Sunday, June 26, 2011

Summer Adventures

And lately we've been on quite a few - trying new things, seeing new places, and hanging out with friends.
Since we're on summer break from school right now we're trying to take advantage of our free time and actually do some of those things you always mean to do, but don't ever get around to. You know, because when you live in Hawaii you tend to just say, "Oh, I can do that next week, I'm too busy" (or lazy, but you know - whatever). Anyway, we met some friends at church that are only going to be here on Maui for about a year - basically a very extended vacation - so we teamed up to motivate each other to actually go, do, and try the fun things on the island. It's been really good and I think we can all say that we're having fun. We usually try to do 1 or 2 things a week - the beach usually being one of them, and something a little "tourist-y" for the other one.

Usually I'm up for the tourist-y activity on Tuesdays. It's during the week so it's not as crowded, the real tourists are still a little jet lagged, plus Tourist Tuesday just sounds cool. Other weeks we've visited the Maui Ocean Center (an aquarium) and we went on the Swinging Bridges hike with our niece and her hubby (read about that here). Well last week I hadn't planned anything, but our friends asked if we wanted to meet them at the beach and that they would bring their paddle boards. For those of you who are going - What? Paddle Boards? - let me explain. Paddle boards look very similar to surf boards, but they are generally longer and wider and rather than using wave power to get around, you use a.....paddle! Really it's kind of like canoeing standing up...but not. Anyway - here are some pics I found when I googled paddle boarding (so it's no one I know in the pics):

Not everyone likes it or gets it, but I've wanted to try for a while. It's hugely popular here on Maui - I don't really remember seeing so many paddle boarders on Oahu, but I'm sure there are plenty there, too. Anyway- our friends have a couple of boards and so they brought them down to the beach Tuesday morning and we all tried them out.

I loved it! Isaac and Abi were both really into it. Cameron tried it out, but says he doesn't get how it would be fun. He thinks it's pretty boring to just paddle around. Danielle braved sitting on the back of a board for a few minutes, but as she's not a confident swimmer yet, I think she was more worried about falling off than enjoying the ride. Oh, and Juliana is still terrified of the "water getting me", so she usually sticks to just swimming at the pool.

Here's a few pics of the kids trying it out:

You start out kneeling up like this before you stand - normally one person at a time.

Abi in all her surfer girl glory. Seriously - she looks the part, don't ya think? (FYI - that's Lana'i, not Maui, in the back ground - we're not that far out in the water!)

This picture is from so far away, but I had to include it because Isaac is on the board on the right - totally standing up and paddling around on his own (our friend there behind him isn't holding on, just hanging out near by in case Isaac needed help - he didn't).
Abi is on the board to the left, kneeling.

And just because we didn't get a pic of Danielle, I will take the time to upload a super short video with her in it. (Seriously like 9 sec, I think.)

And lucky us - we got to go out again on Saturday morning, too - though the water was very choppy and made for harder balancing, but it was still fun.

I'm totally all for getting our own paddle board, but even used ones are a little pricey (like $300-500) and I'd have to get a roof rack to take it down to the beach. And while I would probably get out at least a few times during the rest of the summer, once school starts I don't know how much we'd use it. I'm still thinking about it.....but it might be better to rent one a couple of times:) We'll see.

Well, we've had a few more adventures I need to blog about - seriously last week was crazy because our friends are leaving for the mainland for a couple of weeks and we were trying to get lots of fun island stuff in before they go. So, hopefully I'll be on to tell you all about them soon, but we may be out adventuring some more:)

PS - Well, at least I got my background issues figured out, but I still can't get the font size bigger - sorry if you have to squint!!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Waihe'e Valley

A couple of weeks ago our niece, Ami and her husband, Matt, were visiting Hawaii on vacation (see all of their adventures here) and they spent a few days on Maui - one day specifically to hang out with us. I wish I could say it was because we're so cool like that - but honestly the fact that they planned a day to spend with us is because they are so cool like that. The kids absolutely love Matt and Ami and had a great time.

