Waimea Canyon Drive

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On our last day on Kaua’i, with a late evening flight to Honolulu ahead of us, we didn’t want to lay out on the beach or do a strenuous amount of hiking since we didn’t want to sit on a plane, even for a 35 minute trip, being all sweaty and gross. Β So we hopped in our little Mazda 2 rental and made our way south from Kapa’a. Β Our destination? Waimea Canyon.

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I remember the first time I’d even heard of Waimea Canyon, on a friend’s Instagram of all places. Β Like Na Pali, I was immediately drawn to its natural beauty (we don’t see a lot of this jaw-droppin’ stuff where I come from.)

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While the label “The Grand Canyon of the Pacific” is erroneously credited to Mark Twain (who, in his travels to the Aloha State, never stepped foot on Kaua’i), the title is an appropriate moniker. Β While not as deep or wide (that’s what she said?) as ol’ GC, Waimea is a gorgeous watercolor of greens, reds, oranges.

“Are you crying?” Lance said, obviously delighted over my emotional reaction to…well, anything.

“No, it’s windy up here and suntan lotion and shut up, you stupid jerk!” I whimpered, wiping tears from my eyes.

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If you take 550 further inland, up to it’s dead-end deep inside Waimea Canyon State Park, you’ll dead-end at the second Kalalau Valley lookout, which straddles the top of a ridge overlooking rolling trees to the east, the grandeur of Kalalau Valley to the east, and Wai’ale’ale ahead of you, one of the rainiest spots on earth.

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For two kids from topographically-challenged areas of the United States, this double-whammy of incredible sights was hard to comprehend. Β It definitely made me appreciate, right in that moment, how fortunate I am and my ability to even be there to see these things.

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