Thursday, June 27, 2013

Hawaii: Maui

Although I don’t like to pick favorites…..Maui was my favorite island! Likely for these two reasons: waterfalls and beaches! Our ship docked for two full days at Kahului Bay- in the northern part of the Island. They made it very easy for us to park near the port, so we rented a car for two days (stayed on the ship at night).
Day 1: Hana Highway.
I heard it was a road of narrow hairpin-turns and was prepared for the worst. Yes, there were tons of turns and the bridges were 1-lane, but compared to the highways in Illinois--the pavement was in really good shape! And it was Sunday, so I didn’t feel like there was much traffic. Thanks to a friend, we had an excellent guide book (Maui Revealed) which basically took us on a waterfall scavenger hunt! Some were quick easy stops while a couple we hiked to, or drove off the road on quite an adventure! Here are some pictures on our road trip to Hana, and beyond!
Description from book: "¼ mile past the 13 mile marker, there’s a tiny turnout on the far side of the white 1911 bridge. About 800 or so feet (10-20 minutes) up-stream is a pretty and lacy unnamed falls on the Punalau stream (we’ll call it Panalau Falls). This is one you have a reasonable chance of having it to yourself for three reasons: You can’t see it form the road, it’s never been written about as far as authors know, and you’ll have to walk on the (*Usually) dry stream boulders the whole way. (When the boulders are wet they’re pretty slippery)." 
*Yup, they were super-slippery when we were there, but made for a fun adventure!

Ching’s Pond
 After mile marker 18—we turned on to a straight road into the settlement of Wailua and viewed this enormous, muli-tiered Waikani Falls, which drops 1,000 feet.

 Here's a look down on Wailua Valley

Upper Waikani Falls (called Three Bears Falls)

Pua’a Ka’a State Park:  two easily accessible waterfalls. We parked by a family of University of Illinois alums! My Illinois State University umbrella sparked their attention! 

Makapipi Falls: Directions- pull over on the far side of the bridge shortly past the 25 mile marker. If you walk out to the center of the bridge on the ocean side, look straight down. (Be careful not to topple over) you'll see you are directly above the spot where Makapipi Falls plunges into a large pool. [I had Nathan take these pictures!]

Blue Pool--I would love to hear from others if you actually got close to this one. It is our worst picture, but our most adventurous journey. Nathan likely won't want to talk about it, but I was persistent as in the book it is described as: "It's right out of a Hollywood movie set. When you're dreaming about frolicking at a waterfall, you're dreaming about blue pond." Hello--who wouldn't want to at least try to find this! If you look closely in the trees, you can see the tiers of the falls. 
Wai'anapanapa Black Sand Beach and Park

We did make it to Hana! And a couple of our favorite waterfalls were actually on the road past Hana!
Yes, Dad, there are cows in Hawaii!

Wailua Falls
Our final destination was 'Ohe'o Gulch- AKA '7 Sacred Pools.' It was a series of waterfalls and pools at the shoreline that was really amazing. 

On that note, I will end this blog post........I see have have way too many pictures of waterfalls (I think the book termed it 'waterfall fatigue!'). I will save the Maui Beaches for my next post!

Monday, June 24, 2013

Hawaii: Oahu (Honolulu)

Evan and Jaden both blogged about their adventures in South Dakota, so I’ll take the opportunity the next several posts to share about Nathan’s and my adventures in Hawaii! First stop: Honolulu on the island of Oahu.
We arrived early afternoon and had 24 hours before we boarded our cruise ship—so we decided to make the most of it. Of course that meant immediate beach-time!! 
         Waikiki Beach                 Diamond Head in Background

It was Friday night on Waikiki Beach, so we were lucky to enjoy the sunset prior to watching the fireworks on the beach. 

The time change was in favor of adventurous travelers! We were up really early and ready to find our first trailhead: Manoa Falls. A cab drove us out of the Honolulu area and dropped us off at the start of the trail. We appeared to be the first on the trail that morning. I had read a little online about the trail, and the word ‘muddy’ was repeatedly stated… first I thought, nahhh this isn’t that bad……
Then as I was clinging to bamboo trees, I realized what everyone was talking about! There was a hose at the end to rinse our shoes off, but yes, I did leave my shoes in Hawaii!

Clearly, the mud was so worth the breathtaking view at the end: My first Hawaiian Waterfall! Manoa Falls cascades150 feet down to a crystal clear pool.

Near the waterfall was the barely visible trailhead to Aihualama Trail. At first I told Nathan to ‘oh just go ahead and I’ll wait for you here’……(Yes, these big rocks were the start of the trail!)

I was so glad I decided to follow. The trail was quite a fun adventure through Bamboo Forests and near amazing banyan trees. 

