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Hawaii-bound? A first-timer's guide to thrills, chills on Kauai

Daniel Beekman, The Seattle Times on

Published in Travel News

KAUAI, Hawaii -- As I hurtled through the sky above a sprawling valley, in view of sapphire waves and verdant mountain slopes, the wind was whipping past me and my eyes were streaming tears.

My lips were peeled back, I was yelling incomprehensibly and my brain was blaring, "This could be the end."

But let me begin at the beginning, before I zoomed down a three-quarter-mile zip line on Kauai, the westernmost of the well-populated Hawaiian Islands.

I had never been to the so-called Garden Island, but I knew it by reputation. Less built up than Maui and Oahu, Kauai is blessed with spectacular hiking trails, secluded beaches and dramatic vistas.

That made it an ideal warm-weather destination to rev up and unwind, while talking to residents opened my eyes to Kauai's history and the consequences of more mainlanders visiting the island.


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Were I to visit Kauai again, I might concentrate on a particular pastime. But on this trip with friends, I tried both exciting and relaxing activities.

Which brings me back to my midair moment, courtesy of the FlyLine, a special zip line operated by Outfitters Kauai, which also offers kayak, bike and stand-up paddleboard tours.

The company has several zip-line packages. Looking for thrills, we chose the so-called AdrenaLine excursion. It began with a pair of conventional zip lines, which allowed us to soar over the trees.

Then some of us stripped into our swimsuits and jumped off a mini zip line into a water hole hidden in the muggy jungle, where we gaped at tropical plants with fronds longer than my arm.


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