Thursday, December 29, 2011

On Location: Kauai's Waimea Canyon & Barking Sands Beach

The two hour time difference hasn't set in yet so we've been waking up quite early each morning. We decided to take advantage of the early morning hour by driving to the other side of the island on Monday.
The North shore of Kauai is wet, lush and resembling a rainforest environment while the South and West end of the island is very dry and desert like. In fact, Waimea Canyon resembles Arizona's Grand Canyon but is distinctly Hawaiian.
We drove the entire 18 mile access road along the canyon's edge to arrive at Kalalau lookout. From there we hiked yet another muddy, precarious trail out to the Pihea vista.
This is one of the more beautiful, magical trails we've encountered. Yeah, yeah, I was waxing lyrical about the last hike as well but seriously, folks, this one feels as if you are at the edge of the world. Over 4200 feet above sea level with no guardrails, this one is not for those who fear heights but since the trail itself is mostly flat, the Pihea trail is a more multi-level hike.
Upon finishing, we drove into the town of Waimea where my father had insisted we try the poke at the local Japanese market. Poke is ahi sashimi chopped into 1/2" cubes and lightly marinated in sea salt, soy sauce, sesame oil and scallions. Often it is mixed with sushi rice and garden greens to create a poke bowl, one powerhouse of a meal. On the mainland it is one of my most favorite dishes but on this island, it is truly beyond words. Fish has never tasted so good!
This market had an impressive array of different poke, from ginger to red chile pepper and even tako (octopus) poke. We got 2 lb. between the two of us and headed out to Barking Sands beach. 
This is the western most beach on Kauai and at over 12 miles long it is also Hawaii's biggest beach. After finishing every last bite of our poke and rice, we dove into the ocean together. All in all, it was a simply perfect day.
The sun began its descent as we dried off and took it all in. DH and I began waxing lyrical about our adventures together and I mentioned our misadventures too. "Things don't always go our way but it never feels impossible with you" I said, explaining what I meant by misadventure. And that's when he popped the question. "How 'bout joining me for one more misadventure?"
I said yes.

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