Friday, April 20, 2012

Na Pali Coast

I am not a huge fan of hyperbole, but sometimes it just works. To say that the Na Pali coast is one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen is very accurate. I have never seen a coast so beautiful and while I enjoy the mountain scenery in Colorado it doesn't compare to this place. We took a three-hour cruise along the coast one afternoon and it was the best use of our time while on Kauai. The Nikon's shutter got a great workout. The drinks were flowing and the company was excellent. I was so happy that I think I was walking around the boat with a permanent smile. I am sure I looked very stupid. The Na Pali coast alone is worth going to Kauai, which has much more than this, but this very well could have been the highlight of the whole week for me. I can tell you it wasn't the most memorable moment. That came later in the week when I didn't really expect it and hopefully I can sit down and actually write well to tell that story. Obviously, that time is not now, but enjoy the pictures.

This picture was taken shortly after we left Port Allen, from where most Na Pali cruises leave.

Well into our cruise, I spotted this solo kayaker with a fishing rod and an umbrella for a sail. One would not want to kayak the Na Pali solo if one wasn't extremely familiar with the coast and currents. This guy struck me as a local.

The Na Pali shoots out of the water and the green on its cliffs is brilliant.

There are a series of small beaches, most of them accessible from the Kalalau trail, an 11-mile (one way) trail that you need a permit to hike. We only hiked the first two miles, but we both said we would love to go back and do the entire thing. 

The Na Pali coast has been featured in the Pirates of the Caribbean series. The most famous valley along the coast was featured in Jurassic Park as the helicopter first approaches the island.

The most impressive section of the Na Pali coast. The thinness of these mountains seemed impossible. 

Oh yeah, the boat we were on had 900hp, so when the captain wanted to go somewhere quickly the ocean flew everywhere and filled some pictures with a cool spray.

The mountains here reach heights of 4000+ feet. 

In some spots, the captain was able to take the catamaran in very close to the rocks, even under them in two locations. 

Another crazy formation, which has had to appear in several movies. Just a guess.

An awesome picture of my beautiful wife as the boat maneuvered underneath the cliffs pictured below. When we were under the rocks we could actually see the swirls of the lava frozen in time right over the boat.

I wonder if anyone has jumped off that....

Cloud cover along the Na Pali coast is notorious. The highest point on Kauai, Mount Waialeale, is almost always shrouded in clouds. This makes sense since it is the wettest or one of the wettest spots on Earth, receiving 450 to 600 inches of rain a year.

I'm pretty sure this beach is accessible from the trail, but I didn't see a soul.

There are so many of these valleys that just explode with color and amazing cliff formations.


Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Kauai Beaches

 Hanalei Bay, the beach featured in much of The Descendants, is one of the biggest attractions on the north shore of Kauai. The waves were perfect this time of year for beginner surfers. We happened to have boogie boards this day and we loved the afternoon we spent here. The rain came and went. The water was perfect. And the waves were just right except I would have preferred a little more size to them.

This is definitely one of my favorites from the entire trip. It stands out among the roughly 710 photos I have left after deleting roughly 275 pictures. At Haena Beach Park.

At Hanakapiai Beach along the Kalalau Trail.

The Maha'ulepa coast. I have a ton of pictures from this area that I'll make a separate post for.

This was the beach right in front of our hotel (the Koa Kea). 

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The Land of Enchantment

Kate and I drove to Farmington for a two and a half-day stay with my parents over Easter. It was well worth the drive and the weather was perfect for driving the 285 route to Farmington. Here are some photos from the trip. Above we have Shiprock, near, not surprisingly, Shiprock, NM, which is a bit west of Farmington. It's beautiful and it reminds me a lot of Devil's Tower in Wyoming.

This is part of a ridge (naturally formed) that stands like a wall aimed right at Shiprock.

On our hike I picked up a horned toad once I actually caught the guy. He was fast and hid in thorny plants that I sort of had to hit and kick to get the toad to run out.

My mom found this guy and he wasn't budging...we thought he was hibernating still.

I just felt like taking a couple pictures of my parents' bookcase, which they've had for most of my life. Its shelves are always home to some very familiar, worn books, photos, and small houses. Nate and Brooke are pictured here.

Also on the bookshelves: a collection of dice, marbles, and an old Tonka truck.

Blueberry lemon coffee cake from mom's kitchen. Amazing.

P-squared Posse after Easter service.

Driving home now. The next three pictures are of the Sangre de Cristo mountain range. They were stunning on this day.