Archive | October, 2012

Kalalau Trail

23 Oct

After much research, Kalalau trail was at the top of my list of trails to hike while we were on Kauai.  It offered a great physical challenge, lots of adventure, and plenty of beautiful views.  Round trip the hike is 22 miles and would require us to pack in food and equipment, and would take at least 2 days to complete.  Sounds amazing right?!?!  But with only 6 days to explore the island we knew we would have to plan that experience for another trip.  Ugh, I guess we are gonna have to go back to Kaui! 😉 

We decided instead to hike the first 2 miles in to Hanakapiai Beach and back.  It was an amazing experience, and definitely motivated our desire to complete the whole thing.

It took about 20-25 minutes to reach the trail head from our B&B.  Parking was tricky, but we finally found a good spot.  We started a little later in the day than we had planned, around 1115, but it worked out great.  There were definitely lots of people hiking, but it wasn’t overly crowded.  There were even times when it felt like we were the only two on the trail.

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The trail was well tread and meandered on for two miles.

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I was astounded when we caught our first glimpse of the Na Pali coast.

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The views were jaw dropping the whole way.

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Kalalau Trail

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 Hanakapiai Beach finally came into view.

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We knew we were really close when we saw this sign.

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(Paradise sure can be dangerous)

We eventually came to Hanakapiai stream….

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….where we boulder hopped….

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….all the way down to….

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….Hanakapiai Beach.

Hanakapiai Beach

Hanakapiai Beach

We stopped for some rest and a snack, and made a new friend before heading back.

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Kalalau trail is definitely on my top 5 list of favorite hikes.  If you are ever on the island I recommend checking it out.  Even if you only walked a mile or so in you wouldn’t be disappointed.

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New Year’s Resolutions

22 Oct

Okay, okay I know what you’re thinking….It’s not even Halloween!  How can you be thinking of New Year’s Resolutions?  Well, I say to you, you can never plan too far ahead for anything:).

I recently had a discussion with Tyler about all the things in my life I have always wanted to accomplish, but never really thought were possible; become fluent in spanish, learn to cook like Giada De Laurentiis, play the piano and the list goes on and on.  I decided these things weren’t impossible, they just require the initiative and discipline to follow through.

I got really excited as we were talking, and decided I would set goals for myself 3 at a time.  I promptly voiced that my first three goals would be to learn Spanish, play the piano, and train for a sprint triathlon.  Tyler just looked at me and shook his head.

What? I could totally do it.

He nicely suggested I not take on so much at one time because I might get burned out more easily and give up.  I hate when he’s right.  Then I remembered a blog post I read by A Beautiful Mess.  I was inspired.  I decided to be more specific in my goals, but instead of giving myself until 2013 to accomplish them, I would turn them into resolutions for the year.  I wanted goals that would have a positive impact on my life and would stimulate my brain.

So here are my 2013 New Year’s Resolutions

  1. Learn Spanish.  Becoming fluent in Spanish would be an amazing accomplishment for me.  When I worked a contract in Austin, TX, a lot of my patients spoke Spanish as there first language.  It was then that I started seriously thinking about learning to speak it.  Although we had translators, I think it would have been so much more therapeutic if I would have been able to communicate with them on a more personal level.  Spanish is such a beautiful language, and I think being bilingual  opens up so many doors in that you are able to understand a different culture in a whole new way.
  2. Read 1 Biography every 3 months.  I love, love, love to read.  But I have noticed rarely do I read anything other than fiction novels.  Unless you count Redbook or Women’s Health magazines. I don’t.  There is just something about taking a break from the everyday, and getting lost in another world.  But its time to expand my library.  People are fascinating, and I always love to hear stories of perseverance & rising above it all, or just how someone handles what life throws their way.  I thought that reading trues stories about notable celebrities, historical figures, or successful moguls might inspire me.  At the very least I think broadening my library will introduce me to new writing styles which could prove to be very influential.
  3. Do at least 10 minutes of cardio exercise 5 days a week.   This may actually be more difficult than learning Spanish.  Just kidding.  I actually like being active.  However, I would not call myself a “gym person.”  On average I probably work out 2-3 times per week, and some of that is in the gym on the treadmill or elliptical and doing strength training exercises.  But a lot of it is done by just getting outdoors and having fun, which I prefer.  I love hiking, biking, surfing, playing (at) tennis, swimming, etc.  However, I don’t see the types of results when it comes to weight loss that I would like.

Part of this is probably my diet, but a lot of it has to do with consistency.  I will be really diligent about going to the gym for a few weeks, and then life happens and before I know it it’s been a month since I’ve been.  My overall goal is to be as healthy as I can be.  I figure if I do that everything else will fall into place.

