get up so early on your own and have a ton of extra time built in.  I had some Kona coffee (just can’t get enough!), and then went out for a 2 mile walk to try and scope out somewhere I could do a 4 mile run on Monday.  Our resort is right off a highway and has a short private drive, so I guess if worse comes to worst I can pretend I’m on a track and just do loops around the condo.  After I got back I had breakfast – some Chobani strawberry yogurt mixed with chia, granola and topped with a little Sweet Marie’s Morning Glory muffin with a half of a grilled Tropical muffin on the side with strawberry-guava jam.

We left the house and headed toward Waimea Canyon – the Grand Canyon of the Pacific.  On the way we stopped at Kauai Coffee Company for their short self-guided tour and coffee samples!  It was a gorgeous and sunny day with blue skies everywhere.

I had about three sample cups and my favorite was the Caramel Crunch Macadamia – and we bought a bag to brew in our condo ;).  I also really liked a banana flavored one that would have made awesome iced coffee.

The tour was 1/8 of a mile long, so just a short walk through some coffee plants.  It was really neat to see all of the coffee fruits/beans still on the plant!

After we got our coffee buzz on, it was time to go across the Hanapepe Swinging Bridge.  Dad made it quite scary by stepping unnecessarily large – I grabbed on to the railing at one point and still have a nice sliver of the bridge with me in my finger :/.

We kept driving down the highway toward Waimea Canyon and stopped for lunch at The Grove at the Waimea Plantation Cottages.  We shared pork nachos for an appetizer, and then I had the catch of the day which was Ono, grilled and topped with papaya aioli on a bed of cabbage with a side of steamed rice.  It was so good!  I even got a salad before it with delicious Papaya dressing.  And the entire catch of the day was only $15.95!

After our big lunch, we stopped across the street at Kauai Granola Sugar Cane Snax to see what they had.  I ended up walking out with Pina Colada granola, chocolate dipped  dried pineapple and a chocolate covered macaroon.  Even after all the lunch food I couldn’t stay away from the macaroon – it was SO good and I definitely need to find more of these before we leave and recreate it at home!  I couldn’t decide whether I liked the gooey inner section or the nice and crunch outer section the best…

The drive up the canyon was a bit scary.  We had to ascend 4500+ feet in elevation to reach the top.  The views were all breathtaking and I loved the red dirt color mixed with the greens from the trees.

At the top lookout there was a hiking pathway that went out for more views.  We put on our hiking*cough*running shoes on and started down the path.  We were the same height as the clouds!

There is absolutely nothing wrong with this picture.

And this is the point in the vacation where (gasp!) Kelsey does something stupid and her camera is out of commission.  After we were done hiking, we began the descent down that took like half the time… and got my stomach and head rolling!  I was happy to reach the bottom and it took awhile for my head to feel like it was sitting on straight again.  We headed to Salt Pond Beach to sit for awhile and for the parents to have some cocktails and I had grabbed my book, my beach towel and my camera to bring with me down near the ocean.  Well, somehow my camera got stuck in my hands and unbeknownst to be began continually turning itself on with its lens hitting my book/hand over and over again.  Needless to say, it had a lens error.  I have had enough cameras in my day to know this is common with point and shoots and normally you just have to turn them off and when they come to life again the lens resets itself and you’re back in operation.  Well, that was definitely not the case here!

The lens refused to go in and stayed out.  I tried taking the battery out, taking the memory card out, letting them both stay out for a long stretch of time and nothing worked.  My beach time was definitely not a happy time for me because I had somehow managed to break my camera that was only four days old.  Seriously, who does that?  Well, we watched the sunset and then headed back toward our condo to make dinner there.  On the way home we stopped at Walmart to get a few things, including some chocolate macadamia nut ice cream with dry roasted + salted macadamias for on top.

Dinner (somehow I managed to wait until after dinner for ice cream!) was a brown rice tortilla with hummus, a hard boiled egg, turkey and papaya seed dressing with carrots and a few rice chex on the side.  It was nice to have a simple dinner at the condo rather than a heavy meal!  Ice cream, of course, for dessert.  I had wild plans of making kahlua mudslides, but Walmart only had a big bottle of Kahlua for $20.  No thank you, I will just have to get one out this week!

And I have absolutely no clue how he did it, but my dad got my camera to at least function!  The lens was really stuck out, so he somehow twisted it back enough to get it to latch on to go in and out.  It definitely took a little bit, but it appears to be working and hopefully will last until the end of vacation!  It seems like there is some other issue with the camera however because the inner piece of the lens is dented.  Luckily, it’s still under warranty so it will be sent in to Canon when we return to get a fully functioning camera again.  But I cannot even express my joy in having my camera back, even if it is only temporarily!  I am absolutely loving how the pictures are turning out and can’t imagine not having it along for the rest of Hawaii, but I guess we will see how long it can last and how nicely I can treat it from now until then!

