Archive | August, 2012


31 Aug

The great thing about hiking on Maui is the variety of environments you get to explore.  You could be hiking through lush, green rain forests in the morning, and trekking through dry, sunny lava fields in the afternoon.   Last weekend we discovered yet another unique hike that left us feeling like we were in northern California or back in Washington state.

We left Kihei and drove an hour up to Polipoli State park.  Just after we passed the Kula Lavendar Farm, the road narrowed and we began switchbacking the rest of the way up.  The views were breathtaking.

Polipoli sits within the fog belt of the Kula Forest Reserve at about 6200 feet.  When we left Kihei it was sunny and 76 degrees.  When we got to Polipoli the temperature dropped to 60 degrees, and the fog that surrounded us gave the park such an ethereal feel.  The misty haze drifted across the road and seemed to float above the trees as if they were on fire.  It was very eery.

Eventually the paved road we were on became a dirt road which appeared to be one part dirt and three parts wood chips.  We were going to attempt the drive to the campground so we could do the 4 mile loop trail, but did not trust the Nissan Sentra we were in to make the trek over all the potholes (especially since it was a rental).  We parked in a little dirt turnout close to the boundary trailhead and embarked on what became an 11.3 mile hike.  Ouch! But definitely worth it!

I was amazed at the variety of vegetation that surrounded us along the way.  We would be walking through a forest of pine and cedar trees (which smelled like Christmas, ahhhh)….

….and suddenly we would be surrounded by hundreds of fresh fragrant eucalyptus trees.


There were groves of bare branches……

…. and a forest of redwoods.

There was even a trail surrounded by hydrangeas.

This is definitely one of the best hikes I have ever been on.  The trail was well marked making it impossible to get lost.  There was not a single soul in the park that we could tell, and the solitude was nice.  It wasn’t very strenuous, but enough to get your heart rate going, and the views were amazing.  It was cool and crisp, and the grey dreariness was actually a welcoming feeling when you’re used to sunny and 83 degrees.  (I am not complaining; it was just a nice change of pace.) This is definitely not something I would expect to find on an island in the middle of the Pacific ocean, but a must do hike if you’re ever here!!


I think Tyler was getting tired of all the pictures I was taking.

It started raining 3 miles before the finish. Sooo refreshing!!




Hurricane Isaac

28 Aug

Sister Hazel’s “Where Do You Go” came on the iPod shuffle this morning on my way to work. I haven’t heard it in quite sometime, and I thought it was very coincidental that is came on today.

Every hurricane season makes me a little nervous. I am reminded of all the devastation Hurricane Katrina brought to the gulf coast. I remember watching as the sad story unfolded on TV and feeling helpless; wanting to do anything I could to help all the poor people that were affected.

New Orleans has come a long way, but there are still so many reminders in the city of how powerful mother nature can be. My thoughts and prayers go out to all my friends and family back home, as well as, all the rest of the folks weathering the storm.

It’s all down hill from here….

24 Aug

…..yeah right!  This is what Tyler kept saying as we kept going on our 15 mile bike ride!  I didn’t intend to go 15 miles.  I probably should have eased in a little bit.  But, I am determined to reach my goal!!  Let me start from the beginning.

A few weeks ago I was researching things to do on a possible trip to the neighboring island of Lanai, when I came across the Munro Trail.  It was my intention to take the ferry over with our bikes, take a shuttle up to Lanai City, and start the trail just north of Koele Lodge.  I mapped it to be about 6-7 miles one way.  I knew it would be quite strenuous, but I thought, “How hard can it be?  It’s just like riding a bike!”

The problem was that I hadn’t been on a bicycle in years! And by years I mean probably seventh grade, and I am now 29.  I decided to purchase a bike (Tyler already had one), and start riding more often to prepare myself.  We ride to the gym as often as possible, which is almost 4 miles roundtrip.  Then we decided to take a trip to the Makawao Forest Reserve, in beautiful upcountry Maui,  to check out the trails up there.



We decided to start with the east loop because we thought the switchbacks would make for an easier ascent.  The entire loop was almost 6 miles.  I thought this was going to be a piece of cake. Wrong!!  It was a lot tougher than I thought.  We only got about a mile and a half in, and I was struggling.  In fact, there were several times I had to get off my bike, and push it uphill (pathetic I know).  I was thinking “What on earth did I get myself into?”   The combination of the trail riding as opposed to riding on a smooth road, the steep ascent, and maybe the elevation of about 3000 ish feet made it pretty difficult for a first time trail rider.  Tyler of course had no problems.  I am sad to say we turned around at this point.  It really was downhill the whole way now.  And it was a blast.  I began to pick up speed, and the feeling of the wind blowing, the sights and smells of the forest racing by, and the adrenaline rush were all worth the trouble of getting up there.

