We spent Wednesday on the North Shore. We’d heard all along in our planning that the north was traditionally rainier/cloudier and the south was more predictably dry. Well, I’ll start by saying we had a beautiful, dry, sunny day in the north. I presume the same happened in the south but it was cloudy when we left in the morning.
We had a 9:30 kids’ tour at Na’Aina Kai Botanical Gardens. It was a lovely, hour drive up the island. Unfortunately, Layla fell out of the car when we got there and skinned up her knee, so we started our time there trying to get that cleaned up and her calmed down (poor thing – there was a good amount of blood 😦 ). Luckily John had thrown some Hello Kitty band aids in his backpack before we came on this trip, so it definitely softened the blow when she needed THREE of them! The staff were so helpful when they saw her, bringing me antiseptic, hydrogen peroxide, and bandages. Layla loves being carried, and we knew with her fresh injury we were going to be carrying her throughout the tour. The guide asked if we wanted a stroller for her, and that did help being able to push her along.
I can’t say enough great things about the botanical gardens. They gave the kids little paper bags to collect anything on the ground that interested them. Our tour guide was so nice and informative, the grounds were stunning, there was a big pond with koi fish that could be hand fed (Hayden got a big kick out of that), there were beautiful statues throughout, and once the proper tour was over we could play in the kids area (which was immaculate, even the restrooms) which had a splash area as well as lots of other unique and well maintained equipment for kids.
After the gardens we went to Kilauea for lunch at the Bakery. Another fantastic meal! We all got a little treat for dessert (Hayden got a slice of cherry pie that he seemed delighted with) – just wonderful. We hit the Kilauea Lighthouse from there. Before we got there we saw in the distance a seal sunbathing on the shore – first seal of the trip! The lighthouse itself was pretty simple and you couldn’t go in it, but it was out on a point that was really beautiful and apparently there are many whale sightings although the volunteer we talked with hadn’t seen any that day. We did see an albatross and frigate which were beautiful birds, and we had a nice chat with the volunteer who was from England so we had lots to talk about in addition to the local knowledge she provided.
We kept driving west on the north coast, and got to the end of the road on Ke’e beach. We went for a .5 mile hike up a trail and caught some beautiful views. I hadn’t realized we were going to be hiking at that particular stop so I hadn’t changed my or Layla’s shoes, so we were both in flip flops. She also wouldn’t walk on the way up because of her boo boo, so I’m sure I looked like a complete idiot hiking in flip flops while carrying a 3 year old who was also in inappropriate footwear. Hayden was SUPER into the hiking, though. He has really loved exploring. John made a great point earlier in the week that he will be a prime candidate for the Cub Scouts next year, when he’ll be old enough to join. Layla finally did want to walk herself on the way down – thank God! She had a lot of fun hopping from rock to rock to get down. When we reached the 1/2 mile point Hayden was desperate to keep going, so the boys went on a few more minutes and passed us a little ways from the bottom.
Before we left we checked out a wet cave and a dry cave, which were both cool. Layla and I tried to split a coconut drink, but she didn’t like it. Then I tried to split it with John. It’s not bad but is a taste I have not acquired. We got through most of it. 🙂
On the way to dinner we went out to the pier in Hanalei, which is where they filmed The Descendants (love that movie). Then off to dinner back in Kilauea, at a restaurant called Bistro. Good food, and another good Mai Tai (I still consider the best to be from Merriman’s but John thought this was better). A beagle-sized dog wormed his way through the little patio fencing in the restaurant while we were eating to make himself at home. Everyone wanted to take him home and I think John had the kids thinking that was a possibility, luckily Hayden wasn’t too deflated when we broke it to him that we couldn’t. He just wanted reassurance that the doggie wasn’t going to die when we left, bless. He seemed like he had a steady diet so hopefully just a dog from a surrounding neighborhood off scavenging.
We drove the hour back with the kids passed out in back. Another packed, glorious day! Mahalo, Kauai!