Kauai: Way Up High. Actually, More Like: Flying.

To read my Kauai journal from the beginning, click here

We were standing on the helipad of Jack Harter Helicopters, watching helicopters land and take off.

It wasn’t perfect weather. The sky was full of dark clouds and it seemed awfully windy. Orange airport flags flapped wildly, their slender poles bent over. But the pilot (who’d been flying for something like fifteen years, including two years in the Army) didn’t seem concerned with the weather, so why should I?

Martin and I were ushered into the two front seats, grinning our fool heads off, and strapped down. The propellers roared overhead, competing with the wind.

And then suddenly we lifted smoothly off the ground, sliding sideways. Nose pointed down, we skimmed along the outskirts of the airport, and then rose miraculously and breathlessly up into the sky, where dark mountains and green fields and the blue ocean opened up before us.

Martin and I squeezed hands tightly, grinned wider and wider, pointed here and there. Martin was shooting lots of video footage and lots of photos, although I’m not sure how he did all that composing and metering and camera-fiddling while simultaneously holding my hand, pointing out sights, and hanging out of the helicopter.

Oh, did I mention that there were no doors on the helicopter?

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Kauai: Waimea Canyon and the Kawaikoi Stream Trail

To read my Kauai journal from the beginning, click here.

When I was packing for this trip and eyeing the weather forecast calling for day after day of rain, friends and family kept saying, “It will be a warm rain!” and “You won’t need a rain jacket, you can get wet and still be comfortable,” and “Don’t pack long-sleeved clothes, you won’t need them! Trust me!”

They were all so totally wrong.

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