Thursday, September 22, 2016

Off Oahu Exploration: The City By The Bay

Attention moms! Take time for yourself! It's imperative. It's a must. It's what I did this past beautiful San Francisco!

First annual Giiiiiiirls Trip was a mini vacation success! My off Oahu exploration combined a wedding, a fortieth birthday celebration, and kid free time---a trifecta of fun. And laughs. Deep belly, good for the soul laughs. 

There are too many sights in the Bay Area to squeeze them all into a few days, but we managed to check out the Peace Tower in Japantown, Golden Gate Park, The Presidio, Golden Gate Bridge, Fishermans Wharf, and the Ferry to Sausalito. Gotta save a few things for Giiiiiiirls Trip part two!

Being a bridesmaid in the wedding of one of my college roommates was a great way to kick off the weekend getaway. Bridesmaid duties included time at the Spa, making fresh flower bouquets, eating a most delicious Middle Eastern meal at the rehearsal dinner, and finally---biking in a four person Surrey from Ocean Beach to Peacock Meadow in Golden Gate Park (in full bridesmaid makeup/hair/attire). Trust, my Surrey was in the lead and the WINNER in the parade of Bridal Party Surreys! 

It was a glorious day in the park and a glorious day to witness two kids in love. Congrats Elaine and Benjamin!

The latter half of the girls weekend consisted of touring The City via Uber and by foot (calf muscle workout!). We stopped by the friendly and yummy Boudin at the Wharf---art and sour dough bread. 

I made friends with Chocolate Bear. 

Encountered Sea Lions (not pictured) and a lighthouse. 

Enjoyed a patriotic scenic view.

And even had a photo shoot at that "other bridge". 

We Airbnb'd in quaint Noe Valley---restaurants, shops, and neighborhood art galore. 

If you've never been to what Journey describes as: 

"When the lights go down in the City
And the sun shines on the bay
I want to be there in my City
Ooh, ooh"

Then you must make time to explore San Francisco. And if you can go with a group of friends like I did, even better. I love my Oahu, but getting away for a few days was rejuvenating. 

The song may be corny, but it's true. I think I left my heart in San Francisco. 

"Live, travel, adventure, bless, and don't be sorry." Jack Kerouac

Monday, September 12, 2016

O'ahu Mini Exploration: Ka Iwi Shoreline

It was a double hike weekend. Well, sort of. Saturday we pretty much rock climbed (see Oahu Exploration: Kealia Hike post). Sundays are for yoga, so we decided to take it easy and go for more of a stroll instead of an uphill, tear my knee ligaments hike. The perfect solution to this hiking dilemma: Ka Iwi Shoreline Trail. 

Most folks may know this area as:
1. The trail below Makapu'u Lighthouse
2. Pele's Chair
3. Alan Davis Beach

I knew it as none of those, because despite living on O'ahu off and on for twenty years, I have never ever been here---even though I've hiked the Lighthouse trail directly above a bazillion times. 

This was the perfect hike to follow up the previous days Northshore trek up the side of a mountain. This trail leads to the beach (perk number one) and is pretty flat (perk number two). This trail is so easy..."how easy was it?", that you can do it in rubbah slippahs and a bathing suit. No hiking boots or hiking stick required! Needless to say, this is the hike for beginners, kids, and those who could use some help on their fitness level. Me. 😜

We packed our beach gear in backpacks, parked in the Lighthouse parking lot, and made a fifteen minute walk down to the shoreline. It is here that you can see hang gliders, the back side of Koko Head Crater, and since it was an exceptionally clear day, we glimpsed Lana'i, Moloka'i, and Maui offshore. And now I'm adding "really good camera" to my list of things needed for hiking excursions. 

I'm sure we will return to this trail and beach often in the future. It is secluded enough that you feel like you are at your own private beach. There are rocks to explore and jump off of into the water. There are fish to admire. And the water is perfect for lazy day relaxing in your favorite oversized floatie. 

Our beach neighbors had the right idea by bringing a wagon full of their favorite toys and beach snacks. We weren't sure about how long we would be staying so we packed light...

...which gave us an excuse to stop at Banan for "The Amazon" as or post yoga, post mini hike, post beach treat! 

The real reason we love hiking. ⬆️

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Oahu Exploration: Kealia Trail

Here we are again, trekking across rocks, up mountains, into the clouds, through tall grass, in the rain, and back again...all in the name of exercise and exploration! And family time!

It's the weekend, so that has come to mean, "What trail are we adventuring through today?" We (meaning me) chose Kealia Trail in Mokuleia. There's not much out here, beach of course, a few homes, the Dillingham Airfield (home to SkyDive Hawaii), and this trail---known to those who call this area home as "Switchbacks". 

This was another "first time" for us. I was excited to try a trail behind an airfield, I knew we would get to see some cool planes, gliders, and helicopters on our hike. By the end of our journey we were literally at eye level with the planes! 

As with any hike that takes you up the side of a is bound to be an uphill struggle. I was feeling especially weary today with the ragged rock terrain underfoot. It might be time to invest in hiking boots. I used a walking stick for the first time on this hike and felt like a true hiking pioneer barreling through and over rock after rock after rock. 

As usual, I have some things I observed along the trail.

Tips for the Trail:

1. Water. Can't say this enough. This hike takes you up 1000 feet. So yeah, you get thirsty.

2. If you are allergic to bees, bring your overpriced Epi-Pen. We saw not one, but two and half bee-nados. That's right, if shark-nado can be a thing...then so can bee-nado. Luckily we managed to escape unstung! 

3. Parking is free, plentiful, and a little ways from the official start of the trail. You are parking in the lot behind the Airport Control Tower.

4. Picnic. Bring one. There's a covered table complete with graffiti and Instagram hashtags and user names scrawled all over it! 

5. Camera. Views of Mokuleia, Haleiwa, Dillingham Airfield, the Pacific Ocean---you'll want to capture them all. And maybe a few snaps of you and your hiking entourage.

6. If you are a bird lover, whether the man made kind or the nature made kind, you will see both! We observed an Erckel Francolin (a real life partridge in a pear tree!) and of course five varieties of Gliders. ( We even watched a military Chinook and two Black Hawk Helicopters practicing landing.

So, even though there are clearly a lot of positives to this hike, I'm good, and never need to do it again. Switchbacks was not for me. Of course, this was a unanimous favorite among the boys. Go figure.

We climbed this mountain! ⬇️ (Objects in I-phone photos may appear smaller than they really are!)