If we would have had all day, the trail does connect with miles of other trails, but we had to turn around and get back to the hotel, shower off all the mud, and make our way to the cruise ship! I had wanted to do 3 things in Hawaii: see a waterfall, hike through a bamboo forest, and lay on the beach. 24 hours later---mission completed!
To complete my Oahu pictures: Jump ahead 7 days-- When our ship ported in Honolulu on our final day, Nathan and I spent the hours before our flight left visiting Pear Harbor. Here are some photos of the sobering experience on the grounds of Pear Harbor’s memorials, museums and exhibits.


Saturday, June 22, 2013

Jaden's Fun on the Farm with Grandma and Grandpa!

Sneaky.  That’s my mom.  I knew something was up when Mom put Evan and me in the car early one morning.  E and I watched videos, sang, slept and ate.  Then we stopped at a gas station.  Both of us had a diaper change and then oh, my, what a surprise!  Grandma Pam and Grandpa Al were there.  We got to play in some rocks and run on the cement.  Evan tried to get away, but Grandma was faster.  Then we were put back in the car.  There were good byes but wait--that’s not Mom driving my car.   Grandpa was driving my car!!  My car; but no Mom.  Sneaky.  
 After a long ride we stopped at this building and boy did we run.  Someone said, “Say hi to Aunt Laurie.”  I really didn’t care because there were long hallways and offices and many places to hide.  Some of Laurie’s co-workers are important people, but I didn’t care because they had books and balls and fun things in their offices.

After an additional two-hour ride we were finally in a house that looked familiar and some toys I saw before.  After pizza, a bath, a few stories we were in bed.  I woke at 5:30am just to have grandma to myself and it worked. 

Then the car was packed again and we were off to Grandma Linda’s.  I sure wish these people could make up their minds.  I heard something about Grandma Pam going to Steamboat Springs with Laurie.  At least I get to keep my car.

On Monday, Grandma Pam picked us up. That night Ethan from Illinois too was next door and came over to play.  I was more interested in the riding lawn mower the guy in another house was using, and Evan wanted to climb the steps of the people behind Grandma.  Yes, we did fight over the car just like we do at Miss Lauren’s.

Tuesday we finally got to go to the farm.  Grandpa made a farm for us in the basement, but this was the real one with cows, tractors, cats and dogs. I was glad Mom sent farm clothes and boots because I discovered how much fun a fresh cow pie can be!  It’s really just like mud.  We got to drive the 4-wheeler, see the cows, the bulls, and drive the tractor.

On Wednesday, Grandma and Grandpa went to a funeral and Heidi and Kerry came to stay with us.  They were fun!! It was chilly, but we went to the zoo after our naps.  They sure have a lot of quack quacks there.  We really liked the chickens.  There was a merry go round at the zoo that was so fun, and we even held on all by our selves. Later that afternoon Kerry’s daughter Abby came to play.  She had painted toenails and liked playing in our tent. 
Reinforcements showed up on Thursday.  Aunt Laurie let us do stuff I don’t think Grandma was always happy about.  She also gave us vanilla wafers for snacks.  I like her. One day she was in charge, and she let us play in the garage.  Yes, mouse traps are toys!  She bought us this Strider bike, but I would rather ride on the trike or the car.  I know I will use the strider at my house. 
We went to the farm again--a bit warmer than the last time.  Boy I like that tractor!  I threw a fit when Evan was driving---so Grandpa gave me a second ride and I got to go with him and move some hay.  I think Dad needs one of these in Illinois. We also got to feed the bulls and the cats. I like all the stuff at the farm and hope someday Grandpa will let me drive the tractor myself. 
When Grandpa was home--we would go to the basement door and whine.  Worked every time.  I like the big barn and fence in the basement.  Sometimes I would just sit in the fence.  Sometimes I moved all the tractors to the tent. We could jump off the couch and always Grandpa would catch us. On rainy days, we went to the mall that had a new play area.  We were the only ones there, even though Evan ran to the jewelry store, it was fun.

Wait---another early morning--car is packed and we are strapped in.  Here we go---we are still in our car.   I don’t like car rides, but Grandma sings with us--so it is not so bad.  Another McDonalds.  I really got Grandma - she changed me, put me down and I went to the corner of the bathroom--you guessed it--I stooped and grunted.  Now Grandma was talking about it raining outside and needing to get a new diaper---I just laughed.

After a long, too long of a car ride we started slowing down. We drove into a garage.  Hey, I know this place; I wonder if Mom and Dad are here---yup there she is!!! And around the corner, there is Dad and all of my toys.  It is a good feeling to be back to ‘Normal’!

A Big thank you and 'Happy Birthday' to guest writer: My mom, "Grandma Pam!"