Archive for October, 2008

Maui Day 4 (The Day of the Big Mama)

Saturday, October 18th, 2008

Truthfully, I don’t have much to report on from yesterday. That’s probably the way it should be since it was dubbed “the day of the beach”, no?

Lars was desperate to find a beach that had some remnants of waves so that he could go boogie boarding…we were told the beach up the way, D.H. Fleming State Park, was good for that but when we went to check it out we were both underwhelmed. Our plans shifted and we then decided to try and find a beach that had decent snorkeling and attempted to find a beach called “Slaughterhouse Beach”. This was mildly unsuccessfully as we ended up at Honolei Bay, but after yesterday it is now my favorite beach over Kapalua. The criteria involved in this hard decision were as follow: a) less pigeons, b) waves to boogie board, c) sandy first part of the beach that eventually becomes a place for snorkeling, d) shade created by a cliff with beautiful pine trees, and e) less pigeons. I just hate pigeons.

After the beach, we freshened up and went on our “date” night to Big Mama’s Fishhouse, that was independently recommended to us by both Geoff & Alex. It met expectations AND we had a neat window seat looking out over the ocean. Too bad it was dark, but I’ll bet it would have been gorgeous at sunset!

We opted not for dessert at the restaurant and topped off our extraordinary meal with a 2 dollar milkshake at McDonalds. Vanilla. Hey, it was good.

Maui (Days 1-3)

Friday, October 17th, 2008

Woops. So I’ve missed a couple of days in blogging. Our new hotel doesn’t really have the internet. And by “doesn’t really have the internet” I mean “doesn’t have wireless”. I mean, could blog and post later but that would be too simple for me. So, this is what I’ve got.

Our last day in Kauai, and first day in Maui, was pretty uneventful. I made Lars stop at a Borders (oh no!) to pick up some more books. Have you ever seen that Twilight Episode where there’s the last man on earth and he loves to read and its like he’s in heaven because he’s in this land surrounded by books? Then he steps on his glasses! Oh noes! That is what being on Maui would have been like for me without books. However, if there is a Borders on Kauai, there is certainly one (or eight) on Maui…it is much more built up than Kauai and we passed 2 and a Barnes and Noble on the way to our hotel.

We checked into the Napili Kai which is right next to my favorite beach ever, Kapalua. We had gotten in kind of late so just grabbed some grub at Maui Taco and then went back to the hotel room. The next morning we woke up and decided to make it a beach day and spent most of they dat at Kapalua. I went snorkeling a couple of times but mostly just read my book. I don’t remember nearly all of the blood-hungry pigeons on Kapalua from when I was here 10 years ago. There was this woman lying next to us on the beach and she started to feed them. Oh god. Then like approximately one millions pigeons swarmed here and she started trying to shoo them away. It seems to me commons knowledge that pigeons are flying rats who will swarm you if you try and feed them so just don’t do it and then just accept that you will get eaten alive by them and stop shooing them away. Seriously. Lars spent a majority of his time at Kapalua snorkeling in seach of the elusive sea turtle. Guess what? He found two of them and raced out of the water to find me so that he could show them to me. I got on my snorkely gear and followed him over to this rocky area where he had seen them. All of a sudden two BEASTS OF A TURTLE started swimming toward us. I had no regard for Lars’ life–I just turned around and swam like hell towards the beach. Yeah, I’m a nansy pansy, but I can’t even explain how huge this turtle was and we were in this rocky area that was very hard to navigate and I was afraid. As you read this blog, you will most likely come to the conclusion that I am afraid of many animals. If only they were wild sea golden retrievers.Blood Hungry Sea Turtle at Kapalua

We ate dinner that night in Lahaina and then had sub par ice cream for dessert. Boo.

