Trip With Mom To Kauai And Maui Rekin­dles Mem­o­ries


PRINCEVILLE, Hawaii— My mother has al­ways had a spe­cial con­nec­tion to Hawaii.

Her fa­ther flew there nearly 200 times as a com­mer­cial air­line pi­lot. He would bring home fresh pineap­ples and Trader Vic’s Mai Tai mix. The kids got the pineap­ples. The adults got the mix. They even va­ca­tioned in Hon­olulu.

So when it was time to celebrate my mother’s re­tire­ment from the ho­tel in­dus­try, we de­cided to take her on a fam­ily trip to Kauai and Maui to rekin­dle and share some of those happy mem­o­ries. (And in case you’re look­ing for in­spi­ra­tion for your own trip, our itin­er­ary did not in­clude the Big Is­land, where the Ki­lauea vol­cano was spew­ing lava in early May.)


We were fam­ished when we ar­rived on Kauai. We drove to the Sleep­ing Gi­ant Grill for fresh poke, fish tacos and delicious chicken plates. We sat at an out­door pic­nic table, sip­ping fresh­ly­roasted cof­fee from Imua Cof­fee Roast­ers next door. It was a per­fect way to be­gin the trip.

Kauai is known as the gar­den is­land and rain­bows are plen­ti­ful. As we drove to our north shore ho­tel, we were amazed by the lush­ness of the flora and in­ten­sity of the col­ors. “Spec­tac­u­larly beau­ti­ful,” my mother said.

We re­laxed at the beach in the morn­ings and ven­tured out in the af­ter­noons when it started to driz­zle. One thing in­ter­rupted our seren­ity, some­thing I’ve never en­coun­tered on a beach be­fore: feral chick­ens. One of them even stole the pineap­ple from my mother’s pina co­lada. The chick­ens have no nat­u­ral predators to keep their num­bers in check. Thou­sands roam Kauai.

For a day trip, we went to the Kauai Cof­fee es­tate in Kala­heo. We drank free cof­fee sam­ples and walked among the cof­fee trees to learn how the cof­fee is made. Caf­feinated, we set off to Waimea Canyon, known as the “Grand Canyon of the Pa­cific.” It’s about 10 miles long and roughly 3,500 feet deep. There are look­out points to ad­mire the red, green and burnt or­ange gorge and its wa­ter­falls.


Part of what keeps Kauai

so lush is abun­dant rain­fall. Kauai’s Mount Wa­ialeale is one of the wettest spots on earth, with about 450 inches of rain an­nu­ally. Un­for­tu­nately, in April, a few months af­ter our visit, nearly 50 inches fell on the is­land in one 24-hour pe­riod, caus­ing flood­ing. Some places on the north shore ex­pe­ri­enced dam­age, but most of the is­land was un­scathed, in­clud­ing most of the places we vis­ited with mom, in­clud­ing Kauai Cof­fee and Waimea Canyon.

But the is­land’s north shore, known for rugged hik­ing trails, was im­pacted by the floods. My hus­band, sis­ter and I took a hike on the chal­leng­ing Kalalau Trail there dur­ing our trip in Fe­bru­ary — with­out my mother, but ac­com­pa­nied by a guide from a tour com­pany, Hike Kauai With Me.

That trail will be closed for some time, along with other trails in the area, while dam­age is re­paired.


Ae­rial shot of the Wailua Falls in Li­hue on the is­land of Kauai.

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