When booking this trip we chose 3 group tours; kayaking the Huleia River, touring the Waimea Canyon and a snorkel trip with cruise along the Napali coastline. I was concerned about the snorkel cruise we booked as the cruise company’s website had two types listed, one on a catamaran the other on a raft, I couldn't begin to imagine being on a raft for 6 hours. I was anxious to talk with the hotel concierge to verify our plans, much to our relief they told us that we were on a catamaran cruise. The kayaking trip was first and was the morning after out arrival on the island, already we were feeling like time was slipping away too fast.
Our trip to Kauai was with a corporate group so we all met for breakfast the first morning for announcements, greetings and details of the trip. We sat at the table and introduced ourselves to everyone and soon began discussing plans for the coming week. We met a lovely couple from Baltimore, Gary and Betsy, that had book the same three tours as ourselves so we were excited to have met someone to share the experiences with all week. Soon we found ourselves on the bus heading off towards Nawiliwili Harbor with a rather large group of people with varied levels of fitness. As most trips there is an orientation detailing the kayaking and hike to the falls, it was then a group member mentioned that she was due for a knee transplant. A low sign escaped the person beside me as the realization of what just happened, our experience would be altered and the longer more exciting part of the hike would not happen today.
The group got off without much trouble and quickly fell into pace as we paddled our way up the river. We passed by the Menehune fish pond and heard the story of a group of inhabitants that were very slight in size but tenacious when it came to carrying the stones from the mountains in a single night. The pond is now privately owned and we were only able to view it through the dense trees as we quickly paddled by. We had two guides, one in the front to guide us up the river and one in the rear to encourage the stragglers in the back of the group. This was a very serene peaceful way to experience our first day on Hawaii, listening to little anecdotes and lore as we sliced our way up the river. Soon the water narrowed was more stream like with large river rocks brushing against the bottom of the kayak, we jumped on land just after the place where Indiana Jones swung his rope swing onto the wing of a plane in Raiders of the Lost Ark.
Hiking through the Hawaiian forest was much like a hike in Vermont with the exception of the vegetation. I was amazed at the size of plants that we can only grow inside in pots in our northern climate. Not only were these plants large they completely enveloped the trees, the leaves growing to sizes I haven't seen before. At our feet the ground was dug up in various locations as evidence of the wild pigs that roamed the countryside and foraged when the trails were quiet. We quickly reached our stopping off point, remember our presurgical tourmate, for our lunch and to see the falls. These were not the waterfalls we hoped to see but instead were a minor series of three 2 - 6 foot falls with a trickling of water flowing over them. We ate our lunch in the location then made our way down a different return trail and hiked by another rope swing into a swimming hole. With a lot of cajoling a teenage boy took a ride or two then his younger sister decided to join the fun, the rest of the group remained warm and dry on the shore. Our remaining hike was pleasant and we enjoyed the remaining details of our stroll, the ride back down the river was quick and taken on a pontoon style boat.
Despite the change in itinerary we had a nice day on the river, our ride back to the resort was quick as we all discussed the details of the day. After arriving at our hotel we freshened up and prepared for our dinner with the corporate group down by the lagoon. The evening was warm and breezy as we arrived to see all the lounge chairs gone and the beach transformed for the evening.