A couple of weeks passed, and I decided I wanted to try again.   I mentioned this to Tyler, and he suggested we ride down to Makena instead.  It’s paved road the whole way with several hills to traverse (good practice).

We left our condo in Kihei and set off for Makena.  Our plan was to stop at White Rock Beach, and decide then if we wanted to go further.  It was a beautiful day, and the first part of trip was along the beach with beautiful ocean views.  We encountered our first  hill as we turned to head up into the town of Wailea.  And it was a big one.  I made it!  All the way up without getting off and pushing!  The reward was a beautiful coast downhill into what I think is one of the most beautiful places on Maui.

Wailea  is a luxurious resort area, and probably the most posh part of South Maui.  It is home to resorts like the Four Seasons and the renowned Grand Wailea, a Waldorf Astoria hotel which is absolutely beautiful.  The streets are lined with Monkeypod trees and all sorts of beautiful tropical flowers.  As we rode up and down the hills the fragrance of plumeria and the feel of tropical breezes was intoxicating.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~We continued on past Wailea to Makena.  After almost 4.5 miles, we reached White Rock beach and decided to take a break.  This is actually the beach we took our wedding pictures on.  It is a beautiful beach with incredible views of Kao’olawe, Molokini Crater, and West Maui.


Then we decided to try out the new panorama app I found for the iPhone.

After we rested Tyler insisted we keep going until me made it to Makena Cove, another 3.5 miles!!  I wasn’t worried about the ride there. I was worried about making it back.  Of course, Tyler used the same persuasion, “Its only a couple of hills, and they arent bad.”   Again, Yeah right!   I agreed and we continued on.  We made it, and stopped to enjoy the views and a quick snack.

Makena Cove is the beach we were married on so it holds special meaning for us, and every visit is full of pleasant nostalgia.  It is a very small beach with outcroppings of lava rock on both the south and north ends as well as right through the middle. The contrast of the black rock against the white sand and blue green ocean waves is breathtaking.

After Tyler bribed some sunscreen from a couple of beach goers we set out for home.  Shortly after our trek back started we saw Steven Tyler ride by on a bright orange motorcycle.  (I thought about flagging him down to give me a ride the rest of the way back).  2 liters of water later we arrived at beautiful Keawakapu beach and decided to take one last break.

We finally made it home 15 miles later.  I can’t even put into words how exhausted I was.  But I was proud to have made it so far.  Next time I might take it a little more easy, but I am one step closer to my goal!

Happily Ever After…..

17 Aug

Today I would like to honor two very special people in my life.  My Mom and Pop celebrate 55 years of wedded bliss. They are one of the happiest couples I know, and when Tyler and I were planning our wedding 2 years ago, it was their advice on maintaining a happy marriage that I sought out the most.

Every year on their anniversary they share a sweet tradition of giving each other the same two cards that they have been exchanging for years. They add little notes of remniscence of years gone by, but the card is the same. The result is a box full of love notes that tell a romantic story of a love that has stood the test of time. A true example of how profound the simplest token of affection can be.

They still hold hands, and they still say “I Love you.” Even more wonderful, they extend their love to so many others whether it be friends, family, or perfect strangers. They always have so much to give, and their’s is a relationship to emulate.

Some of my best childhood memories were spent with them, and while they had their fair share of hardships, you would never have known. There were always smiles & laughter and plenty of hugs and kisses between the two. They lean on each other, and its very apparent the strong bond that they share. Its amazing that after 55 years of marriage they still act like they are newlyweds.

Thank you Mom & Pop for setting the example of how true everlasting love should be.  You are truly and inspiration.  May you have many more years of love and happiness to come.

Sharks, Barracudas, and Turtles… Oh My!!

15 Aug

It’s one of my favorite weeks of the year…SHARK WEEK!!!!! I am absolutely in awe of sharks.  There is something very intriguing about something so terrifying.  It’s also amazing to watch all those brave crazy researchers come up with the most daring ways to learn about these fascinating creatures.

Tyler and I both want to visit South Africa where huge great white sharks breach waters off the coast in order to make a meal out of poor, unsuspecting seals…..

All this shark talk has made us consider doing an actual shark dive.  Back in April, while I was on assignment in Austin, TX, I signed Tyler and myself up for a scuba diving certification course.  It was a big surprise for his 30th birthday!!

