Travel. Hike. Bike. Adventure. Explore.
The Mountains are calling and we must go!
Vail Valley will always hold a special place in our heart. We are not avid skiers, but Summer, Fall and Spring in the mountains had us stick around for 5 full years! We loved every minute of mountain living. The concerts, the hiking, the restaurant scene, the small town feel...
This trip was largely about reuniting with friends and relaxing so we did not have too many adventures lined up but there were a few things we wanted to do again. Highest on the list was taking our kids on one of our favorite hikes... Hanging Lake!
Suspended on the edge of Glenwood Canyon's cliffs, the clear turquoise lake and the waterfalls that spill into it are a breathtaking sight after the rigorous uphill climb. In true Colorado fashion, we had sunshine, rain and even a pretty significant hail storm which had us hiding for cover under trees on the way down. The kids were all troopers and we all deserved our Moes BBQ in Eagle once we were done (One not to miss.. the best BBQ Ever)
Things to keep in mind when hiking Hanging Lake ;
By far my favorite family friendly waterfall hike! While only about 3 miles round trip it does not lack adventure with several creek crossings, tree roots and rocks to navigate.
You begin by walking through a bamboo forest that opens up into an amazing reservoir. A gentle walk around the reservoir before beginning your climb to the waterfall.
Today we were lucky enough to take Matt and Nuria who are visiting from Atlanta. We had a great time swimming at the top and standing beneath the power of the waterfall that flowing beautifully due to recent rains.
Sadly, on the last rock, on the last creek crossing on the way down Nuria fell and hurt her foot. She managed to limp it out but a trip to the ER the next morning confirmed a break. Looks like the Cloughs will be taking out liability insurance in the future 😜
Today we decided to hike down to Captain Cooks Monument and place of death. Given that he plays such a significant part of history in both New Zealand and Australia we felt it only appropriate we took on this adventure. The Monument can only be reached by hiking down, kayaking in or taking a chartered boat tour. So off we hiked.... down a hot, uneven, rock-strewn trail. The way down was fairly easy however the climb up was hotter, long and steep. This was a 4 mile round trip and because we were on a bit of a time constraint (getting the Leckies back to the airport) it was the one hike, where I carried Isla down the majority of the way and Phil carried her back up!
It was a lot busier at the bottom than we had expected.. there was a handful of tour boats in the bay so it definitely wasn't as "secluded" as we had thought. Needless to say, the reef was beautiful and the coral and fish just amazing.
History states that on January 17, 1779, Captain James Cook (the British explorer who discovered the Hawaiian Islands in 1778) and his crew sailed into Kealakekua Bay on the Big Island of Hawaii. The Hawaiians, thinking they were returning gods, gave them a warm welcome and held a feast in their honor. However, a month later he was killed in a conflict between his crew and the Hawaiians. The natives had realized that Cook and his men were mere mortals. In 1878, a 27-foot white obelisk was erected to honor this well-known seafarer.
The plaque at the base of the monument reads the following: “In memory of the great circumnavigator, Captain James Cook, R. N., who discovered these islands on the 10th of January, A.D. 1770, and fell near this spot on the 14th of February, A.D. 1779. This monument was erected in November A.D. 1874 by some of his fellow countrymen.”
This weekend some of our favorite people come to visit.... The Littlepages! We were excited to meet baby Caleb (who was 3 months) and spend time with them all. We especially wanted to take them on a hike on our new island. Jeremiah is an avid surfer and there was a surf competition on the North Shore so we chose a hike that's trail head was directly across the street from Pipeline.
To say this hike was muddy is a complete understatement... poor Em carried little Caleb in the Ergo all the way. We slipped and slided all the way up and then slid the entire way down on our butts... this was the safest way for us to get down! Great muddy fun... but I am pretty sure poor little Caleb probably didn't agree!
The view from the pill boxes was awesome... it was so cool to be able to watch the professional surfers down below. Spectacular!
On the eastern most point of Oahu sits the Makapuu Point Lighthouse, a shining beacon built in 1909 on a 600-foot sea cliff overlooking Makapuu Beach. The place name of this area, meaning "bulging eye" in Hawaiian, is thought to derive from the name of an image said to have been located in a cave here called Keanaokeakuapōloli.
