Senior pass

How you know that you’re definitely a “senior”: When they give you a lifetime pass that says so.

My lifetime national parks pass purchased at the Daniel K. Inouye lighthouse in Kilauea, Kauai.

Dick bought me a National Parks and Federal Recreation Lands Senior Pass (known between us as the Old Farts Park Pass), as I did for him when he turned 62. His pass (more poetically called the Golden Age Passport) cost $10 for life; mine cost $80. They increased the price for the first time in 2017 (after 23 years). Even so, still a bargain to enter all U.S. national parks and rec lands for the rest of my (hopefully long) life.

We got it at the Kilauea Lighthouse and Wildlife Refuge on Kauai, home to one of the prettiest views of a lighthouse (built in 1913) you ever did see.

Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge on the island of Kauai.

The lighthouse has been renamed for the late U.S. Senator Daniel K. Inouye, who was instrumental in raising private and public funds for the restoration of the lighthouse, completed in 2013 for its 100th anniversary. Built in 1913, the lighthouse (with its magnificent glass Fresnel lens) stands 52 feet tall on a rocky peninsula on Kauai, 180 feet above the Pacific Ocean.

But the other reason you go to the lighthouse is to watch seabirds flying like white kites over the impossibly blueblue ocean—the red-footed boobies (yep, their real name with their goofy scarlet footwear); the white- and red-tailed tropicbirds with their streamer-like tails; the wedge-tailed shearwaters tucked into their earthen nests in the hills around the lighthouse, and the ginormous Laysan albatross with “wingspan(s) as wide as Kobe Bryant [was] tall,” according to Hob Osterlund’s fine book, “Holy Moli” (the Hawaiian word for “albatross”).

All this on a glorious, sunny, not-too-hot Hawaiian Saturday afternoon? Perfection.

The Daniel K. Inouye Kīlauea Point Lighthouse (with its magnificent glass Fresnel lens) was built in 1913, stands 52 feet tall on a rocky peninsula on Kauai 180 feet above the Pacific Ocean.

About janishaag

Writer, writing teacher, editor
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2 Responses to Senior pass

  1. Connie Raub says:

    Congratulations, Jan on your lifetime as a “senior”!!! There definitely are some advantages, even if you don’t always get the respect you “think” you deserve, take advantage of the perks along the way and remember to be kind and generous to the “juniors” as well. They just don’t know better . . . YET! Love the Kilauea lighthouse and the birds! Keep “Inouye – ing” your time in Kauai! Aloha~Connie

  2. buzzardnotes says:

    I echo Connie. Welcome to the Senior World! Loved the lighthouse and so glad you got to see those birds. Did you know the Red-footed boobies nest in trees and can hang onto a limb with their webbed feet? Amazing!

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