I knew we were going to be coming back to Maui soon, and thought this would be the perfect place to do some awesome dives.  It took about two weeks of self-study book work, two days in the pool, and 4 dives in lovely lake Travis (where the visibility was maybe 15 ft.) for us to earn our open water diver certification.  We had so much fun and became great friends with the instructors and staff at Dive World.

We recently had the opportunity to go on our very first boat dive.  We booked with Ed Robinson’s Diving Adventures, and were very pleased with the knowledge and skill level of all the dive masters on the boat.

We met up at the Kihei boat ramp at 6:30 in morning, loaded our gear and traveled to our first dive destination, Molokini Crater.  We have snorkeled here before and had a blast; so were were really excited about diving here.

I started to get nervous on the ride out because we had not been diving since our time in Lake Travis.  The whole way out I did a mental checklist of everything I was supposed to remember.  We anchored at Reef’s End, and got a quick debriefing on the depth we were to dive and what we should expect to see.  I could feel my heart beginning to beat faster as I geared up.  I stood at the edge of the boat, said a silent prayer, and jumped off into the deep, blue water.

My first feeling was one of relief.  My BCD worked, I was floating!!  My regulator appeared to be functioning properly, and I began to relax.  We regrouped at the descent line and readied ourselves to submerge.  Releasing all of the air in my BCD, I slowly started to sink.  I looked around and couldn’t believe the amazing clarity and the beauty of the amazing ocean world around me.

We bottomed out at a depth of 50 feet, and followed divemaster Dave along as he guided us through a beautiful reef filled with tons of fish and beautiful marine life.  We saw a lot of the same fish we see on our many snorkel trips, as well as an abundance of new species.

The creepiest thing we saw was a barracuda who appeared to be about 3-4 feet in length.  He was so still he appeared to frozen; suspended at a depth of about 30 feet, with dead eyes and scary teeth.

We saw a white tip reef shark pup, lots of eels, and two big beautiful green sea turtles.  However, the highlight of the trip for me occurred on our second dive.  We were at a depth of about 40 feet when our dive master spotted an octopus.  He was medium sized, and a deep purplish brown color.  When startled he squirted ink everywhere and swam off.  He changed colors to a white with purple spots as he swam away.  It was incredible!!

I am truly in awe of this whole new world we have discovered.  It truly is like being on another planet.  I see a lot more diving in our future, and who knows, that shark dive may be more in the near future than I thought.


Another day in Maui……

12 Aug

So far this weekend has been great!! Yesterday was full!! We woke up early, had our morning coffee and yummy tropical smoothie (Thanks to the best hubby in the world) while gazing at the beautiful ocean view from our lanai.


Went to gym for a great workout (my arms are killing me today), and then explored some of South Kihei on our bikes!!

Late afternoon we headed over to one of our favorite beaches, Thousand Peaks, to meet up with some coworkers/friends.  This is a fantastic beach, and the one that we have been learning to surf on.  The beach gets its name because there are usually a ton of waves rolling in at any given time, you almost always have a wave you can ride.  However, today the waves were pretty small so we just hung out and enjoyed the sun, sand, and great company.

Heather & Me

You can see Kaho'olawe in the background

Bob came too!!  Bob is Kat & Brad’s pet chiuaua.  He is absolutely adorable.  I think he really liked Tyler because when Tyler layed down, Bob proceeded to walk over in front of him, hike his leg, and “mark his territory.”  We could not stop laughing.  (Except for Tyler that is.)


This wonderful day was concluded with date night at one of our favorite restaurants, Cuatro.  It has an asian fusion flare, and everything we have had there is beyond amazing.  Our favorite is the Ahi tuna nachos.  It is a wonton on a bed of Kula greens, topped with ahi tuna and guacomole, drizzled with a truffle aioli and an asian chile sauce.  Sooo yummy!!!

Ahi Tuna Nachos

Such a perfect day!! Can’t wait to see what the rest of the weekend brings!!!

77 days

11 Aug

Today I realized we only have 77 days left in Maui…..77 days!!! I can’t believe it.  My how time flies.  So many memories made, and so many more to come.

For the past year Tyler and I have been on one amazing adventure.  There have been so many times when we both have said, “We need to remember this moment, write it down .  We don’t want to forget.”  In fact, from the moment we met there have been so many unforgettable moments.  This is one of the main reasons I wanted to start this blog.  To keep a journal of sorts, to keep a record of all those amazing moments, and to hopefully inspire others to live life to the fullest.  Here’s a look into my wonderful, crazy, ever changing kaleidoscope.