Piece O’ NYC: Camp Lolanor Recap

Our apartment is back to being quiet. We had a lot of fun with Camp Lolanor! We did a lot, ate a lot, and enjoyed observing teenagers — they’re like research experiments to us! Ella and Lola are both great kids. I hate how fast Ella is growing: it breaks my heart. That’s what having and giving these fun memories with her is all about though, I suppose. We asked the girls to name their favorite things that they did while at camp, and it was the smaller things — like finding latte art — that got to me and squeezed my heart. While I hate to see them grow, it’s nice that they’re developing an appreciation for chilling like adults. It blew my mind away that Ella just wanted to sit in the park and read a book. How nice is that?! We’ve got too many similarities now, Ella. Sitting, reading, and drinking coffee is what I’m all about.
 

We did several touristy things, like going to the Brooklyn Bridge Park, a musical, Times Square for the Toys R US store and a Hunger Games Exhibit, etc… We even took them on a sailing trip (but I don’t recommend the Friday sunset sail with two teenagers — it sorta ruined the romance for other couples we think … lol). We also played it by ear and made impromptu visits to Top of the Rock, walked to a cool bookstore in Brooklyn, and had a spa night where us girls put up our hair and put on face masks. It was loads of fun!My husband was the best camp coordinator and went to the musical with them (I took the night off). He also very adorably eaves-dropped on their conversations because he’s a ‘nosy’ uncle and all (I knew he wanted to be sure they weren’t talking about boys, he just won’t admit it…). And though we’ll miss our little coffee partners in crime, camp season is officially over for us! I’m whooped and poor Jeff had to catch a red-eye to Brazil the same night he dropped Ella off at the airport. I can’t wait to have him home for a little ‘us’ time.

More pics can be found below. I took plenty of the girls together, so that’s the stream you’ll see mostly. They’re the cutest “besties”!

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Kauai, last day…

I know that a 3-week vacation is extravagant, but if you can do it you definitely should. I am almost ready to be heading home which is good. We leave Kauai tomorrow and have not quite 2 days on Oahu and then, BAM, it’s back in Sherman.

We went to Po’ipu today. More sitting on the beach except that I did take my laptop and work on supply lists until the battery ran out. Thankfully it only took 1 1/2 hours. Then I looked up and saw this:

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We sat in the shade at the far end of the beach by the ‘kiddie pool’. This is a great place to sit! Everyone snorkeled but me but, gotta say, I’m just not that much into fish so i was good with that. I did swim a bit but the surf was way up. I took photos of waves that were completely average so I deleted them. The world can live without more photos of waves.

We saw green sea turtles early on, near us…

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And there was a Hawaiian monk seal on this almost-island…

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If this is not the laziest mammal on the planet I’m not sure what is. She hardly moved for hours on end. She was on the sand on what turned almost into an island at high tide. In the photo below you can see the beach on the right and a line of people walking deeper into the water. They are walking on a spit of sand that at low tide is above water and, here, is rapidly disappearing under water. I think when I took this photo the seal had swum off of the small island you cannot see for the water on the left.

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We also went to spouting horn…

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Water rushes in and the up through this hole. The bigger the wave…

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The bigger the splash.

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I also saw chickens. If you have been to Kauai, you’ve seen chickens. They roam the island freely, and they are really cute until the roosters wake you up well before dawn.

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But let me say that I prefer chickens and roosters to mosquitoes. I wish we could trade.

Tomorrow we fly to Oahu. We are staying in Waikiki. We have one full day and then we fly home. I’ll post to instagram but may not find time to post. Once I’m home it’ll be a day or so before I post again. So, if you don’t hear from me until next week, aloha! Mahalo (thank you) for sharing this trip with me!

So what exactly is a ‘moderate’ hike?

We hiked the Alakai Swamp Trail today. 4 miles in, 4 out. This is a hike that remember being hard. Steve, however, had different memories. Last night, Keith looked online and found that many people had called this a hike of moderate difficulty. I think that it helps a lot to know who is doing this labeling. A mountain climber would call this hike piffle. My mother would call it impossible. We made it, but there was plenty of effort involved.

There are terrific views on this hike if the weather cooperates. It did for us. We saw into the first overlook:

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We took photos and no one fell over the (incredibly steep) dangerous edge.

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Let me add that at this spot I visited with Jim, a man with a very big camera who was photographing an owl that I only saw the end of. This is what I do. I visit with strangers and as a result we have met some interesting folks. Jim, apart from knowing the birds, was also watching an enforcement helicopter that we would have missed. It was going after back country hikers/campers/pot growers. We’ll never know but it was interesting to watch the helicopter land on a tiny ridge of land way below us.

Yesterday we met John Lydgate, the grandson of the Lydgate who started Lydgate Park. He looked interesting so I said hello. Darned if everyone isn’t interesting in one way or another. Anyway, back to today.

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This is a benign stretch of the trail but it lets you know there is rockiness and mud when it’s wet. Luckily we did not encounter mud. Been there, done that, happy to have missed it today. There are stairs, lots of them, going and coming. I was so happy to have on my knee braces and to have started the day with ibuprofen. But, after 4 interesting miles during which I ignored my camera, we got to the end.

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Off in the distance is Hanalei Bay. You have to drive all the way around the island to get to there from where we were today. It’s a rare treat to get to this spot and not have the view blocked by clouds, which explains Steve’s happiness. (Hunt and Karen Tooley, who missed it on our last trip—we wish you had been there with us!)

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Other people came and took a photo of us all. Yay!

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And then we walked back, 4 miles. The stairs were more up than down. I was not loving it but what can you do but just keep going.

