Thursday, August 25, 2011


I sat down this weekend not knowing what to paint, but wanting to paint.  Going through my pictures from my trip, I found a few images of waves I took in Kaua'i.  Here's the painting that came out.  It was a nice exercise in focusing on the whole painting and not getting too stuck in a certain area.  Plus, it was just nice to stare at a wave since it;s been so brisk and foggy in the city.

Sunday, August 14, 2011


A few weeks ago, while still in Hawaii, Casey and I hopped over to Kauai for four days.  The last time I was there was a few years back and we were both ready for some tropical nature.  We spent our first day on the west side at a secluded beach with long stretches of sand and tall lava rock cliffs behind us.  After leaving the beach, we basically drove around the island to get to our camp grounds on the north shore.

 After setting up camp, we were treated to the most beautiful sunset we've probably ever seen.  The first picture was taken probably 10 minutes before this one.  The sky kept changing, but every moment was so picturesque that we couldn't help ourselves from taking photo after photo.

 We explored the north shore on our first day.  This is Hanalei, a small town with what seemed to be a lot of farmland.  Most of these plots seemed to be taro and it was refreshing to see land dedicated to growing native food.

We stopped at a lookout to get a nice view of the valley, but apparently Casey had a nice view of this chick.  In 1992, hurricane Iniki hit Kauai and freed a lot of captive chicken.  Subsequently, with no natural predators on the island (expect for us I suppose) the chickens have been growing in population and you can see them, big or small, everywhere.

 On the north shore, they have a couple caves right on the side of the road.  They're not deep and not really for spelunking, but they are cool to visit.  There was this one and a dry one that you could actually walk into.  Just for scale, that triangular opening was probably 10 feet tall.

The best part of the day was, hands down, our visit to Queens Bath.

Located right on the coastal cliffs, Queen's bath is a natural pool that is protected from the smashing waves.  There are areas deep enough to dive in with other areas shallow enough to stand.  All the while, tropical fish swim around with the water calmly flowing in through the rock barrier.  It was a luxury to hang out here for a while.

 After our swim, we explored along the lava rocks.  Casey found this crab, completely dehydrated but still in tact.

 We also go a sweet view that most others probably didn't get to see.  I wish I had gotten some better photos because this one just doesn't show how pretty it was.  The mist from the ocean made the mountains in the back fade into the sunlight contrasting the brilliant greens and blacks up close.

 Another thing most people don't find is this secret bath.  It seemed almost perfect and if we hadn't tired ourselves out from swimming at the other bath, we would have jumped right in.  The cool part about this one were the smooth boulders at the bottom.  The first bath had a couple of these, but this bath was filled with them.  I'm not sure where they came from or how they got so smooth, but part of my wants to say it was from the ancient Hawaiians.

 This is an area just before Queen's bath that demonstrates how dangerous this place can be.  During the winter, where there is high surf on the North Shore, I bet this would look like a moderate day at Queen's Bath.  There are multiple warning signs leading up to the baths, discouraging people from getting too close to the edge.

Luckily, it was summer and we could sit close to the edge.  Looks like Casey found a good a good seat.

As if the water wasn't beautiful enough, the short hike to and from the coast was absolutely inspiring.  It was so lush and tropical and a nice way to cool off after a day in the sun.  The best part was the guava trees near the entrance.  As you get closer, the sweet smell of guava takes over.

The next day, we headed for Waimea Canyon.  It was mostly a drive up and around the canyon, but we got out for a good two hour hike.

The first trail took us out to a look out over the canyon, and this trail took us along the top of the canyon.  The dirt was rusty red with interesting swashes of orange, mustard, brown and even purple.  Everything was breathtaking, so much so that I challenged myself to get closer to the edge for a view of the bottom.  Terrifying but exhilarating.

Here's another shot of the canyon from the end of our hike.  It you look closely at the third tier down, the rocks make a little archway.  I thought that was somewhat peculiar and wondered what made it.

On our drive back, it started to rain and we stopped to take some pictures.  I thought the valley would look cool in the misty showers, but I didn't expect it to look this cool.  Seeing a rainbow shooting out of the canyon was quite a treat.

Our last day took us to Wailua river.  With the morning rooster, we were ready for a day of kayaking.

We jumped into out double kayak and paddled up the smooth, calm Wailua river.  I was excited since this was the first time I have kayaked and always wanted to.  It was, at first, a lot more physical than I thought.  But soon enough I got the hang of thing and we easily made our way to a trail.

The end destination of this trail was a waterfall, but we stopped and enjoyed ourselves along the way.  Here's Casey, taking first dibs at a rope swing we found.

I got second!

The trail was just over a mile in and took us through mud, decaying foliage and slippery rocks.

It also took us across this ridiculously beautiful sight.  It doesn't get much better than this.  For me, this is perfection.  The tall trees diffusing the sunlight with the clear water flowing through the dark, smooth rocks.  The moss and the tangled roots dipping into the water complete it all.

We made it to the waterfall and cast out a few selfless hopes.  This waterfall is called Sacred Falls and it is believed to have hope fulfilling powers not short of miracles.  The caveat is that you have to wish good for someone else.  I can dig that kind of integrity.

After the hike, we got back in our kayak and visited a few other places along the river.  There was a grotto with overgrown everything and huge plants everywhere.  There was a bird sanctuary that was maybe too early in the day to visit.  And then there was another swing rope area.  But just past it, where no one else was, was this little area, where cows grazed and everything seemed untouched.  It made me almost want to be a landscape painter.

Here's Casey on our last day in Kauai.

Kauai was a great trip and I'm so glad I got to go back.  It is definitely different than Oahu and as I get older and travel more, this type of living and landscape is getting more and more appealing.

Finally, I'm all caught up and can post in real time (more or less).  Not sure how frequently posts will be now that I'm back in the city, but hopefully the adventures will be frequent enough to keep posting regularly.