Posts Tagged ‘Waimea Canyon’

Waimea Canyon

November 11, 2009

We took our new used car on Waimea Canyon road, a real test.  A perfect day, clear skies and 85 degrees, but as we climbed the mountains a very refreshing five degree drop in temperature for every thousand feet of elevation.  At the end of the road our elevation was 4176 feet! We surveyed the southern portion of the Na Pali Coast from the vantage point of the white-tailed tropicbirds that soared on the thermals and nested in the cliffs.  The view was spectacular!

We cautiously made our way back down the serpentine roadway with frequent stops along the way for canyon views and to cool our smoking brakes. A true test of the quality of our Acura, she held up well. Waimea Canyon is a dramatic site; I gasped at the sight of the plunging depths around every bend of the road.  This canyon is the largest in the Pacific, 10 miles long, 1 mile wide and more than 3,500 feet deep. No wonder it is called the Grand Canyon of the Pacific.

treacherous terrain

treacherous terrain

Carved over thousands of years by rivers and floods flowing from Mount Waialeale’s summit.  Mount Waialeale is the rainiest place on earth, so imagine that tremendous amount of water doing the carving.  The many layers and lines in the canyon walls evidence the centuries of volcanic eruptions and lava flows.  These volcanoes are long dormant, but they left a powerful mark on this Hawaiian landscape.

waimea color and texture

Waimea Canyon color and texture

Access to this Kaua’i adventure was absolutely free; just the cost of some gas ($3.62 per gallon) and some wear and tear on the transportation. Well worth it!
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Snorkeling with Honu and Spouting Horn

October 27, 2009

Such a busy day! Starting out in Poipu doing the snorkel thing we saw an incredible number and variety of fish. It’s amazing to just hover over the masses of colorful fish, bathed in the warm Pacific, sun streaming through the translucent green blue waves.

Today the ocean was filled with Hawaii’s green sea turtles, Honu (pronounced hoe-new), named for the color of their body fat, which is green from the algae they eat. Primarily herbivorous, they feed on the rich algae beds along the rocks in the surf, making easy viewing for the snorkeler. If budget allows, I’d love to have an underwater camera. When travelling on a shoestring one must make sacrifices. For now I’ll have to be satisfied with memories of their magnificence.

After our adventure in Poipu, we headed west to the Spouting Horn. Here, the ocean waves crash onto a volcanic shelf and spouting occurs as water rushes into a lava tube and bursts through a small opening at the surface.

There’s such an abundance to do here on Kaua’i for free. No charge for parking, beaches, or day use at county and state parks. All you need do is show up to take advantage of the wonder that is Kaua’i.

canyon

canyon

after chris' bath

Chris at sunset

$3 flowers from roadside honor market

$3 flowers from roadside honor market

crater remnants wiamea canyon

crater remnants at Waimea Canyon

kauai southern shore

Kaua'i's south shore

kauai surf nestled in the pines, south shore

nestled in the pines