Day 8 - Helicopter Tour, Hiking, Dinner at Roy's

We made reservations with Jack Harter Helicopters for their doors off (Hughes helicopter) 60 min tour of Kauai for 8:30am. Check in was at 7:45.  We made it there at like 7:50, and no one seemed to care we were slightly late. They weigh you so they can know how to sit you in the helicopter (they don't tell you your weight, but I would've been curious to know how much I had gained by this point in the trip, haha). Then we just waited around for like 15 min. The van driver came out and gave us a safety briefing, and then drove us over to the helipad.

When we got there and saw our helicopter, the first thing I thought was that it was so small! There are only 4 plus the pilot, but it was still pretty tight fitting. The other couple with us got the back seats, I got the middle between Tyler and the pilot, and Tyler had the front passenger. He said his right arm and leg were pretty much hanging out, haha. Nothing quite like half hanging out of the copter as you soar high above the ground.

I've never been in a helicopter before but I expecting really choppy and rough. Lift off was awesome though. You just go up. Strange feeling when all you're used to is an airplane. Then I noticed how smooth the ride actually was. We never really hit turbulence, so it actually ended up being a pretty comfortable ride.

You start the tour by going to the west side of the island. The pilot narrates the whole time giving the history of the island and pointing out famous locations (like celebrities housing or places used in movies).  We got to see the same locations on the Na Pali coast we had seen from the boat, which was cool, but then we also got to fly into the valleys and see what was hidden from the sea, which was even cooler. I can't believe the first Hawaiians (Marquesans) used to live down there! So crazy. The Na Pali coastline was gorgeous from the air. Really amazing. Then we headed over toward Waimea Canyon.  That was a really pretty area too. I haven't actually been to the Grand Canyon, but this is said to be the Grand Canyon of the Pacific. Seems like it could be pretty accurate.  You had up around the northern coast by Hanelai valley and Princeville. It's so lush and beautiful in that area. And then you head back. The hour went by so quickly, I can't even imagine going on any shorter of a trip than that. It was definitely one of the major highlights of our trip.

We originally planned to go kayaking on this day and had made reservations, but we got lost and missed our pick up time, and they gave away our kayak. Soo we made a change of plans and went hiking at the Sleeping Giant mountain (Nounou mountain) on the East Trail. The blue book said that from the trail head to the summit was 2 miles, but we were feeling good and decided to keep going on the part where the West and Kuamo'o-Nounou trails are combined until we reached Cook's Pine forest. It was probably only another 0.5 mile or so but made it an even better hike. There are some really pretty sites on this trail so I would recommend doing it if you have an afternoon to kill.

That night for dinner we made reservations for Roy's Poipu Bar & Grill. There isn't an ocean view at this restaurant, so don't worry about getting reservations at a time where you can watch the sunset while you eat. This probably ended up being my favorite meal of our trip. Apparently it's a chain (or at least has a few more locations around the US), but it sure didn't taste like one.  We got an ahi dish as an appetizer, which was delicious. I couldn't even really tell I was eating raw fish. Tyler got a butterfish for dinner, and I got an opah (I think). OMG, so delicious. And then of course we both got desserts again, mine was a chocolate one and Tyler's was a macadamia nut something. Definitely eat here (I want to drive up to Austin to eat at the location there!)

Jack Harter Helicopter Tour

Hiking at Sleeping Giant Mountain