Day 6: The End of the Road

In the morning, we snorkeled, swam, and boogie boarded. Ann spent practically the whole morning going down the water slide at the hotel pool. At least she was within sight of the ocean.

Two doors down the beach, there are two hotels which did not re-open after Iniki in '92., the Stouffer and some associated condos. They provide an eerie reminder of just how temporary our built environment is compared to the natural world. Behind the chain link fence, in one of the most beautiful locations in the world, are ranks of two- and three-story buildings, their first floors gutted by the high tides and winds of that 160 mph storm. We've noticed that many of the newer homes along the beach are built on stilts, or else have an expendable open-air garage as the first floor. Cody hopped the chain-link fence surrounding the ruins, and prowled through the rooms. He discovered an ice machine which still works, the hotel business license still up to date, and cushioned couches in the bar, with a soda machine (not functional). Most of the place was just empty, though, the swimming pools empty and full of leaves, palm fronds endlessly circling a rusted crater in the trade winds.

That afternoon, we went to the north side, the end of the road, where the land is lush and those who come to Kauai go to get lost. Princeville we breezed by; it's an upscale planned resort community with lots of hidden beaches and pristine golf paths. We slowed down for Hanalei, where the many streams filtering down from the cliffs reach the ocean underneath one lane bridges from the early years of the 20th century. We passed the wet and dry cave, and parked at the end of the road, Ke'e beach, where the trail to Kalalau begins.

Shaine found a tree in the jungle, and had to climb it. She forgot her "hiking shoes", though, so didn't make it as far as Cody on the trail. With his long legs, he got in two miles up and over several knife point cliffs, to the first wilderness beach, where he sat and contemplated life as an 18 year old for a while. The winds aim directly at these cliffs, and are split in two, gaining speed and force around both sides. This provides an interesting experience - forty mile an hour winds at your face and then your back, as you round the curves hundreds of feet above the rocky surf.

The little valleys between each cliff are narrow, shaded, and filled with jungle vines and desert plants,with views up to waterfalls, and down to the ocean.

We stayed in Hanalei for dinner, at Zelo's. From our table on the porch, we were treated to a brief shower, and the inevitable rainbow. This guy watched over us while we ate; Shaine enjoyed the food a bit too much, we thought.

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