Naturally, we woke up at sunrise...
getting sick of the sunrise pictures yet?? we aren't.
and we headed to Kipu Falls. Kipu Falls is in the South Side of the island, about 15 minutes from where we were staying. The problem is, it lies on private property. Clarification... the stream, waterfall, and freshwater pool below are public property.. but the "trail" (I'll explain that in min) is private and therefore trespassing. After deciding that the guidebook we've been using is the most popular for the Hawaiian Islands, we figured we wouldn't be alone when we got to the waterfall and it was worth the risk of trying to find.
We drove down a deserted road and right before the bridge over the creek we found the entrance into a ton of sugar bushes (Kipu Falls is hidden in a old sugar plantation). This was DEFINITELY NOT a public trail. It was so overgrown we had to walk for 5 min or so with our hands in front of our faces to clear all the bushes out of the way... but as we walked we could hear the waterfall getting closer.
Finally out of the brush... and there's the creek
And yes, we had to cross the thigh deep water to get to the other side...
Kipu Falls, slightly underwhelming... but the falls isn't the attraction here, its the rope swing :)
Once on the other side we could get close to the coveted rope swing....
I headed to Shipwreck Beach and stumbled across a roped off section. I wasn't sure why, but as I got closer I realized what I thought was a rock, wasn't a rock at all, but a Monk Seal. He had a little Penny-like dog face and was BIG. He was at least 5' long and definitely outweighed myself. I set up my towel and soaked in the sun just a mere 30' from my new friend.
On the way to the main hwy of the island we always passed "Tunnels of Trees", just wanted to share with everyone :)
We decided the last "Must See" was the Waimea Canyon. As I said on Day 2 (when we flew over via helicopter), its the "Grand Canyon of the Pacific". There is a hwy that extends 20miles through the canyon with lots of Look Out points and ends with a view of the Na Pali Coastline.
Two-tier Waipo'o Falls dropping some 800ft into the canyon
Further up the hwy we reached the Na Pali Kona Forest Reserve
After our touristy day of driving through the canyon and taking lots of pictures of dirt (to be fair, very cool looking dirt... and cliffs.. can't miss those cliffs) We decided we'd have a nice dinner out at Keoki's Paradise (http://www.keokisparadise.com/).
pre-gaming our last dinner
This place was nearby and known for the lush tropical setting - even though its completely fake since it's in the middle of a strip mall.
Starting dinner with some trusty Californian Pinot Noir...
Again, for the other foodies out there - our dinner selections :)
Appetizers: Panko Crusted Scallops
wasabi butter sauce
Entree 1: Parmesan and Herb Crusted Ono (wahoo)
sauteed with panko and macadamia nuts, served with lemon caper butter sauce and rice
Entree 2: "Keoki's Style" Moonfish
baked in garlic, lemon, and sweet basil glaze, served with rice
Don't think we skipped out on dessert... that's sacrilege
Dessert: Hula Pie
MacNut Ice Cream cake with cookie crust bottom, hot fudge, whipped cream, and macnuts
not much evidence remaining...
ladies and gentlemen, this is my husband...
Perfect end to the first leg of the trip....