I lost my (prescription) sunglasses along the way. Darn. But we made it out and could still move by the time we got to the car. Yay, again! Lunch was late because… well, let me just say that some of us thought the hike was more moderate than it really is.

We stopped to look into Waimea Canyon on the drive back to Lihue. I’ve seen it before so didn’t spend much time looking. Goodness—am I jaded? No, I think I was just tired and hot. I at least took a picture of my 3 companions.

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Believe it or not we stopped for groceries (and non-prescription sunglasses) and got back to the condo where Steve is now cooking dinner. I do so love that man. When I finish this post we get to eat dinner, which is one of the 3 best meals of the day :-). Bye!

From Princeville to Lihue…

Last night we walked to an overlook. It was pretty!

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I took pictures of what we saw on my phone and instagrammed them. With my big camera I took pictures of Amanda and Steve. The other didn’t really turn out.

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Today we drove to Lihue and stopped at the Kiluea Lighthouse—it was closed! FYI: don’t go on Monday.

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We could still see the lighthouse, and maybe it’s better from this angle. The guys looked at birds… the red-footed booby if I remember correctly. There were a lot of them.

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I noticed this little flower. It has a very nice design, one that would be good for applique.

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We stopped at the Na Aina Kai botanic garden which was also closed, except for the gift shop. But I did get to visit this stand of trees. I was taken on a tour of this garden before and I loved these same trees then.

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We stopped at Larry’s Music in Kapa’a where Amanda had a quick ukulele lesson from Sam. I took pictures.

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And it’s possible that I have my photo lesson for the week. The assignment is ‘silhouette’. I love them both for their simple yet expressive lines.

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Tomorrow we are hiking the Alakai Swamp trail. Should be fun!

 

Tunnels Beach, north shore of Kauai…

We chilled today, at Tunnels beach. All of us are feeling the tug of work that is piling up at home but we are on vacation, dammit! Enough with the tugging!

My current photo challenge assignment is ‘silhouette’. I woke up as dawn was breaking and everyone else was in bed and took several photos. This is the best one and it’s not really doing it for me. Too much color, too much light. But I do like the image.

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I also realized that we an see the mountains that surround Hanalei Bay from close to our back door. I took several photos as the sun came up…

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At Tunnels Beach we mostly sat. Keith snorkeled. Amanda and I swam once. The water was murkier than we are used to and this is an area where there have been shark attacks. We got over loving being in the water in short order and went back to our shady spot and read. There was not that much going on in front of us, either. Most folks went down the beach.

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I found puka shells which are shells with a naturally occurring hole (I learned that today on google). I am old enough to think of surfer dudes in puka shell necklaces when I hear about ‘pukas’.

I always look for round shells with holes and was amazed to find 20-40 of them today. Mine are now soaking in water to get the sand out. Not all are perfect—in fact most are not. But I promise to share a photo in another post. Tonight I have my camera already in the bag.

I don’t know exactly how I will string them, but I am excited and happy and not going to work on quilt class supply lists tonight. I’m going to read my book and maybe start the next one in the series because, dammit, I’M ON VACATION!!!!!

FYI: The Informationist is a dandy beach/summer read. As is The Martian. They start fast and move along. No deep thinking. I’m enjoying shallow thoughts :-).

 

Kauai and the Napali Coast…

We are staying in Princeville for a few nights. Today we did a 4 mile hike on the Napali Coast—2 mile in, 2 out. This is not an extreme hike but it gets your attention. There are ups and downs aplenty. The views are spectacular.

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We stopped at the stream. There are rocks, big and small and we did the mountain goat thing and got to where we could see the beach. I took pictures, and so did Amanda. Can you tell that there was sweating involved?

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Some (stupid) people swam here. It is not advised. If you get swept out, you are just gone. In fact, we passed this sign that most people probably ignore, along with the rest of the other warning signs.

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We knew we weren’t going to swim so we didn’t wear swimsuits. That is not necessarily a deterrent.

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This nice, older (than me, by several years) lady proceeded to take off, and a little later put on, her attire. She was joined by two other ladies who were maybe about my age who did the same thing. No fuss, no muss, just enjoying the day. I gotta say, they were completely comfortable in their bodies and I celebrated that from afar.

Keith crossed the stream to check out a cave.

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And then we hiked out. The same ups and downs, but in the other direction. Then we swam for a while at Ke’e Beach. The surf was up enough that we didn’t go out far. Nice swimming. Amazing views of the cliffs. Steve and I took each others’ picture.

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And then we left for happy hour and MaiTais in Hanalei and dinner back in the condo. Life is very good.

I am now going to shut down and read my book. Amanda recommended The Informationist and I am loving it. Keith recommended The Martian and I plowed through that last week. Both are great beach reads!

Maui, last day(s)…

On our last full day on Maui, we went birding. The guys are enthusiastic birders as is to be expected because they are biologists after all.

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Even though I am not even close to being a birder, I did take a very few nice bird pictures.

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Personally, I enjoyed the shape of this tree as much as I enjoyed the birds.

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We went to Makena Beach Park after birding where there were dangerous shore breaks. Enough so that we did not stay in the water long. Amanda is saying hello there, not asking for rescue :-).

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I was happy to catch some wave action in focus—manually!

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I took a few more “story” pictures. Please do tell me what you think. I have to turn in my homework tomorrow.

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PS—While walking down an alley to our hotel one night we saw this mailbox…

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I stopped, and stood in front, and contemplated the message and button…

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The ‘Oh try it, it won’t shock you’ pulled me in. Seriously, I’ll fall for just about anything, just ask my sons.

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I got a little wet. Luckily the camera was spared a drenching. Next time I see something like this, I’ll stand to the side when I press the button :-).