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!

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!

Piece O’ NYC: Camp Lolanor has begun!

Camp Lolanor is underway. We have not been killed by glitter or hormones…yet ;p. So we’re all pretty happy. We’ve done many things already and still have a couple of days left! Today was a Brooklyn Bridge kind of day, so we woke up early and headed out to see the bridge. Neither Lola or Ella have seen it, so it was lots of fun!

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All campers have to agree to the camp rules!

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Then we parked it and had some lunch. Built NY supplied us with a few lunch bags/totes to help us keep our picnic goodies extra cold. Aren’t they cute? After testing them, I’ve gotta say – I really love the large one. It held a smaller lunch tote inside of it, three bottles of water, and various other things. After all of those things inside, I thought it would weigh a ton, but surprisingly it didn’t (super plus!). It’ll come in handy when I have to take my work lunch, laptop and books for classes to work this semester too. Ella likes using her own tote as a purse, it’s pretty cute ;p.

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Yeah, a typical Camp scene… Technology wins over talking any day it seems.

Jeff is taking the girls to see a musical tonight and they’re all currently making some sort of goodies in the kitchen right now. What more could kids want from camp?! They’re being fed, we’re letting them stay up late, and we’re watching all of their favorite movies! I’ll show more pictures next week, because there are tons…and these kids are super cool.

If you’re interested in sending your kids to Camp Lolanor next year (we’ve already gotten a few of Lola’s friends who want to attend), send me a million dollar prepaid check and I’ll think about it ;p.

From Hilo to Kona…

We left the volcano area and drove from Hilo to Kona around the long way. We stopped at Laupahoehoe Point which is scenic and was also the site of a tsunami tragedy in the 1940s. Very few people live there now, but there is a park, some campsites, and an impressive boat launch with what look like giant concrete jacks tossed around it.

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I took many photos there but it was so humid, and there was so much water in the air, that they all look out of focus.

We spent a couple of nights at the Royal Kona, which looks a little like a cruise ship.

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There are nice views…

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We walked around and I spied these treasures left on the seawall…. such a nice composition.IMG_4772

We went to happy hour and enjoyed live music and people watching (and MaiTais). This lady was fun to watch. She looked so staid but really perked up when the parasailers flew by.

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On our full day on the Kona side we visited Pu’u Honua O’honaunau, the City of Refuge, an interesting historic site that is next to a fantastic snorkeling spot.

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I had fun taking pictures….

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Amanda took photos too…

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I don’t take pictures under water so you just have to trust me that the fish were amazing.

Today, we left the Big Island and are now on Maui, staying in Lahaina. Back to snorkeling tomorrow. Yay! Life really is very good.

 

Piece O’ NYC: Kid Stuff

I’m not sure why a lot of people ask me this, since I don’t have any children, but I get a lot of inquiries about things to do with kids in the city. Perhaps it’s my love for cats, glitter, and unicorns that leads them to think I know what a child would like?? HA! Seriously though, I do love doing “kid” things. I love watching children’s movies — no curse words, usually great music (“EVERYTHING IS AWESOME!”), and lots of positivity. And I love crafting — like so much that there’s still glue on my dining room table ;p.

Lately, I’ve had to really think about things to do in the city with kids because my niece Elanor and her friend Lola are coming to stay with us next week. We’re going to call it CAMP LOLANOR! We live in a one bedroom apartment with one bath and the girls will share the pull out sofabed … this is going to be quite an experience, you guys. They’re also “tweens…” Jeff may end up covered in sequins and requesting therapy afterwards … we’ll see! Should be loads of fun (or our doom) — yay!!!

So if you’re visiting with kids, I do highly recommend the following activities in the city (even if they are fairly touristy).
1. Central Park – Pack a lunch and go for a very long walk. I’d like to think this is both a fun adventure and a great opportunity to wear those kids out!!! Come on, nap time! Also, the park has lots of playgrounds like this one and boats on the pond for the kids to paddle you around in! Many free events are also available during the Summer months in the Park.
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2. Brooklyn Bridge Park – Did you know that in the summer they have a pop-up pool? What kid doesn’t love a pool … next to a bridge?!
3. Washington Square Park – in keeping up with the park theme, this one is nice and small. One of the big arches in the city lives here and so does NYU (which I think is a lovely campus ;p ;p ;p).
4. Times Square for a show and the Toys R US Ferris Wheel. They keep hinting that they’re going to close the Times Square Toys R Us. So in the event that they do, try out the ferris wheel while there’s still time. Jeff and I think it’s loads of fun…you know, when we take kids to do it and all…
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5. Sailing after seeing the Highline and getting a crepe from Bar Suzette in Chelsea Market. I fully believe sailing along the Hudson is the best way to see the Statue of Liberty, but if you choose to take the ferry over instead, book it here.
6. Museums GALORE! Pick one! Elanor loved the rooftop at the Met Museum when she visited last.
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Dr. Jeff Goldsmith, Biostatistician and Grown Up Kid.