The next morning we woke up early to drive the Hana Highway. The book we had said we should be “on the highway” no later than 8am since its such a windy road and so many people drive it. So, we got up around 6am and were on the road by 7am. We got to stop at Starbucks on the way in and I got some oatmeal with dried fruit and my first ever (no, really) iced mocha. It was like a frappuchino without the frap. I thought it would be a little sweeter than an iced coffee wiht a flavor shot. Yeah, wrong. It was so decadent with whipped cream on top. What was I thinking. I tried to pawn if off on Lars by selling it as “chocolate milk with a little bit of coffee”. This got him excited since he was a little tired. Then he took a sip and was like “blech”. Yeah, sorry dude.

The road to Hana was gorgeous–although Lars will tell you that it looks exactly like Huron River Drive. (!?!). No one threw up and we ended up not being too crowded on the road itself. The book we had was a little misleading–I mean, sure it pointed out a lot of places you could go but a lot of the places had “private property” on them and trails that essentially fell off cliffs. We did eventually make it to Hana and drove a little further beyond to the Seven Sacred Pools. Hamoa Beach in HanThere we did about a 4-5 mile hike up to a waterfall-there was this awesome bamboo forest that we had to walk through for the last 1/2 of our hike. Bamboo is intense. It seemed like a perfect place for a feral pig to hide. When the wind blows through it and all the hollow bamboo reeds are clinking together–its just pretty awesome. At the bottom end of the hike was the Seven Sacred Pools which were closed for swimming due to flooding. There was some gnarly surf out in the ocean near it. Maybe that is why. *Shrug*

We then continued on the South Road back (ie, not the Hana Highway) and stopped by Charles Lindberghs’ grave at this beautiful quaint little church. The guidebook we have says that his doctor’s in New York told him he had very little time to live, and against their advice, he flew to Maui so that he could spend his final days on the Southeast Shores of the Island. He died from lymphoma about a week after landing, if I am remembering correctly.

The rest of the south road “home” hugs the coastline and is very rocky and unevent—its really only a one to one and a half lane road so its a little harry scary if you need to pass someone at a section around a blind corner that drops into the ocean. Luckily, we were never faced with a death match like this. We made it home in one piece and then just flopped into the hotel room after dark and chilled out. We were both pretty muddy from the hike so had to take showers–somehow whenever Lars takes a shower he always manages to flood the bathroom. Geeze.

Today, I think, is a beach day!

Kauai Day 6 (Helicopters!) & Day 7 (Hikes?)

Monday, October 13th, 2008

Yup–I’m a little behind so I’m lumping these past two days into one entry.  Jimmy crack corn and I don’t care. 

Firstly, helicopters!  We had debated about actually doing this because it was a little pricey and we had already done some amazing hikes that gave us great views of the Na Pali Coast, which is the main reason we wanted to do the helicopter ride.  Well, we ended up deciding that we would do it–and we would go balls to the wall and do it with pizazz!  Meaning we entered the helicopter with jazz hands waving.  Actually we took a helicopter with no windows or doors.  They seat you according to height and weight and I was in the front of the helicopter–the best seat in the house along the right-hand side.  There was a woman from Virginia smooshed in between me and the pilot and Lars was the poor-man’s seat–back behind the pilot.  When the pilot and his ground crew (one man who kept telling us the pilot used to be a convicted felon…) strapped me in, I kind of freaked out because I did not feel very “restrained” in this contraption that was about to fly 100s of feet in the air over mountains and the sea, but I kept my cool because I didn’t want to be “that girl who freaks out on a helicopter”.  My right cheek was kind of hanging over the edge of the contraption so I snuggled up to the woman from Virginia and we became “fast friends” at least in that I was invading her personal space without even getting to know her last name!  

Soon we were off and flying–it was AWESOME.  It was actually really easy to get over the fact that we were in an aluminum can just darting about in the sky.  The pilot was very informative and took us into these great little canyons with beautiful waterfalls.  We saw the waterfalls that were featured in Jurassic Park (this movie and “6 Days, 7 Nights”, and “South Pacific” are serious business here on Kauai, as they were all filmed here).  Looking down on the Na Pali Coast and seeing the clear water and the reefs beneath us was totally surreal.  We tried to get as good as pictures as possible but, ya know, we were in a helicopter so they turned out not totally clear.  

