Kauai Adventure: Weathering the Storm
A recent trip to Kauai helped challenge our notions of what constitutes a meaningful and relaxing vacation. It had been over six years since our last real vacation anywhere and we were really looking forward to taking some time off and exploring this beautiful island to the fullest.
But just days before we arrived some of the worst storms in years rolled into in the islands, and suddenly our vision of sunny beaches, rainforest hiking, and snorkeling seemed a little less promising. Indeed, flash floods, closed roads, and dangerous surf — culminating in a declared disaster area — confirmed we were going to have to be a little flexible.
Our first couple days were spent braving high winds and driving rains, running outside during the occasional break. At night the winds peaked at 50mph; thunder and lightning kept us awake. This wasn’t the Kauai we had been expecting.
While the weather eventually eased, rain still came down every day. (Though Kauai does have the wettest spot on earth, so what would you expect?). And when it wasn’t raining (much), we spent a lot of our time exploring the lush rainforest trails of Lihue-Koloa Forest Reserve and Na Pali-Kona Forest Reserve, making our way across razorback ridges, beside rushing creeks and waterfalls, and along the amazing Na Pali Coast. Kauai’s beauty is breathtaking, and a little rain didn’t dampen our spirits a bit.
Aside from the obvious scenery, the key to what made this such a great trip, I think, was letting go of our expectations of what the trip was supposed to be, and how it was supposed to play out.
In the past, we have had itineraries and plans and reservations and milestones – items to check off our list, and places to mark off on our map. But here – partly thanks to the weather – we didn’t try to do everything Kauai had to offer (an impossible goal anyway), so we were never disappointed if we couldn’t do something (if, for example, it was pouring rain). When we did get out we took our time on trails, watching lizards and birds, enjoying the ferns and African tulip trees, listening to the streams and waterfalls.
We paddled kayaks slowly up the Wailua River, looking for turtles and watching the White-tailed Tropicbirds soar overhead; not racing everyone else to the Secret Falls (which, as you might guess, aren’t that secret).
We enjoyed the time we had, and what was offered; we did a lot, but never felt rushed or pressured to move on to the next thing. In the end, in fact, it was exactly how we imagined a vacation should be.