The morning began with our rooster friend saying hello at six o'clock, again. Luckily we have acclimated, and it served as a nice wake up call. We decided to hop in our Jeep, put the top down, and head north on Highway 56 all the way to the end of the road.
En route we stopped off in Hanalei to get some coffee and do a little shopping in the center of town. Along the road north there are several little scenic outlooks and secluded beaches that we would pull into to see what's what. Each time we would run into a young couple who incidentally was sitting next to us on the beach yesterday. Chad and Leigh were in from Lancaster, Pennsylvania (shout out to Mrs. M!), though Leigh lived on the Upper West Side, on Seventy-Third Street, for many years.
The last stop on the road before you get to the end had a cave on one side of the road and a nice beach that was occupied by hippies and drifters on the other. We got right out and made ourselves at home. There was an older couple selling coconuts for six dollars, so we bought one. We concluded that coconut milk tastes like a foot.
Further along, about three football fields away, was the end of the road: Nā Pali Coast State Park. There are several hikes you can take, the most extreme was an eight-mile hike that would take eight hours to complete round trip. We opted for the least extreme: a quarter-mile hike to a lovely lookout that would take eighteen minutes.
Exhausted from our hike we decided it was time for lunch. We hopped in the ole Jeep and drove south, deftly navigating roosters, cranes, and one lane bridges along the way. We pulled off at the Kilauea Fish Market for a lunch of the fresh catch—well, as fresh as something can be after a forty-five minute wait. It was delicious, though, and worth it.
The time came to head to the Princeville Airport to catch our helicopter for an aerial tour of Kaua'i. We were on the same helicopter with two other couples, both celebrating their fiftieth wedding anniversary. When I asked one of the other men if he had been on a helicopter before, he simply said yes, when he was in Vietnam. We left it at that.
Our pilot, Mac, looked like he just finished filming an episode of MTV Sports from 1992; however, he was a great pilot. As we ducked in and out of valleys, through canyons, and even into the crater of the volcano that created the island, Mac was quick with the relevant fact. There was one point where he fired up some Enya to pump through the headphones as he pulled over an awe-inspiring landscape. He was a showman through and through.
A helicopter ride is pricey, but we cannot recommend it enough. As you fly through a vista untouched by man, you get a true sense of wonder. It is no stretch to say we will never forget this day for the rest of our lives.
Tomorrow, we plan to get our feet wet. Here's hoping our phones stay dry.