So I was trying to plan something exciting to do with them - I was given the guidelines of something "treacherous and rewarding". Ummmm, I have 4 children, so I was a little nervous about the treacherous part, but I kept my eyes open and actually came across an article in one of the free weekly papers that float around places like Jamba Juice (well, that's where I found it anyway - a whole basket of them for your weekly reading pleasure). The cover said something about a swing bridge hike and I knew that I'd found our adventure - before I even opened the paper and read the article.

So that's how we ended up in Waihe'e Valley on our fun filled day with Matt and Ami. It was really a great hike. You do have pay a couple of bucks a person to get in and park (that part is on private land) but it was worth it (plus that means you car's a little safer than normal "tourist-y" places). The hike was 4 miles long round trip, with 2 wire and plank swinging bridges, 3 river crossings guaranteed to get your shoes REALLY wet, and a swimming hole at the top.

Since we STILL cannot find the charger for our camera (I'm going to get a new one for my b-day, I just haven't been shopping yet) Ami was our photographer for the day and I think she did a fabulous job - thanks for sending me the pics!

First up - a view of the valley from the bottom-ish of the trail. It was a little cloudy that day, and even more so up in the mountains - it made for a good rainforest atmosphere.

About a mile up the trail and just past the first river crossing (which could be easily avoided - I just didn't realize that until my feet were already wet) you come to the first of 2 wire and plank swinging bridges.

There was actually no water under this one. And I have to tell you - at this point I was a little worried that the kids were going to fr-eak out and we were going to have to drag them across, but I was totally wrong. The big kids (Abi, Isaac, and Danielle) all went across without so much as a hesitation. Juliana on the other hand would have nothing to do with the bridge, but she was totally fine riding piggy back - holding on to mommy so that I could hold on to the "railings". It have to say, I thought it was a little freaky, but maybe that's just because I had a 3 year old on my back and I was being super cautious. But there was no need to worry, we all made it across and were anxiously looking for the second bridge to conquer. (This one actually had water under it.)

After the crossing we had about a mile more to hike, on a narrower trail. Here's Ami, Abi, and Danielle in a small bamboo forest near the top of the trail.

(Isn't Ami super cute? That stylish scarf around her's a beach towel.)
Finally we reached the top of the trail - it ends at this swimming hole. That's Cameron in the water - and the water was cold, Cameron loved it.

In addition to lots of cold water to swim in, there was an area that people were jumping off of into the water. It was seriously 12-15 ft. above the water. Cameron was having a hard time jumping off it - the first time he went in he actually climbed over to where the waterfall was a jumped from there.

But our daredevil children, Abi and Isaac, just jumped right off and had a great time!! Which is really odd since they've been a little reserved about water and swimming in the past. However, both have really taken to the water recently. But to jump off a 12 ft. high rock - seriously? Those are my kids? Are you sure?

Here's Abi jumping - we didn't get a pick of Isaac in motion but the boy jumped 9 times (he counted). Oh - I should tell you, she jumped from where the people up on the top left side of the photo are. I think that body with the white blur is Isaac waiting his turn.

Like I said, the water was cold, but they had fun. I even jumped off once. (It would have been more, but we had a few instances of nature calling so I had to find an appropriate place for the kids to answer.) And Cameron did finally jump off as well.

One last photo - here's Danielle feeding a few doggy treats to a dog that hiked up with his owners. The dog managed to steal one of our sandwiches as I was returning from nature calling on the second child. The owner let the kids give the dog some treats (hopefully not as a reward for stealing the sandwich, so much as a tactic to allow us to finish eating without losing any more food).

I think in the end everyone but Ami got in the water at some point. Matt, Abi, Isaac, me, and Cameron all jumped off the rocks - in that order - and Danielle and Juliana climbed down the rocks with me and got in the water for a few minutes before they were thoroughly cold and ready to get out.

All in all it was a fun time. And it was great to spend some time with Matt and Ami. So nice to have someone come and visit us. I mean - come on - we live in Hawaii people! You'd think we'd have friends and relatives knocking down our door. But alas, we don't. So we're glad that Matt and Ami made it out and that they were willing to hang out with us while they were here. Thanks for the fun time guys!

PS - I tried to make the font bigger, but it won't do it. Sorry, hope you don't have to squint.

PPS - I have changed my background 3 times - 3! - but it keeps reverting to my Happy New Year's background.'s not just because I'm a slacker - though I am.