I hear all the time you should try to do at least 10 minutes of activity everyday.  So that is what my goal is, to strive for consistency.  Sure there will be days when I do more than 10 minutes of cardio, but for 5 days of the week there won’t be any less than that.  Wish me luck!

So why, you ask, am I planning these resolutions so far in advance.  Well, for someone who likes to gather as much information as I possibly can, this gives me plenty of time to formulate a plan.  I find that I am more successful with the follow through if I have an outline or strategy in place.  A little neurotic I know, but it works for me!!

I have two months to research the types of biographies that would be most interesting to me, and the best way to go about learning Spanish whether it be Rosetta Stone or taking a class.  It also gives me time to work out an exercise routine that works for me.  Although, I may have to start working on this resolution a little earlier with the season of eating upon us.  

I like the idea of blogging about my progress because it helps hold me accountable. Hope you enjoy my journey, and as always any suggestions for good books to read, resources to learn from or just healthy encouragement are welcome!

Kauai through my Kaleidoscope

21 Oct

Kauai, much like the other islands in Hawaii’s chain, has a very diverse terrain and many different climates, all within a very compact area.  You might spend an afternoon frolicking in a rain forest, then drive an hour and a half and experience dry desert like conditions.  You can spend a morning enjoying tropical weather on a white sandy beach, and then visit the “Grand Canyon of the Pacific” the very same day.

Although it is only 33 miles wide and 25 miles across at its widest point, you could probably spend a year there, and not come close to experiencing all there is to see and do.  We only had 6 days so, of course, we packed in as much as we could.

Here are the highlights!

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Our first stop was Menehune Fishpond.  Hawaiian fishponds are structures built   by ancient Hawaiians.  They were low lava rock walls typically built around shallow reefs that allowed fish in but not out.  Our first glimpse of these amazing architectural phenomenons was on our trip to Molokai.  The legend is that this particular fishpond was built in one night by mythical Menehune (little Hawaiian leprechaun people).  Beautiful!!

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Wailua falls is a beautiful 173 feet of cascading water that fed Wailua River.  ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Spouting Horn is the name of Kauai’s blowhole.  It seems like each island has it’s very own.  What is a blowhole you ask?  In this case, it is a fascinating structure carved out by nature.  It’s an opening in a lava rock shelf that has been eroded by waves.  As water crashes into the shelf it is expelled up through the opening and the result is an explosion of spray that appears as a beautiful “spout”.  It was hard to capture the brilliance in a picture so I have included a short video.

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Rainbow Eucalyptus trees are some of nature’s most beautiful and unique creations.  Their trunks are striped with green and red bark, and the color almost seems neon.  It looks like someone took a paintbrush and painted each one.  They can be found in several locations, but I was finally lucky enough to snap a few pics on Kauai.

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Queen’s Bath, located on Kauai’s north shore, is a natural “pool” carved right into a lava shelf.  During calm seas you can spend all day swimming or snorkeling here.  But, if the seas are rough, like they were the day we were there, you definitely don’t want to get in.

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Needless to say, we remained safely on the rocks and took in the beautiful views of the Na Pali Coast.

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We wanted to check out Kilauea lighthouse, but it was under renovations.  We did, however, find that it was located on a wildlife refuge which offered beautiful views

and we finally caught a glimpse of the infamous Nene.

This Hawaiian goose is endemic to the islands, and on the endangered species list.  We have seen lot of Nene crossing signs all over the islands, but this is the first time we actually got to see them.  Cute little guys!!

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Waimea Canyon is considered by some to be “the Grand Canyon of the Pacific.”  It really is an amazing sight to see.  It’s hard to believe you could find something like this in a tropical paradise.  The canyon is 10 mile long, 1 mile wide, and up to 3,500 feet deep.  The drive up was beautiful with plenty of photo ops along the way.

The lookout at 3,500 feet was the perfect place to take in the enormity of the canyon.

And I got to be a Hawaiian princess for a brief moment.

Once we reached the end of the road we were treated with an incredibly breathtaking view of Kalalau Valley.

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I could probably go on all day about everything we did and saw, but these are just a few of my favorites.  Hope you enjoyed seeing Kauai through my kaleidoscope!!

What do cable cars, Google, and the Tanner family have in common?

20 Oct

They all have ties to San Francisco!

What’s that got to do with the price of tea in “Chinatown” you ask? 

Well, this just so happens to be the location of our next adventure….eeep!!!

It has been over a year since Tyler and I started traveling with my job, and I can’t believe we haven’t made it to the golden coast yet.  California has always been on top of our list of places to live.

