From Red Mud to Roosters: Touchdown in Kauai

By: Smith Schwartz |


Aloha from Hawaii! We just finished up two weeks of honest-to-goodness vacation. It felt good to take a “screen break” and not look at things like laptops and phones and email (too much). This is the first time we’ve taken a serious chunk of time to relax since planning for and embarking on this nomadic journey. Not that anyone should feel sorry for us, but all that planning and traveling and living with roommates and career changing will wear on a person, so I was thankful for a little break.


However, the chickens and roosters on Kauai did not care that we wanted to rest. These wild poultry are apparently also on a permanent vacation. They cock-a-doodle-do at all hours of the day and night and will march right up to an innocent tourist eating at a picnic table and give you an eardrum blast.

One of the more fascinating things we learned about Kauai is that there just aren’t many animals there. No squirrels, no snakes (it’s safe for you here, Erin Drever!) and certainly no monkeys. It’s a little bit jarring to walk through a forest and not hear the rustling that we’re used to on the mainland.

The only “wild” animals that really exist here are jailbroken farm animals. Feral pigs, cows and chickens roam free as the day is long. These foul were set loose from their coups after a hurricane ravaged the island over ten years ago and since there are no natural predators, they rule the roost.


Our first few days in Kauai were warm, but rainy. My plans of relaxing on the beach with a book and a mai tai were sadly not realized. We conquered our jet lag by hiking through the red mud (not my idea) to see some spectacular mountains. Having an Eagle Scout for husband means you sometimes are nudged off the sandy shores up into the muddy mountains wearing dorky hiking sandals. We may have deviated from our original plan, but I have to say, it was totally worth it.