We began Sunday morning, our last day on Kauai, by attending a church service. We were greeted with much aloha and yarn leis. We were not the only visitors and each received leis, hugs and kisses on the cheek from several parishioners. The church building has three sets of double glass doors and louvered windows on both the north and south sides of the building, allowing a wonderful tropical breeze through. We felt so welcome and nourished by the spirit of Aloha.
Following the church service, we began the drive to Waimea Canyon, the "Grand Canyon of the Pacific." This was the last thing we felt we really wanted to see before we left for Maui. From Kapaa, we drove south, skirting Lihue airport and the highway to Poipu. Remaining on Highway 50, and now heading east, we stopped at a scenic lookout over the Hanapepe River. The red dirt was vibrant against the bright green of the foliage.
Crossing the bridge across the Waimea River, and driving through the quaint town of Hanapepe, we started a northwest course. At Highway 552 (Kokee Rd.), we turned north and began the ascent to Waimea Canyon State Park. The road had obviously been newly paved and made for a very pleasant drive. The scenery cannot be matched. I can still remember the smell of the foliage. I don’t know what it is that provides that smell, but I remember it from my childhood on the Big Island.
We were carefully timing the drive, as we had to return to the airport for our flight to Maui. Time didn’t permit us to drive to the very end of the road, the Kalalau Lookout, but we did make it to the Waimea Canyon Lookout. It truly does remind one of the Grand Canyon. The coloring and formations are breathtaking.
We returned via Waimea Canyon Road (Hwy 550) for a different, yet equally gorgeous view. This road seemed shorter and we enjoyed seeing homes and farms in the valley below.
The end of our stay in Kauai had come. We’d seen everything we wanted to see and delighted in all of it. The Garden Isle deserves its reputation as a welcoming, relaxing paradise.