Kauai ~ Day 5 ~ Na Pali Coast & Wedding Rehearsal Dinner

In CategoryFamily, Travels

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Na Pali Coast Hike

Today brought another stunning sunrise, which I unfortunately didn’t see in person, because I needed more sleep! The Na Pali coast hike in the northern part of the island, was on today’s agenda. We drove west through Hanalei and then on to Ke’e Beach, stopping along the way for both ocean and cave photos.

The hike began at Ke’e Beach Park, where a native ranger told us how very difficult this hike can be, and warned us of the many dangers. He said that recently it had rained 36 inches in a 24 hour period, which created a river that washed away the lifeguard post on the beach.   He also told us about a woman who recently lost her life on this hike when she attempted to cross the Hanakapi’ai river to get to the secret beach. Flash flooding is common and caused the river to swell. She slipped on the river rocks, hit her head, and was swiftly washed out to sea.

Oh great, I thought … way to scare the sh%# out of me before I start.   I  continued on anyway, since I had my trusty hiking poles with me, and knew that I had the stamina to do a 10 mile hike in the nearby mountains back home.

view of Ke'e beach from Na Pali coast hiking trail

The trail goes through lush river valleys and is considered to be very strenuous. It rises and falls hundreds of feet at a time repeatedly along the way, as it winds through dense jungles and follows the rugged coastline. The path itself is riddled with tree roots, mud, water, and slippery rocks, making the hike tricky in many parts. It is the stunning panoramic views and the hope to make it to the secret beach two miles ahead that kept me going. Unfortunately, today we forgot to bring along food of any kind, which we desperately needed by the time we were to return. Thank goodness we did have plenty of water to stay hydrated!

After nearly 2 hours of hiking, we came to the “killer river” which needed to be crossed in order to get to the secret sand Hanakapi’ai beach. This death marker was posted somewhere along the trail, which reminded us of the 82 people who had died attempting this hike and the dangerous waters awaiting.

So as soon as I forged the river and scrambled over a bunch of boulders, I wrote a message in the sand that said, “We made it!” The beach was magnificent beyond belief. The water was powerful as it crashed upon the silky sand. We decided that since we didn’t have any nourishment, it wouldn’t be wise to continue on another 2 miles ahead to a waterfall, plus I was exhausted.

Rehearsal Dinner ~ Westin

After the hike we rested up and relaxed with a swim and a hot tub. While getting ready for the rehearsal dinner, it started to rain which produced such a beautiful double rainbow arching over the ocean. I considered it to be a positive sign for Michael and Ally’s wedding.

a gift for Mike & Ally

my beautiful family

The rehearsal dinner was held at the resort at the main pool’s bar/restaurant area. We feasted on fish tacos, rice, pulled pork, fresh fruits and vegetables. It was a lively and festive event where the bride and groom-to-be wore pretty fresh leis.

Susan, Ally, David, Michael

The sweetest thing about this evening was when Ally gave Dave and me a card thanking us for raising such an amazing son, and Michael giving Ally’s parents a card from him thanking them for raising such an incredible daughter. Diane and Dustin were thrilled to receive a gift from them as expressed in the photo above.
After enjoying brownie cake pops for dessert (best I’ve ever had!), we headed out to the cliffs over the ocean to launch illuminated lanterns, while making a wish for the bride and groom. There was a little trouble keeping the lanterns lit due to some rain and wind. The colorful tissue paper lanterns would poof up as the heat from the flame at the bottom built up enough hot air, and then we would release it into the sky. It was magnificent to see these floating wonders of wishes float up and over the ocean.

colorful paper lanterns filled with wishes for Mike & Ally

Unfortunately a few of them crashed into the bushes on the cliff and were in perfect position to (maybe) start a fire. Matt risked his life to go out to the cliff’s edge and grab the balls of flames,  while security was shouting for him to come back immediately!  We had to stop the fun at that point, but by that time, there were many glorious lanterns set free into the inky sky, filled with hopes, wishes and dreams for my son and his soon-to-be bride.

Love ~ tomorrow’s the BIG DAY!

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