The only real downside to the helicopter ride was the motion sickness.  We had the option of doing a 90 minute tour or a 60 minute tour and after we were finished, both Lars and I were glad we had done the 60 minute tour.  Lars felt sick pretty much the rest of the day, although it was waning as the day went out.   He has no doubt he would have hurled on a 90 minute tour.  I probably would have, too–but if I threw up, it would have gotten over everyone in the helicopter due to my prime positioning.  Man, now that would have been embarrassing. Crisis averted!

After the helicopter ride we drove to the Secret Lava Pools near Hanalei and just explored these lava pools bursting with sea life.  There was hardly anyone there–the surf was kind of high so a lot of the pools you couldn’t see directly in but there was one that pretty calm and had TONS of fish and crabs and urchins in it. Can I use the word awesome again?  Oh, yes.  It was AWESOME. 

Yesterday was the day of “the hike” and by “the hike” I mean the one that Lars REALLY wanted to do and was going to take us all day.  Its cool, though–I actually had a semi decent time.  It was a loop trail near Waimea Canyon that gets out towards some really fantastic view points along the coast.  You take one trail down about 3.8 miles, hike along the cliffs for 2 miles, and then go back up another trail for 3.1 miles which dumps you on the road about 2 miles upstream from where you parked your car.  When Lars GPS’d it all out, it looks like we did about 12 miles overall.  

Most memorable part of the hike–well, obviously the views from Lolo Point.  From every angle, this gave a beautiful canyon new and different views  Also, there was one section of the trail where a small sign said “washed out trail ahead, proceed with caution”.  I didn’t think much about it but was certainly cautious as I was crossing it–it was loose dirt at an decline against a cliff…there was a drop off to our left but we couldn’t really see it behind where the loose dirt just kind of fell out of view.  After we got around the corner, Lars said “that was the craziest piece of trail I’ve ever done”.  Apparently if you took a misstep you would have just fallen to your death.  I’m pretty sure I’m glad he told me that AFTER I crossed that section of the trail. 

My true fear came when we were in 5 foot tall grass and kept hearing a blood-hungry goat bleeting nearby.  I expected him to launch an all-out sneak goat attack at any moment so I was on my guard.  Lars was just laughing at me. 

We made it back to the car around 4:30pm, drove back down Waimea Canyon, and treated ourselves to expensive, albeit good, Pizza for dinner. 

Today is our last day in Kauai.  We’re off to a beach in Hanalei that we saw near the lava pools that looked…dare I say it…awesome.  

 

Kauai Day 5 (The Day of Nothingness)

Saturday, October 11th, 2008

I don’t have much to report on today.  We went to Wal-Mart in Lihue to pick up a couple of toiletry items and then came back to the hotel to go to the beach.  We just went to the beach right outside our hotel but the waves weren’t really crashing in very convenient locations–either 1/4 mile off shore and near, what appeared to be, jagged rocks…or right onto the beach.   I mostly just stayed on the beach but Lars seemed determined to catch a wave and kept paddling back and forth along the beach trying to find the perfect spot.  At one point, I looked up and he was the farthest one out and I frantically waved my arms like a mad women trying to catch his attention.  I’m not an expert on rip currents or waves or sharks but it just seems like maybe he shouldn’t have been out that far by himself.  God I am neurotic…but worrying about Lars killing himself seems to be a daily routine. 

After the beach, Lars decided to go for a hike along the coast.  I stayed back to lounge about and read a book…I would not see Lars again until 7:30pm.  Turns out he parked at a lot about 3 miles away that closed their gates at 6pm…so Lars had to jog back to the hotel.  We’re planning on picking up the car this morning as long as wild goats/pigs/chickens haven’t stolen it.   Well, we better get it because later today we’re taking a helicopter ride and need to find a way to get to the airport!