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kauai day 3: hanalai + a foodies paradise

After we got back home from the Sugar Mill Run, it was definitely time for breakfast! We got a box of gluten free Bisquick at the store. It didn’t have the healthiest of ingredients since it provided zero protein or fiber, so we also got some millet and buckwheat groats to throw in the batter. Sister had also brought some chia seeds along, so those three things combined with the Bisquick mix made a perfectly suitable breakfast!

Some of Sweet Marie’s granola might also have been put on the pancakes before they were flipped – I love granola in pancakes. If you’ve never tried it, you have to!

Served with Passion Fruit Coconut Syrup, some bacon and extra granola! I couldn’t even finish all of these because they were so filling – even though I wanted to because they were so good. We will definitely be making these again on the trip :).

After we were done with breakfast and were showered, we headed up north to Kilauea Beach lighthouse. You normally have to pay to get to the lookout and to see the lighthouse closer, but it was free today for Veterans Day – thanks Veterans!

The views were gorgeous.

 

After the lighthouse and more driving, we ended up near Lappert’s Ice Cream when we were starting to get hungry again.

I got a sundae with kona coffee + chocolate macadamia nut ice creams, banana, hot fudge, macadamia nuts, whip cream and a cherry. So good!

From the ice cream we headed to go work it off. Our destination? Driving all the way to the end of the road and then hike up the trail there. Don’t you just love Hawaiian directions? So descriptive… Well, we ended up going all the way to the end of the road and there was a busy beach and hiking trail calling our names! Mom had forgotten shoes for hiking so she stayed on the beach while Dad, Kinley and I went up and up and up. We were told it was 2 miles to some waterfalls… but the sign said 4 and we were definitely not prepared for an 8 mile hike that would take 3-4 hours, so we set off to the first and second lookout points listed on the sign – a Beach View and a Coast Viewpoint (.5 miles away).

The hike was quite treacherous. It was very steep, rocky, and slick in a few spots. Kinley and I wore our Five Fingers and they were just a hit on the trail haha – almost everyone we went by just had to comment and ask if they were good hiking shoes… and that was quite humorous since we so do NOT look like hikers, especially in our clothes for the day! The first lookout was a breathtaking view of the beach down below.

And the second was a double view – one side of the beach (although much higher up!), and the other side was the coastline. Everyone up there took turns taking pictures of each other so we got one of the three of us ;).

The hike probably took us 40ish minutes I would say, and it left us famished. We headed to a beach so the parents could have a quick cocktail (and apparently another huge hike since the beach we decided on had a huge trail to get to it) and then went back closer to our condo to to out for dinner at a place we had a coupon for in our resort welcome packet, Lemongrass Grill Seafood Bar. I started the meal with a cocktail – one with Malibu coconut rum, guava, passionfruit and one other juice blended with ice and topped with Bacardi 151. Probably one of the best drinks I’ve ever had.

For dinner Kinley and I (thank goodness) both got the Guava BBQ Ribs. We asked if it was gluten free and the waitress checked on the sauce, and said it was as long as we got it on a bed of rice rather than their potatoes. That was perfectly fine for both of us! They were the absolute best, fall of the rib ribs I’ve ever had and the BBQ sauce was spectacular. The jasmine rice might have even been the best rice I’ve had. And there was even broccoli slaw. We might have to go back to this restaurant to eat this meal again, because I seriously cannot think of a better meal that I have ever had – and it was so easily made gluten free!

After we got home from the best dinner ever, it was definitely time for the hot tub again. My body was sore from the 10k, hike, beach hike, and all the other random walks and strolls throughout the day. Good thing we won’t have to get up quite so early tomorrow morning!

thoughts for fall

As I was leaving work today I had the strangest feeling.  It was cold, rainy, and darker than I like to see the sky at 4:30pm, and I was envisioning being at home, wearing my flannel pajamas, a sweatshirt, and my new favorite slippers.  That’s not the weird part since I am currently sitting at home in those three items, however I got the feeling that I really did not want to do homework tonight.  Wait, what?!  I don’t have to do homework anymore.

Just one year ago I was in the midst of my busiest semester.  20 credits of both bachelor and master level classes.  Needless to day, my nights were devoted to night class or doing homework for all of my classes… each and every night.  My days were split between 20 hours of work per week, 8 hours of driving to and from work, as well as my regular class load.  Doing homework was a normalcy for me.  Not just in college but all through high school I would get assigned homework that would be due the next day.

It still catches me off guard every once in awhile when I think that I do not have any homework I have to do at night.  Could I do work if I wanted to?  Well, of course.  I could bring work home from work but I like to keep work at work.  It’s just strange that so many of my nights have been devoted to something that (if I play my cards right) I will never have to do again.

Did I mention that one of the 20 credits I took last year was a Hiking class?  I came across the pictures today and it brought my thoughts back to school again!  It is so incredibly nice to come home and just be done.  No homework.  No classes.  No tests.  And hey, if I want to take a vacation I get to.  And get paid for it.  Although that also made me realize that in one month I will be on my way home from Hawaii – time is already going too fast!!!