I am excited about my assignment.  I will be working in a highly regarded facility, and will have exposure to some of the most advanced medical technology in cardiovascular care.  It is a welcome challenge, and I look forward to spending my weekends off exploring the “land of milk and honey.”

There is so much to do in the Bay area and we have 3 whole months to explore!! Here are the top 3 reasons I am most excited to explore the city by the bay.

  1. Family first!  Tyler grew up in SoCal and still has lots of family there.  I, too have family there, and my brother, sister-in-law, and my nephews and niece are going to be living in the same area we will be.  I am so happy we will have the opportunity to spend more time catching up.
  2. Sights and attractions. The Golden Gate Bridge. Chinatown. Lombard Street (the crookedest street in the world). Fisherman’s Wharf. Pier 39. Golden Gate Park. Alcatraz. Ghirardelli Square. Food, food, food. And tons of museums.
  3. Location, location, location.  Northern California is full of so many activities, especially for the outdoorsy types like we are.  The Bay area is within a short drive to so many attractions.  We (I) could be tasting wine in Napa valley one weekend, and skiing in Lake Tahoe the next.  We could spend a couple days exploring Yosemite National Park or a weekend in       L. A. is only a short flight away.

There are countless things to do in California, and our location couldn’t be more perfect for another amazing adventure.  Hope you will enjoy following  our travels.

Any suggestions for things to do in the area are welcome!!

The Garden Isle

18 Oct

Recently we were fortunate enough to spend 6 glorious days on the “Garden Isle” of Kauai.  It was a long overdue vacation that left us both feeling relaxed and re-energized.

For those of you who know me well, you know I’m kind of obsessive about planning vacations, or really just any excursion.  Tyler would call it a sickness; I call it being efficient.  I research as much as I possibly can about the location we are going to: things to do, places to stay, eat, shop etc.  Then I try to pack as much into each day to ensure that we don’t miss a thing.

It has afforded us some amazing experiences, but we are usually so exhausted at the end of our trip that we need a vacation from our vacation.  For this reason I promised Tyler I would make sure to plan “downtime” on this trip.

It turned out to be the best vacation I have ever been on.  We were able to see the whole island, fit in several hikes, taste some amazing food, and still have plenty of time to, as Tyler would put it, “vacate”.

We stayed on the north shore for 3 nights and the south shore for 2.  We chose to stay in B&B’s the whole time because we love meeting new people, and it was a great way to see parts of the island we probably wouldn’t have traveled to if we had stayed in a hotel.

The north shore B&B was hands down my favorite location.  We stayed in a little town named Kilauea at the River Song.  Everything was perfect, from the delicious breakfasts of exotic fruits and yummy banana bread, to the sounds of a rushing river to sing us to sleep.  The hospitality shown by our hostess Nicki was unsurpassed, and it was the perfect location with easy access to so many north shore activities.  River Song is definitely on the top of our B&B list.

We stayed at the Strawberry Guava B&B on the south side of the island for our last two nights.  It was very cozy and the breakfasts were great!  So great, in fact, that Tyler even tried to take another guests’ half eaten papaya off her plate!!  This addiction is seriously getting out of hand.  

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River Song & The Strawberry Guava were the perfect home bases for exploration of  Waimea Canyon, Kalalau trail, Poipu, Queen’s bath, and so many other wonderful Kauai sights.  Stay tuned for highlights!

Molokai Memories Part 2

14 Oct

The next couple of days spent on Molokai were spent relaxing and enjoying the beauty of the island.

Day 2 started with a yummy blueberry smoothie!! It was made with blueberries purchased from a local grocer/snackshop which set us back a whopping $18!! Totally worth it!!

Afterward we set out to explore beautiful Halawa Valley. Tyler actually let me drive!!!

Which was surprising considering the road was narrow, winding, and cliff side much of the way. (Tyler is not a very good car rider).

There were beautiful vistas ….

towering waterfalls….

and great views of Halawa Beach.

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This is probably the best drive on the whole island.

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We stopped at a beautiful beach on the way back to take in the view of Maui from across the channel.

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Later I relaxed with a glass of wine and we watched the USC vs. Stanford game…. (USC lost!!)

….and then a fun game of poker (I won!)

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Our last day was spent lounging poolside by the ocean 🙂. I can’t think of a more relaxing way to end a perfectly chill weekend!

We had fabulous views of Lanai and Maui.

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It was a perfectly clear day and the ferry back was smooth sailing. The weekend on Molokai was just what we needed, but we were glad to be back home.

Maui No Ka Oi!!

