Oh Lord, Won’t You Adopt a Mercedes Hound?

Here’s a taste of the spectacular sunrise photos from this morning; more are at the end of this post.

sunrise from the lanai

We spent another day today with a pooch from the Kaua’i Humane Society. We were running a bit behind getting there and, having seen how things worked a few days ago, I knew we couldn’t be too late or we’d risk not having a dog to take out. So Steve stayed behind to get the sandwiches we planned for lunch while I went on to the shelter to pick out a dog. Although there were several still to choose from when I got there at 11:15 (they opened at 11:00), there were also a few other couples behind me and more coming in, so I was glad to get there when I did.

Although I absolutely got the dog I wanted to take out for the day, I also made my selection with Steve perhaps bit more in mind than when we got Dallas. While I am drawn to the brindle pups, Steve has a certain fondness for hound dogs. And thus it came to pass that Mercedes came out with us for the day.

Mercedes

Mercedes in Jeep

Mercedes was a much different dog than Dallas, much more in need of a reassuring pat on the head and frequently making quick check-ins with us to be sure what she was doing was okay. But she was an incredibly sweet dog who warmed up throughout the day, her tail lifting and wagging happily.

We made use of the Jeep for the second day of our rental by driving out to the Maha’ulepu Beaches. The road to the beach area is pretty dicey in a regular car, so this was a good chance to get out there. Actually, we didn’t know just how bad the road was and we had tried to take Dallas out there at the end of our day with him. It was on the humane society’s list of dog friendly beaches, so we didn’t question the directions as much as we should have. It had taken so long for Steve to navigate the rental car around the ruts, potholes, and undercarriages of cars past, that we pretty much had to turn right around and head back when we got to the end of the road. Traveling over it today in the Jeep, looking down at the size of the potholes from above, Steve and I both wondered aloud how in the world we’d managed not to destroy the car the other day. As I told him, lots of adjectives were appropriate, but carefully, skillfully, and luckily were some that spring to mind.

Steve in Jeep

We started the afternoon by eating our sandwiches on Gillin’s Beach. Mercedes is not a treat-motivated dog and paid no interest in our sandwiches, instead spending the time sniffing around the area. After lunch, we walked down the beach, keeping doggy foot pads in the cool waves as much as possible.

Anne walking on beach with Mercedes

We followed the beach to a stream and crossed a bridge built when Pirates 4 was filming in the area, where we were able to visit Makauwahi Cave. This is Hawaii`s largest limestone cave, the richest known fossil site in the islands, and an active archaeological site. So, it check three big boxes on Steve’s list of interests.

Anne & Mercedes at Makauwahi Cave Reserve

Makauwahi Cave Reserve

Makauwahi Cave Reserve

There was a sign indicating dogs were not allowed in the cave, but this actually worked out fine, with Steve and I taking turns heading in while the other walked with Mercedes around and up onto the overlook.

Anne & Mercedes overlooking Makauwahi Cave Reserve

Makauwahi Cave Reserve

Makauwahi Cave Reserve

Afterwards, we walked back to the Jeep and drove further along the road to Kawailoa Bay where we walked along the coastline on the sandstone cliffs above the ocean. While similar to the sandstone cliffs just next to Shipwrecks Beach that we’ve walked on before, including the other day with Dallas, these are much less trafficked by tourists and have some killer features where the waves have worn away the sandstone in interesting patterns.

Mahaulepu coast

Mahaulepu coast

Mahaulepu coast

Mahaulepu coast

Mahaulepu coast

Mahaulepu coast

We also came across a small blowhole, and, on the other side of the trail, a gasping, wheezing future blowhole.

blowhole on Mahaulepu coast

The dragon breath noises emanating from the baby blowhole were a cause of some curiosity to Mercedes.

Mercedes and the Dragon's Breath

There were (unfortunately) no waves to walk in on the cliffs, and eventually Mercedes needed a rest. She laid down under a tree to cool down and doze.

tired Mercedes

tired Mercedes

I sent Steve off to explore a bit further down the coastline while I sat with her, then we traded places when he returned. I hurried along the coast until I came to the very end of the sandstone cliffs, just before Ha’ula Beach. There’s a beautiful little cove there with a lava shelf that would make for excellent tide pooling or lounging when the conditions are right.

Mahaulepu coast

But the real prize was just beyond that, where I found a gaping maw in the sandstone, filling up and emptying with the ocean waves.

gaping maw on Mahaulepu coast

Mahaulepu coast

Trying to gauge the nature and length of this hike, Steve had asked me earlier if there was a pot of gold at the end or if we were walking just to walk. I had told him it was the latter and we could turn around any time we wanted. With black clouds starting to threaten, I made my way quickly back to where he was waiting and told him that there was a pot of gold after all that he couldn’t miss. I gave him instructions on how to get there, made him promise me he wouldn’t fall in, then took may place under the tree with Mercedes.

10-15 minutes later, Mercedes had long-stopped panting and had woken from her snooze feeling refreshed and lively. I gathered up our bags and walked with her to the end to the cliffs to find Steve, who was just finishing taking his pictures.

The clouds had passed uneventfully, so I gave Mercedes’ leash to Steve and he walked her along a bit while I snapped a few more less-rushed photos.

Steve with Mercedes

The passing storm had cooled the air significantly, so we had a nice walk back to the beach where I let Mercedes cool down in the waves for a bit before we packed back into the Jeep for the ride back to the humane society.

Steve in Jeep with Mercedes

Once again, the return to the shelter was not fraught with angst or stress, but a happy tail wag and butt sniffing when Mercedes met a puppy in the waiting area. After a quick kiss on the head good-bye, Mercedes went happily back with the caretaker who obviously knew her well, and Steve and I filled in the fieldtrip diary.

I told the woman at the front desk what a great day we’d had, which relieved her because she said the last person who took her out said Mercedes was tense the whole time. I told her Mercedes was just fine and that she just needed a bit more reassurance before she could settle in. I also told her their next challenge was to figure out a way to do something similar with the cats. She agreed in that way that conveys accurately what a challenge that is. She mentioned that they had rented out a room at a neighboring facility a few weeks ago and held of one-day Cat Café. It sounds like *maybe* they’re investigating a way to do something like that on a more permanent basis. I was very encouraging of the idea.

We returned the Jeep to the rental agency with absolutely no problem, no questions about the mud on the outside or the sand on the inside, no proclamations of new scratches or dents. I’ll grant you, we were very careful to keep the Jeep in good condition, but we had clearly driven it. This was nothing but a positive experience renting through Kaua’i Jeep Rental. I told Steve we should probably treat ourselves to one Jeep rental day on any future trip we take to Hawai’i. We’ll spend some time going back through The Book, make a list of the places that require a 4WD to get to, and start ticking them off our list!

Steve with Mercedes

It was a phenomenal sunrise this morning, definitely worth getting my butt down to the beach.

sunrise from the lanai

sunrise

sunrise

The sunrise was so awesome that a line of dinosaurs were being led right into it, like moths to a flame!

dinosaurs marching into the sun

This morning, I also noticed several crabs digging holes in the sand.

crab coming out of sand