Aloha, friends!

I know it’s been a week since I last posted, but I have a very good reason for that! For our birthdays (Grant’s and mine are four days apart), my sister and her girlfriend sent us to Maui for four days! We left very early in the morning on the 10th and came back late at night on the 13th. Have I mentioned that I have the best sister ever?! Anyway, I’m spending the next couple days catching up on the blog. Starting now.

As I said, we took the very first flight to Maui the day after my birthday (which is when we found out she was sending us to Maui), so we had to be up pretty early to get to the airport for our 5:05 flight. Through the windows on the flight, we could see the bold colors of first light that precedes the sun, telling us it was going to be a good day. Sunrise We landed in Maui and went in search of a rental car. While Grant took care of the car, I started looking up things to do in Maui. We couldn’t check into our hotel until 3pm, so we had a good 9 hours to kill from the time we landed, with no access to our room’s shower (for comfort’s sake, this ruled out snorkeling). We decided on the “Road to Hana,” a 50-mile winding highway along the island’s northeastern shore. Along this stretch of highway are an astounding 59 bridges, 46 of which are only one lane wide (meaning you yield to oncoming traffic before crossing). If you’re only driving the highway, it takes an estimated 2.5 hours to traverse. But if you’re me, stopping every 5 miles or so to get photos, then it’s a day trip. After all, it’s about the journey, right?

The first place we stopped was a lookout over a beach park where surfers were taking full advantage of the waves coming in. DSC_2939

Looks like a dangerous place to surf.
Looks like a dangerous place to surf.

And the other side of it was a beautiful rocky seascape. DSC_2943 DSC_2964

This Hawaiian Monk Seal is enjoying the sun.
This Hawaiian Monk Seal is enjoying the sun.

We found a eucalyptus forest along the road.

I can't get over the colors of the bark!
I can’t get over the colors of the bark!

Across the road from it was a serene pastoral scene. DSC_2996 And we continued on our journey, making frequent stops along the way.

I made Grant very nervous standing at the edge of a cliff for this shot.
I made Grant very nervous standing at the edge of a cliff for this shot.

DSC_3043 DSC_3049 We met a couple new friends at a park along the way.

It's Rikki-Tikki-Tavi!
It’s Rikki-Tikki-Tavi!
This little one made me miss my cats at home.
This little one made me miss my cats at home.

And, of course, the obligatory waterfall shot.

Silky smooth!
Silky smooth!

The trip back was definitely faster, as we didn’t have to stop as often for photos. By the time we got to the hotel, we were beat.

Stay tuned for more on our adventures in Maui!

Mahalo,

Jen

 

 

After a very relaxed July 4th, where we went and watched a movie (Man of Steel) and stayed home the rest of the time, we were ready to tackle another hike. I wanted to give Grant a taste of what hiking is in Hawaii. So, we decided to revisit Hamama Falls, which Devlin and I had enjoyed on a rainy morning. This time we had the whole crew. Kels has a 4-day weekend. Hamama Falls is listed as a moderate hike because of the steady incline that really gets your blood pumping. We figured it was enough of a challenge for Grant, but not too much of one to deter him from going out again (so Three Peaks is not a good idea for a first hike). It was a much brighter day than when Devlin and I hiked it last, so we sunscreened it up. DSC_2891 It was pretty brutal. We made lots of short stops in what shade we could find, and dipped our toes into little streams along the way. DSC_2886 But we eventually made it to the falls. DSCF4187 IMG_5402 Kelsey promptly climbed them, monkey that she is. DSCF4185 And Grant took off his shoes and let his feet soak in the cool water. DSC_2896 We passed a handful of people this time, but we still had the falls to ourselves. I think this is a hike best reserved for a cloudy day, because it is pretty exposed for most of it. Grant says he’ll stick to the “easy” hikes in the future. I guess you have to work up to the more difficult ones.

Speaking of which…

I’m thinking of running a contest for my readers. I’ve only got a few more weeks here, and I want to take full advantage of my time, but I also want to engage you all in my trip. I’m going to create a new contest and link it to my Facebook page. So keep your eyes open for that.

Mahalo, as always,

Jen

Yesterday, Devlin and I headed out to Hamama Falls. The trail leading up the falls is actually a service road used by the Board of Water Supply, so it was pretty easy to traverse, if a little steep at times. The air was heavy with water, so with nowhere to evaporate, the sweat from our exertion was dripping down our faces, even though it wasn’t particularly hot. In fact, this entire valley seems to get quite a bit of moisture, just judging from the lush foliage and the mushrooms growing on trees. DSC_2802 IMG_5333 DSC_2782 Hawaii is a popular place to film movies and TV shows. I found out that Manoa Falls was one of the filming locations for the next Hunger Games movie, Catching Fire. Jurassic Park is another movie franchise that has footage filmed on Oahu, so sometimes our hikes are reminiscent of those films. Then we run into structures like this: DSC_2787 and we’re convinced that we’ll run into a pack of Compsognathus, or perhaps a Velociraptor. Alas, no dinosaurs for us today. Instead we were rewarded with a lovely waterfall. DSC_2805 IMG_5341 No hikes on the agenda today or tomorrow. We need to rest up for Koko Crater on Saturday, which all the reviews say is a beast of a workout. Looking forward to getting my butt kicked by it!

Mahalo,

Jen

I hiked to my first waterfall in Hawaii yesterday!

DSC_1999 The trail leading up to the falls is well shaded (which my healing sunburn appreciated very much), and very lush.

DSC_2023 Look at how green the canopy is! It was wet, as it is a rainforest, and that made the trail slippery and very muddy at some points. It also makes the perfect conditions for mosquitos. There were swarms of them, and I took home plenty of welts as a souvenir of this trek. But we managed to slip and slide our way up to the falls without donating too much blood.

DSC_2041 DSC_2043

The way back down was even more challenging, so I grabbed a piece of bamboo lying along the side of the trail and used it as a walking stick. I left it at the beginning of the trail for the next hiker to use.

I would definitely do this hike again, but with bug repellant!

Mahalo,

Jen