Molokai Memories Part 1

13 Oct

A few weeks ago we attended a silent auction in Hana, and won two tickets for a round trip ferry to the neighboring island of Molokai.  We only have a short time left in Hawaii, and it has become our goal to hit every island in the chain.  We decided to take advantage of a recent long weekend, and took the Molokai Princess from Lahaina Harbor early on a Friday morning.  The trip took about an hour and a half and we were treated with amazing views of Lanai and Molokai.

Molokai is a very small island, and it’s a great place to come and relax and do absolutely nothing.  Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of hikes and water activities, but this is a place you come to literally get away from it all.  It’s said to be the most Hawaiian of all the islands, and it definitely has that laid back feel with some of the most breathtaking scenery I have ever seen.

We disembarked on the hot, dry west side of Molokai and took a shuttle to the airport where we picked up our sweet ride!

Our first stop was Kumu Farms where we indulged in a yummy snack.  Kumu farms is a largely organic farm that’s most popular crop is the sunrise papaya.  This has become Tyler’s favorite Hawaiian treat, and we couldn’t wait to visit the farm most responsible for what has quickly become an addiction.  It’s sweeter than a regular papaya with a pinkish red flesh that gives it it’s name.  We bought lots of other fresh goodies and made a little picnic of papaya and apple bananas.

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As we headed east we were amazed at how desert like the terrain of the west side appeared to be. Dry grass, bare trees, and dust in every direction.  But the rise of the mountains in the distance was beautiful.  The contrast of the east side, where we stayed,  was tropical, green, and lush.

We made it to our condo, and the location could not have been more perfect.  The condo fronted the ocean with a perfect view of Maui, Lanai, and on a clear day Kaho’olawe.

And the lush, green, verdant mountains were in our back yard.

We got settled in and decided to head over to Pala’au State park.  This is where we found the overlook to Kalaupapa peninsula.  While the beauty of this place is breathtaking, it holds a very sad but important part of Hawaiian history.  Kalaupapa was once a place of exile for people who had Hansens disease (leprosy).  This was before people understood the disease and its treatment. Father Damien was a missionary who ministered to the medical, emotional, and spiritual needs of these quarantined people, and today remnants of his mission are evident all over Molokai.

Kalaupapa sits at the bottom of some of the tallest sea cliffs in the world and there is only one trail in.  Its about 3.2 miles one way and descends 1600 feet.  You can hike in with a permit, but you also have an option to take a mule ride down.    This was supposed to be a nice relaxing, chill vacation, and the thought of sitting on a mule that was carrying us down the edge of a cliff did not instill a relaxing image in my head, so Tyler and I opted to take in the views from the lookout.

After taking in the beauty and history we took another trail that led to a phallic rock that, as legend has it, is known to increase fertility in those who pray there. Oddly enough it’s shaped like, ahem….. well see for yourself….

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Tyler and I intentionally refrained from saying any prayers at this location. (Maybe we’ll come back in a couple years!! :))

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We decided to head back to Kaunakakai, the “bustling” town center of the island,  for dinner.  We were in the mood for fresh fish, which we thought would be easy to find on an island.  Wrong!  It seemed like everywhere we went, they were out of fish.  In their defense it is more difficult to keep fresh fish, and on an island with so few restaurant goers it can be an expensive challenge to keep them on the menu.  We just thought it a funny coincidence that, despite the ocean on all sides, it was a chore to find fish!

We decided to stop at a place called Paddlers Inn that had a very laid back casual atmosphere.  We saw Ahi, Mahi Mahi, and Salmon on the menu.  And a veggie burger!  When it came time to place our order the conversation went something like this:

Waitress:  What would you like to order?
Tyler:  I think I’m gonna have the Mahi Mahi.
Waitress:  We are all out of the Mahi Mahi.
Tyler:  Okay, then I will have the Ahi.
Waitress:  We are all out of the Ahi, but we have Salmon.
Tyler: I think I’ll go with the veggie burger.  Do a lot of people like the veggie burger?
Waitress(hesitantly):  Yes.
Kim:  I’ll have the chips and salsa.

A few minutes later the waitress come back and much to our dismay said “Sorry, we are out of veggie burgers.”  WHAT?!?!  So Tyler ordered the Salmon, and we hit up the local pizza joint on the way back to the condo for a slice of cheese pizza, a quick game of PAC man, and a prize winning game of lazy crane.

We were exhausted when we got back, and decided to call it an early night. Which was a good thing because we were promptly awakened at 5 am the next day by the crowing of a rooster right outside our window.  It definitely made for an interesting start to another fun day.

Stay tuned for the rest of our adventure!

To be continued……..