This our first paved hike but the views did not disappoint... absolutely breath taking.
As you can see from the pictures...
Hiking with boys = Dead Animal Skeletons v's Hiking with Girls = Handstands and bridges :).
Our longest hike yet at 4 miles round trip! We were soooo proud of Isla, whilst she might be slow she is was a real wee trooper walking the majority of this hike. 4 miles is a looooooonnnnggg way for little legs!
Whilst this hike is technically an "illegal" hike because it is on the Water supplies land, the risk was worth it. Ryley, our "rule follower" was a little nervous about this adventure and asked numerous times if we would go to jail. Ha! Bless !
It is rather unknown amongst visitors and residents alike. Tucked away in the back of Waihe’e Valley, a simple two mile dirt trail meanders its way through the forest until reaching the gorgeous 40-ft waterfall.
It is in Hamama Falls my phone took its first swim.... while it didn't love it, it took a nice long rice bath and felt re-energized and ready to face the world again! Whew!
On ten beautiful, sloping acres above Kane'ohe Bay Friendship Garden has the best views of Kane'ohe Bay, with only birdsong and bamboo within earshot.
We navigated through groves of macadamia, banyan, mahogany, strawberry guava and eucalyptus trees in a well thought-out, but "non-manicured," natural setting.
Friendship Garden is part of what began in the 1920s as Hawai'i's first multi-racial community, called Kokokahi ("of one blood"), a place where people of all ethnic backgrounds would come together to live, work and play. It was the inspiration of the Rev. Theodore Richards, who together with his wife, Mary Atherton, acquired the land and built the community. Today we are blessed to still experience them because of the generosity of volunteers who maintain the trail and beauty of the gardens.
Today we had an amazing spiritual experience as we hiked on private property in Palehua (above Makakilo). We were guided by a Cultural Practitioner who's knowledge of the area and its history was incomparable. As we approached the beginning of the trail he asked us to spend 5 minutes in silence to listen, see and feel what the land had to offer. You would imagine with 2 small children that this would be an impossible ask, but miraculously it happened and we honestly believe they felt and sensed the magic of the place. About 3 minutes into the silence, the Cultural Practitioner started calling to the Hawaiian gods to protect us and keep us safe on our journey today. We felt blessed to be in his presence and protected while being on such sacred land!
We spent the next 40 minutes navigating technical terrain on the top of a mountain ridge. Three quarters of the way along the ridge we came to a clearing where we could see the windmills on the North Shore, Pearl Harbor with Waikiki beyond it and the entire west side. At this point we were educated further on West Side history, the vegetation and some rock formation. We even passed a rock that is believed to impregnate females if they touched it... rest assure people... there was no touching happening here! :)
A truly magical and unique experience that we are extremely grateful for.
Judd Trail is a 1.5 mile loop with the Jackass Ginger swimming hole as the main attraction. It was a very technical terrain and at times a little more trying for Isla although she seems to do just fine. The trail begins with a river/stream crossing and the scenery on this hike includes Cook pines, eucalyptus, swamp mahogany, guava and bamboo.
The Judd Trail is named after Dr. Gerrit P. Judd, a US missionary, trusted advisor, and financial manager to Hawaiian monarchs, including King Kamehameha III.
Again the kids loved this hike because we could swim in the Jackass Ginger swimming pools at the end! isla totally embraced the COLD water this time and loved it. As for Mr. Ryles.... this kids spirit and love for life is something we can all learn from!
Today we headed to a little more well known trail... Manoa Falls one of the most popular hikes to do on O'ahu. Its 1.5 mile trail passes through many ecosystems with a 150 foot waterfall at the end. While it is advised not to swim in the waterfall due to rock slides.... today we sought forgiveness rather than permission...eeek! It was definitely an invigorating and refreshing experience.
The kids loved this hike... the swim at the top was an awesome reward for all there hard work navigating through a very muddy terrain.
Follow us as we wander through life on "the happy road "