Kauai Day 4 (The Day of the Death March…er Na Pali Coast Hike)

Friday, October 10th, 2008

Lars and I decided to do the Na Pali Coast yesterday–its, in total, an 11 mile hike to your final destination and most people, obviously, camp on the beach and then hike back the next day. Lars and I got about 5 miles into the hike to a good look-out where you could see both sides of the sea cliffs and then turned around. I think Lars was a little sad about that, but that’s okay–we saw many things on this hike (plus we had little water left!).

There was fruit EVERYWHERE. There’s no way you could starve on this hike (my worst fear ever). Guava trees everywhere and little broken guavas littered the trail. They were kind of beautiful and smelled like citris in some areas–and compost in others. Has anyone ever smelled a compost pile and thought “mmmm lovely”? Well I have and I did not—but it was still nice to know if we had to, we could eat our way out of the Na Pali Coast.

The trail was barely ever steady–you’re essentially going in and out of multiple canyons so the trail is going up and down multiple times. This actually made it a lot less grueling than the mountain hikes we have been on even though we netted a very similar level of elevation game (almost 4,000 feet according to Lars’ GPS).

After the pig incident in Waimea Canyon (see day 2) I was a little wary of wildlife. My fear heightened when we ran into a backpacker who said a herd of goats was just around the bend. My chest tightened–Lars assured me that goats were safe but hasn’t he ever heard of blood-sucking goats…the infamous CHUPICABRA? Perhaps they have migrated to Hawaii. Hell, I would if I was a goat.  Well, we did come upon the herd and there were two big goats with horns along with a couple other non-horned beasts. I thought I saw a glimmer of death in their blood-hungry-herbivore-eyes as they munched carefree on some palm bark. Lars kept taking pictures but I rushed him out of there–I probably saved his life. Who knows when goats may attack.

The trail was hardly isolated although once we got past the two mile marker, where there is a beach in a valley, most people just turn around.  After this point, the trail thinned out quite a bit. I was wearing a Michigan shirt and had no fewer than 4 comments regarding it “go blue go blue go blue”—the Michigan Mafia is in full force on the Na Pali Coast. Although, to be fair, one of the people who commented was wearing a Michigan State shirt so he doesn’t count.

After about 7 hours of hiking we made it back to the Ke’e beach where the trailhead starts. Lars jumped in the ocean for a refeshing swim (that jerk) while I sat on a rock and waited for him to stop frolicking with the fishies. Then we went to the next beach over where we knew there was a truck that solved Shave Ice. This lead to a debate of if it should be Shaved Ice or Shave Ice and we really were in no capacity to discuss grammar–which lead to this being more of an off-hand mutterance. Still hungry, we drove into Hanalei of “Puff the Magic Dragon” fame (I dare you to be in this town and to not get this song stuck in your head) and scoured for substanence. Although Subway sounded SO good (and very in line with our hiking repertoire of hikes past), we decided to try a little local place called “Tropical Tacos”. Hey, they were advertising Fish Tacos and I’m a sucker for those like you wouldn’t believe. It turned out to be the right decision. These tacos were GIANT and were so so so good. Oh man. Totally satisfied and very glad we didn’t eat at Subway.

About halfway home we also got milkshakes negating any calories burned on the hike. Oh, but it was worth it.

Today we’ve no plans–perhaps just a relaxing day reading and enjoying the view.

Kauai Day 3 (The Day of the Beach)

Thursday, October 9th, 2008

Eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth, beach for a hike.  Well, at least that’s how I see this trip–since we went hiking the day previously, I thought it only fair that our third day in Kauai be all about the beach.  We trekked over to the West Side of the Island (past Hanalei of “Puff the Magic Dragon” fame).  It took about an hour and a half from our hotel to get to Tunnels Beach but the guidebook we had said it was a “nirvana” for snorklers.  I knew I had to keep Lars entertained because heaven forbid he sit on a beach and “relax”–so the snorkling aspect was a plus.  Also, it really was a beautiful snorkler’s paradise–almost as soon as our heads were submerged we saw amazing fish of every shape and color.  My favorite was a little black and white speckled puffer fish.  So cute!  

