Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Hello, Hawaii

Hello Hawaii! Our hotel has beautiful birds to greet us.
It is hard to believe this trip even happened. Several years ago, I developed a fear of flying. It was easy to plan trips close by, or make excuses about the kids' schedules, until I realized I had not been on a plane in 3 years...not even to see my mom in Colorado. When Paul mentioned a dream of a family vacation to Ireland, I decided I needed to face my fear. With a lot of hand holding and a lot of Xanax, we flew to Shannon in 2011 for an amazing family vacation.
Morning view from our hotel--The Grand Hyatt in Poipu
I had just turned 40, so maybe I was feeling reflective, or having a mid-life crisis, bitten by the travel bug, or just inspired by my successful flight...but I set a goal that year: to travel to all 50 states before I turn 50. I believe my social worker friends refer to this as "exposure therapy." Afraid of flying? Book a flight. In the past 5 years I have been to several new states, bringing my lifelong total to 35.

I thought about saving Hawaii for #50, but with two kids in high school, scheduling family travel isn't going to get any easier. Since Paul and I will be married 20 years this fall, we decided to schedule an anniversary trip/family vacation extravaganza!

On our way to Waimea Canyon
Once we decided on the state, the next big decision we had to make was, which island? We finally chose Kauai, also known as the Garden Isle, because it was a little less commercial than some of the larger islands. It was a fantastic trip, making it hard to narrow down the 250 pictures and countless memories to one blog post, but here goes:

Waimea Canyon
We drove along an 18 mile winding road to stop at several overlooks. Otherwise known as the Grand Canyon of the Pacific, this was a gorgeous introduction to Hawaii's scenery.

Na Pali Coast
In order to appreciate the vast beauty of the cliffs on the Western side of Kauai, we took a boat ride. The kids loved spotting sea turtles and dolphins, Paul loved the waves, and Allison loved getting off the boat. Just kidding, I did OK. Our boat captain was a native of Kauai and I loved all the stories he told, as well as the breathtaking views.

The Luau
Yes, it is a bit of an overpriced, touristy thing to do, but how could we come to Hawaii and not do the luau? The music, stories, and dancing were top notch and the food was all delicious...well, except the poi. I could have done without the poi. Next time, I'll skip the poi and go back to Jo Jo's for second helpings of shave ice.

Golf and Gardens
One day we split up and the boys played golf while the girls toured the Allerton Garden. If you ever go, ask for Juan to be your tour guide. We loved his mix of storytelling, history, and knowledge. The boys loved their day as well and Jack shot his first Eagle on the Poipu Golf Course.

See any dinosaur eggs, Katherine? Jurassic Park was filmed here.

Sacred Falls
The only way to get to this waterfall is by kayaking down the Wailua River and hiking through a muddy, rainforest-like terrain. And so we did.
Christmas Card, Check
Our hotel offered a complimentary photo shoot with a professional photographer. So, as an added bonus, I ordered a few pictures of our family. Beautiful souvenirs of an incredible trip with my family. And you'll be seeing this picture again in December!