Touring Like a Tourist

As part of the MasterCard Priceless Cities campaign, I was asked to pitch about different adventures for both locals and tourists. But, how can I effectively write about something unless I experience it? 

To that end, I went on some epic adventures last week -- one that allowed my husband and I to finally get out just us, another couple that were just for me, and one for the entire family! 

 Jack Harter Helicopter tours take off from Lihue airport.

Jack Harter Helicopter tours take off from Lihue airport.

There are plenty of helicopter companies on island -- each with a unique offering. Island Tours takes you to the falls where Jurassic Park was filmed, Sunshine Helicopters takes off in Princeville, and Jack Harter offers the only doors-off tour. 

I didn't get to do the doors-off, which I'm told allows you to fly closer to the natural features because the chopper is smaller, but the tour I did do was pretty phenomenal. 

 Views of Na Pali coast. 

Views of Na Pali coast. 

Over 70% of the island can't be accessed because of the terrain or because they're part of private property, so aerial tours are one way to see everything!

By the by, if you get motion sickness, consider that you might need to use what the Jack Harter tours calls "the Aloha Bag." 

 A view of the Cathedrals along Kalaulau Trail. 

A view of the Cathedrals along Kalaulau Trail. 

The only way to explore the Na Pali coast is by sea, hiking the intense Kalaulau Trail, or by air. A kayak tour allows you to go and explore the caves, including one that was featured on the cover of National Geographic. Totally worth it, especially if the dolphins are out, though you'll need to be in fairly good shape. It's a long paddle!! 

 Nothing like the colors of blue here in Hawaii. 

Nothing like the colors of blue here in Hawaii. 

One of my goals eventually is to hike along the Weeping Wall on the North Shore -- called that for all the waterfalls amidst the cliff face. 

 Just one  of the many falls you can see on the helicopter tour. 

Just one of the many falls you can see on the helicopter tour. 

My husband and I also got to go inner tubing with Kauai Backcountry Adventures to explore what were former man-made tunnels of the Lihue Plantation. 

It's a fun way to explore parts of the island you can only see through tours like these, because they're part of private land. Didn't bring my phone on the adventures, but did have it for this shot! The guides are all good-humored and great.

 Mt. Wai'aleale in the background, the rainiest spot on the planet. 

Mt. Wai'aleale in the background, the rainiest spot on the planet. 

A couple of days later, I went zip lining on my own, again with Kauai Backcountry Adventures. As a new mom, in order to do this, my husband and I realized we didn't have enough "boob juice" as we call it in reserve. Thankfully, he's off of school for the summer (he's a Waldorf teacher) and kindly offered to drive down with me and watch baby, so I could feed her right before the three-hour tour, then he'd have enough for a snack, then I'd come back and Baby would be right there so I could feed her again. 

 Sometimes, she just gets so hungry! 

Sometimes, she just gets so hungry! 

The zip lining was epic -- Kauai Backcountry Adventures boasts the fastest and highest lines, up to 940'.  

 Arrive to your starting point in renovated adventure mobiles. 

Arrive to your starting point in renovated adventure mobiles. 

If you're willing to risk it, you can bring your phone to document the action. 

Again, these are vistas you couldn't see otherwise, because they're on private property. 

 Wheeeee! 

Wheeeee! 

The day continued to get hotter and hotter, and by the end of it, our guides invited us to jump into the very refreshing swimming hole, after they served us snacks. Even though I didn't have a bathing suit on, I jumped in anyway! But, our tour was running longer than anticipated so my stress levels started to rise as I knew Baby would be getting hungry. What's more, I didn't have any reception for my phone (#smallislandproblems) and couldn't let my husband know when I would be getting back.

All I could do was surrender.

About 10 minutes before we were about to return, my husband called to let me know Baby was at the brink. By the time we pulled up in the adventure mobile, I almost jumped out the side Dukes of Hazard style.

Everyone on the tour was all smiles -- "Is this your baby??" they wanted to know. While I was checking out and tipping the guides, one of my fellow zip lining patrons went up to my husband and said, "I know it's hard now, but you should enjoy this while you can. You're gonna miss it." She has two kids of her own.

The thing we're starting to realize about building the life of our dreams and creating an adventure baby for our outdoorsy family is that right now, she's super susceptible to other people's energies or when I'm not around. In fact, we think that's why she kind of embarked on a breastfeeding strike these past few days -- I'd been so busy meeting writing deadlines now that my husband has become a full-time dad. Also, the two of us don't generally follow a schedule, so we've had to create one and really work hard to stick to it. 

We know that in the end, this is going to be better for everyone. A solid foundation. Learning as we go. 

And still, epic adventures along the way. Mahalo to Jack Harter Helicopters and Backcountry Adventures for hosting me!