Speaking of cute, there was this golden retriever on the beach and I couldn’t really tell who he belonged to.  When Lars and I packed up, he followed us in a very obedient manner about 1/4 mile down the beach where I was praying his owner might magically appear so that I wouldn’t be forced to make a “sophie’s choice” decision and leave a golden retriever stranded on a beach in Hawaii.   Okay maybe it wasn’t that dramatic but the guilt of leaving an obviously lost dog behind is a lot for someone like me.  I should clarify..an obviously lost CUTE dog.  

We watched the sunset at Ke’e Beach which lies adjacent to the Napali Coast.  The moon was rising over the jagged green sea cliffs just as the sun was setting.  One of the most beautiful sites I have ever seen.  Another amazing feature of the beach was this little crab that kept digging a hole in the sand.  I could have watched him for hours.  He’d go down into his hidey-hole, then come up with a little claw-full of sand and fling it onto the beach with such panache!  He worked on that almost the entire time we were there and it was pretty impressive.  In a true anxiety-ridden moment, we also saw a bunch of people digging around in the sand for a person’s lost wedding ring.  Yikes.  I left mine at home. 

The drive back was full of…hunger.  We had eaten Doritos and Gatorade during the day and Lars was determined to use the condo kitchen that night so no eating out for us 🙁  I had pb & j/cheese & crackers and Lars had Mac n’ Cheese.  How romantic.  

Kauai Day 2

Wednesday, October 8th, 2008

We woke up in the morning without a clue of what we were going to do in the day. Of course, I knew Lars wanted to hike (and I secretly wanted to knock one of the hikes off our agenda) so we agreed to drive up Waimea Canyon and check out “The Grand Canyon of Hawaii”. After a brief stop at the Starbucks across the street (bless you, Starbucks) we initiated our drive. Lars was holding it together okay for a brief period and then it all went to hell as soon as the look-outs started popping up. Its okay though–in his defense, it was very beautiful. Looking down on a canyon full of red hues topped with trees–white birds with fanning tails swooping around below–a waterfall in the difference. It was a little more than awesome.

We went on an approximately 4 miles hike that took us down one a cliff adjacent to the Napili Coast. We had to hike through really dense forest on a trail that is only maintained by Volunteers–no real formal upkeep. There were small colored pieces of plastic tied around trees to help guide us on the trail. This kind of worked? It was easy to get lost initially because there are many hunting trails around the area that are not part of the main trail. At first, I was like, “hunting for what?”. Alas, I would soon find out. After we hiked a little less than a mile in, I heard this horrible screeching noise. Lars had mentioned that there were mountain goats in Hawaii but this was no mountain goat. I had forgotten that Hawaii still had wild pigs and this definitely sounded like oinkers. (side note–I did look this up later and its true–wild pigs in Hawaii!: http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/344556/wild_pigs_overrun_hawaiian_mountains.html)

Now, I was a little freaked out when I initially heard this pig. Have any of you ever seen Princess Monoke? If so, you will know why. I kept freaking out but finally we made it to a ridge where we were not deep in a dense forest. The view we beheld rivaled none–it was a breath-taking view of the Napali Coast on a sunny day. Jagged green cliffs shooting up from the sea dropping many feet below. One of the most beautiful places I have ever seen. Plus there were dragon flies all around which created kind of a mystical quality to the hike as well. Lars has started posting photos of our hike here:

http://www-personal.umich.edu/~jensenl/visuals/album/2008/kauai/

Also, there are lots (LOTS!) of roosters in Hawaii. At first we got a kick over our (probably never used) “chicken crossing the road” joke. Then it got old. Lars thinks roosters are beautiful, though. I think they ‘re creepy. Especially feral roosters. I’m afraid they’re going to attack and poop and peck on my head. Truth. Birds are gross.

