Friday, December 14, 2012

My Happy Place

It has been a long, long time now that I have wanted to join the Crossfit movement.  Unfortunately, back home I was so far from any gym...not to mention, my crazy work schedule made it difficult to do anything outside our own gym at work.  But, here, it's like the universe made it perfect for me!  Our apartment is literally less than 1.5 miles away from a Crossfit gym!  They give free introductory classes, which I think is awesome, so I went to one on October 2nd.  I was ready to sign up then...but, to become a member you have to go through Elements, which is where they teach you the basics, and the right way to do the movements, and then of course you workout.  The cheapest Elements option is the group option, which is twice a week for a month, and it starts the first Monday of every month.  The day I went to the intro class was the Tuesday after the October Elements had started...they were giving a percentage off if you signed up and came the following day, Wednesday, for the second class of the group...but, that day was Jas's birthday.  So, I waited a month.  At the end of October I went back for a intro class.  After the intro class I signed up for November Elements.

So my November consisted of going to group Elements every Monday and Wednesday night.  The awesome thing is that you can also go to as many regular classes throughout the month at no extra cost. But, I was a little overwhelmed, and nervous, so I wanted to give myself time to learn.  Saturday of my second week in Elements I went to my first regular class, with my gym buddy from our Elements group.  Regular classes are basically just the WOD (workout of the day).  The rest of the month we came pretty regularly...and on the last Wednesday of the month we had our "graduation, which consisted of this wicked WOD called "Fight Gone Bad" that left us all on our asses.  It was awesome.

This month is my first real month as a member.  There are 5 gym locations on this island, and I can go to any of them.  I go 5 days a week, and on the other days I have to make myself rest.  I miss it when I'm not there!  I knew before I started that crossfit was the best thing for me.  I get so bored in normal gyms.  I walk in, I don't know where to start or what to do.  And then once I start, it's just boring.  I like being surprised by the WOD everyday.  I love being challenged.  I love sweating my ass off, and leaving there knowing I put in work.  And, I love the fact that there is always someone next to me getting there ass kicked too!  It's sounds corny, or cliche...but it's such a family feeling.  From that first night I walked into the gym, heard the music, and saw everyone working hard, I knew I was in the right place.  The fact that I want to go there ever day just supports my choice.  It's not the cheapest gym option, but, when something's right for you, I don't think money should be what stops you.

Part of our Nov Elements group after our "graduation" workout...pic courtesy of Crossfit Oahu

part of our "graduation" workout...pic courtesy of Crossfit Oahu

my gym buddy for November!

"Fight Gone Bad"...our "graduation" workout in a collage...pic courtesy of Crossfit Oahu

I could go on all day...if you know anyone else that does crossfit, they can probably go on all day too...but I'll stop there.  The only other thing I have to mention, is that, that first day I went to an intro class, it was important to me that I did it alone.  I'm not scared to be alone.  Most times I prefer it.  But I tend to get shy in large groups, and around people I don't know, which sometimes makes it hard for me to do a lot of social things alone.  This was a big step for me.  And of course, I became gym buddies with the one person from our Elements group that was moving back to the mainland!!  So, since becoming a full member, I've been "alone" again.  I say "alone" because everyday I meet someone new.  And everyone is so welcoming and helpful.  I started this alone, and I'm thankful for was good for me...but I never feel alone there.  It's my happy place through and through.

And from now on...I plan to not miss out on things because I'm waiting for someone else to do it with me.  Life lessons...we never stop learning.

And the adventure continues...

Stay tuned...

The Color Run

Since moving here, I've found there to be no excuses to not dedicate myself to being physically active.  Back home there was no good place to run.  Dogs were always out running lose.  I would end up running on busy roads, etc.  But here, it's like this island was made for active people.  I got back into running pretty hard, and I was looking forward to doing all the runs I had missed out on for different reasons within the last few years.  Mostly because no one else was running at the time, even though EVERYone is running now!  But, I will not go on a rant about that.