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Museums are a great idea to visit with kids…especially in the snow. This is the American Museum of Natural History.

7. Cat Cafe – it’s a cafe with CATS! It’s a great spot if it’s raining and you just need a few minutes to sit down. Plus, the proceeds go to helping them take care of the cats.
8. Movies on the Hudson – every summer various parks will show free movies beginning at dusk. Bike rentals are common to find on the Hudson Greenway — rent one and ride along the path for hours.
9. Top of the Rock, Empire State Building, and One World Observatory – Pick one and go up! I like the Top of the Rock myself, but I heard the latter has a good new bar ;p
10. 9/11 Memorial – Unfortunately I haven’t been yet, but I’ve heard really powerful things.
11. Upper East Side for Shopping – Just get it out of your teenage kid’s system (if they’re the type to love shopping) and take them to Bloomingdale’s on the UES. You could get lucky and it’ll be crowded enough that they”ll want to leave asap ;p. Then just stroll around the corner and get an ATM Cupcake from Sprinkles because you’ll both deserve the treat for enduring that experience.

And if you don’t hear from me next week, it might be because the girls are exhibiting this sort of attitude, but I sincerely hope not ;p.

From Kiluea/Volcanoes National Park

We hiked today, and my feet are sore. I’m happy to report that after Steve’s MaiTais and dinner, they are less sore :-).

We hiked in and around Volcanoes National Park, and across Kiluea Iki. Luckily we got to the park before the crowds and parking was easy. And it was not terribly hot on the hike across the crater.

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There was some posing for interesting photos…

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The next shot was taken on the walk out and back up the side of the crater. We walked down the far side that you see, across the flat part, and up the other side.

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Steve, Amanda, and Keith were brave, almost looking over into a crevasse…

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There was some stopping to at least attempt to smell the flowers…

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That’s ginger, by the way. An invasive non-native that needs to be eradicated. It is also pretty.

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We hiked Devastation Trail… there’s a story that goes with the name but darned if I can remember it.

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Off in the distance, you can see the steam erupting from Halemaumu.

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Back in the day, Steve and I and students could (and did) hike out to that spot, but not now. It’s too dangerous. This is us, then. That sign is probably still there…

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Here we are today, 11 years later and still going strong :-).

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Tomorrow we are heading to Puna Lu’u, the black sand beach!

Piece O’ NYC: Getting Away

We follow a serious trend among city dwellers: we leave. We get away from the city at least once a year. We used to do this for vacation and fun, but now we travel because we really need to separate ourselves from the stress of NYC. (We’ve also gotten incredibly lucky with various opportunities and have collectively visited ten different countries and all but two continents.)

That said, I am PETRIFIED of flying. I don’t know what changed — for years I was ok and swell with flying, but now I have to take panic attack pills… So, the flights I take have to be non-stop to help reduce opportunities for me to freak out. Fortunately, due to the three large airports around us, we have a lot of non-stop flight options. And this year we’re enjoying Turks and Caicos (yes, there’s a non-stop flight to this tiny island! YIPPEEE!!!).

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If you visit, please go to Da Conch Shack. I fell in love with conch because of this place.

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Colorful doors always make me think of Becky.

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If you stay at the Grace Bay Club, ask about the Beach Buffets. Jeff had five servings of food and I had to roll him off of the sand…he was so happy.

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Jeff and I have been having fun with hobie cats and the crystal clear water. We’re staying at the Grace Bay Club and I really don’t want to ever go home. Next year’s trip is already planned too, and it’s going to be super memorable. Jeff and I are ‘surprising’ Becky and Steve with a trip. They know it’s coming, but they don’t know the destination or details ;p. Help them guess! We’re not revealing it until Christmas.