Dinner last night was at the resort where we are staying’s main restaurant, plantation gardens. Lars had baby-back ribs (sweet revenge on the crazy pigs!) and I had a curry seafood stew. In hindsight, I wish I had gotten something less heat because man was it hot last night.

I slept last night for 12 hours straight. Was so tired but it felt so good. I woke up at intervals and vaguely remember Lars telling me at midnight “a gecko fell from the ceiling!”. Woke up in the morning to find this was a true story.

Today–we are off to Tunnel Beach!

The Wedding & Kauai Day 1

Monday, October 6th, 2008

Well–we’re married. Its true. Can you believe it? I can’t. Today Lars was on the phone with the helicopter rental place and he said “my wife and I are interested in taking a ride in your helicopter”. So cool!

The wedding was truly everything we could have ever wanted. We’ll get “official” photos in a while (although many of our friends have been posting photos on facebook/flickr/picasa, etc). We had fretted about “the first measurable instance of rain in 6 months” making its way to San Diego (and by “fret” I mean obsessively checked the weather sites every hour) but all was well and we had big dramatic clouds in the background and we ended up getting spit on a little bit by rain in the ceremony and then it poured during the reception while we were all indoors. I am told this is good luck. I think this is good luck mainly because it would totally suck if it rained on your outdoor wedding ceremony. Truth.

I remember being cloistered in my dad’s office ready to walk down the aisle at Scripps and seeing that people were milling about. I remember pacing in that office for about 3 hours and sending Kate outside to help getting the show on the road. I wasn’t “ready to get it over with” but I was certainly “ready to get the show on the road”. I was pretty calm and collected until about the last 15 minutes when I started freaking out. However, my dad did tell me a joke about a Swede, a Norweigan and a Finn as we were walking down the aisle. Well, the photographer DID tell us to smile.

Everything went perfectly–Lars’ little brother, Mike, read some Scandinavian Proverbs and my uncle John read some beautiful sonnets that Pablo Neruda wrote for his wife. Lars and I mostly nailed our vows and the ring exchange and I didn’t burst into hysterical laughter and spit in his face when we had to kiss. I was, for lack of a better word, in the zone.

Photos galore after the ceremony. Its true what they tell you–hardest part of the wedding is getting through all those photos. So worth it but even harder when you have an extended family that rivals a circus troupe.

Finally we got to the reception where Lars and I scarfed food and then tried to make the rounds as best as possible. We did a little dance, too, to Josh Rouse’s “Nothing Gives Me Pleasure”. We really just swayed back and forth after renditions of “the lawnmower” “the flight attendant” “saturday night fever montagues”. We chickend out, basically. Its okay. We had a pretty awesome grand entrance to Hell’s Bells. Oh that was awesome and the perfect song for the entrance. My dad and I did our father daughter dance to “Wildflower” by Tom Petty. This song was PERFECT. I am surprised I haven’t heard it at more weddings.

After the festivities of the wedding (including some awesome head-banging wtih my cousin Trevor), Lars and I went to the Grande Colonial in downtown La Jolla where we promptly realized we were starving and ordered a large pizza and coke to scarf down. Nice. It was a wonderful hotel and I truly enjoyed just lying in bed and taking it all in. We were both exhausted and SO SO happy.

Now we’re in Kauai for our honeymoon and starting the first of a 16 day vacation. Sooooo amazingly wonderful. We boarded a Hawaiian Air flight early this morning and after a full day of travel we’re here in this beautiful locale. We walked along this neat hiking trail to watch the sun set this evening. This place is kind of a cliche for weddings but oh its so wonderfully appropriate of a cliche. There’s no place I would rather be than right here. Tomorrow we’re going to check out some waterfalls and hopefully get some sun and beach action into the mix.