Saturday, February 14, 2015

kaua'i with my guy.

todd & i went to kaua'i. yes, you read that right, just todd & i went to kaua'i. no kids. after 7.5 years of him trying to convince me i finally caved. and i'm glad i did. i missed my babies so much it hurt but there's nothing like a little alone time with the hubs & the ease of two adults traveling. it was a totally foreign experience, no carseats, no diapers, no whining (ok, maybe a few little complaints escaped during the final mile of our na pali hike). the boys stayed on maui with my parents & were totally spoiled with every single one of their favorite things. i swear, they were so busy having fun & being catered to that they didn't even miss us, well until the last day of our trip. true to his word, cooper was totally content with his new caregivers until day 4 when he had enough fun & just wanted his parents home. funny, because i felt the exact same way. we were at the airport extra early just to ensure nothing would interfere with our pending reunion with our boys.

every piece of kaua'i either met or exceeded our expectations. this was todd's first trip to kaua'i & the perfect way for him to complete his journey to all 6 of the main hawaiian islands (my 6th & final island was lana'i when we visited last summer). we love comparing the islands. we've been asked many times which island is our favorite, i think it's obvious…maui no ka oi. but every island is pretty incredible & offers it's own unique features. kaua'i is no exception. every town (except lihue) is full of character & charm. the aloha spirit is strong & dare i say, the people are even kinder than the citizens of maui (although i still think moloka'i lives up to it's name & is the friendliest isle). the grindz are so ono! every thing we ate was delicious. and every piece of the island is stunning. like, jaw droppig gorgeous. it was the perfect place to spend some quality time with my main squeeze. the entire trip was incredible but the best part was the quality one-on-one time with my honey. we were parents long before we were husband & wife so we skipped a honeymoon & we've never really taken the time to focus on each other. we are always so busy being mommy & daddy that we forget to be sara & todd. more so lately than ever before. between todd's work & school, my church callings, preschool assignments, & mom duties, cooper's school, rugby, ukulele, & baseball we spend every spare minute engaged in family time which leaves little energy left for todd & i. this trip was the perfect start to putting our marriage first.

in true watkins form we spent every day cramming in every hike, beach, site, & eatary possible. we covered every side of the island in our short trip. luckily, we had a beautiful & comfortable hotel to crash at every night. i will forever be grateful to the marriott for their hot tub & pool side waiters. we biked the ke ala hele makalae trail. i love biking. it's really my thing. (but we live on a mountian & maui is the least bike friendlly island so getting on two wheels is  a rare treat.) we snorkeled at po'ipu. would you believe me if i told you that this was the first time todd & i snorkeled together? well, it was. and i much prefer snorkeling with him than without. we were shocked by how friendly the fish were (obviously, kaua'i doesn't have the same no-feed-the-fish policy that maui stands by.) on our first snorkel together i found a heart shaped coral. coincidence? i think not. oh & on our first hike, the maha'ulepu trail, we steered off the beaten path & randomly came across a heart shaped hole in the rock. definitely a sign from above. 

we bumped in to a few monk seals. there aren't many on maui so we really enjoyed scoping out the foreign species. we drove all the way to spouting horn & stopped at just about every beach along the way. my favorite was glass beach (no big surprise there-i'm a beach combing fool.) the surroundings are junky & the beach not so great but the sand is incredible. it's an entire beach made of tiny flecks of glass. it is truly phenomenal. 

we scoped out waimea canyon. definitely one of the most spectacular spots in all of hawai'i. the canyon is full of the most vibrant colors almost too beautiful to be true. we drove all the way to polihale to catch the sunset. another unforgettable moment. we had the entire place to ourselves. just imagine miles of golden sand & a glowing sunset with no one but your honey anywhere in site. it was magical. (while here i stumbled upon a honu nest which is another rare & rather lucky find.)

we stopped by the wailua & opaekaa falls, the waialeale (the wettest place on earth) lookout, a few of the heiaus along the wailua river, & the kilauea lighthouse. we checked out queen's bath & the secret beach lava pools but the waves were to high to enjoy either (just gives us something to come back to). we rented paddle boards (we wanted to kayak but neither of us had the patience for a 4 hour tour moving at a tourist pace) & went up the wailua river to the fern grotto & hiked up to secret falls, another one of kauai's many treasures. 

it was a true test of my upper body strength paddling the 3 miles down river against the winds. especially since we spent the whole day prior hiking 13 miles of the na pali coast. i can honestly say this was the most incredible place i've ever been. like ever. the views are breathtaking. and the trail is breathtaking too, but in a totally different way. imagine hiking thousands of feet up, just to hike thousands of feet down, just to hike another couple thousand up, again & again, for miles on end while navigating a wet narrow (i'm talking 12 inches in many parts) trail with sheer cliff in either direction & the only rest you have are the multiple river crossings. it was intense. both, physically demanding & emotionally gratifying. we planned to soak ourselves in the hanakoa falls but it was too cold for our thin skin. so we soaked up the beauty of the place instead. over the past decade todd & i have done a lot of things together, but this trumps them all. and what greater relationship builder then 8 hours of alone trecking through the great outdoors. 

i was most surprised by the quality of mexican food on kauai. best i've had in all of hawai'i nei. i may move there for this very reason. our favorite grindz were da crack, al pastor tacos, chicken in a barrel, puka dogs, & pink's creamery. all so ono. oh, & the shave ice at hee fat was pretty legit. it's no ululani's but their real fruit syrups were a close second to our family fave. 

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