The first run that came up was The Color Run, aka the Happiest 5k on the planet!  It's literally a 5k where they throw this colored powder at you at different points of the run.  At the end, there's this color party, where there's just music, dancing, and color.  Cool right?  As if that wasn't enough, the money from each run in every different location, supports different causes.  The one here benefited Ocean Lotus Hawaii, which is a non-profit organization that provides after school tutoring, and weekend activities for homeless/underprivileged youth here.  So, not only did we get to run this awesome 5k, but we got to support an awesome win!

This was a fun run, so I tried to keep my competitive side quiet.  A lot of people came with their kids, or just walked the course.  I ran the whole thing, but I didn't run it like I would have if it was a race.  I'm pretty competitive by nature so that was a little weird for me.  But it was an awesome time!  And I look forward to the future runs, and obstacle courses I plan to do!

I love color!



before... and....after

And the adventure continues...

Stay tuned...

Holidays in Hawaii

We have now spent two of the major holidays on this beautiful island.

Hau'oli Ka La Ho'ola'a! or Happy Halloween!

For Halloween there were a few options.  The Saturday before Halloween there was this block party in Chinatown.  You paid like $15 and you got a wristband that would get you free entry into like 7 different bars.  Pretty awesome, our regular bar, Manifest, was one of them.  So, last minute we decide to partake in Halloween, after some prodding from our bartender friends at Manifest.  I decided to finally go with my natural born costume.  I have been told I look like Wednesday Addams as far back as I can remember.  So, on Saturday, since we waited till crunch time- I made a trip to Goodwill, Walmart, and finally, try and find a suitable Wednesday outfit.  I got a wig from Kmart, braided it, and voila! Jas had no idea what she wanted to be, so while at Kmart she picked up a banana costume.  But just being a banana wasn't enough for her, so she also picked up some zombie make-up... this of course, was after I convinced her not to do all of these other things she suggested, like a banana devil, or a banana with a sword, or some ridiculous ideas!  A zombie banana was still a reach, but I am a zombie fan, so I could accept it.  Of course I got stuck doing her make-up...I should say, I have never done Halloween make-up, and I can be sure after trying, that I should NOT quit my day job!

After we were finally ready, and I freaked us both out with how much I actually looked like Wednesday, we were off.  Just outside our door we started to hear these sirens going off.  A guy that was crossing the street was nice enough to tell us the sirens were tsunami warnings.  "Oh, ok, thanks" we said, as we continued walking to the bus.  Long story short, we get to Chinatown just as they were evacuating it.  Perfect!  We decided to walk home, since we knew the buses would be packed.  After we were home, and out of costume, I got word that there was still a bar open not too far from us.  So off we went, and the night wasn't a waste after all.  Oh, and thankfully, no tsunami.  Although, Hurricane Sandy did hit the east coast the next day which was very difficult to see being so far from my family and friends.  But I digress...

We didn't get to show off our costumes, so on Halloween day, we got dress and were off again.  It was pretty fitting, since I was Wednesday, and it was on a Wednesday.  Chinatown was having the wristband deal since it got ruined on Saturday so we went to several bars, and eventually landed at our regular.  There, we met THE cutest Aussie couple ever, and introduced them to several things, like laffy taffy's, captain crunch, and the bartenders!  They told us if we make it to Australia that they would take us out, and we plan to take them up on that wonderful offer!

So now, I'm sure you're wanting to see our costumes...enjoy:

Wednesday Addams

wouldn't you want to go to a bar where these people worked

Hau'oli La Ho'omakika'i! or Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving was the next big holiday, and is always an especially difficult one for me.  My madrina (godmother) was the Thanksgiving queen.  She was amazing in the kitchen, and loved to cook...even when it meant making 6 different things, because each grandkid wanted something different.  Thanksgiving has been hard since she passed, but this year, being so far from my family made it even the fact that it was the first time I was making the Thanksgiving meal!!!  I was very nervous.  My mom, bless her heart, helped me prepare by phone, text, and video, and I so appreciated it.  Before I knew it the day was literally.  I didn't realize it was so close, and ended up shopping for the food just a few days prior.  Pernil (pork shoulder) seems to be scarce on this island, so that ended up being an adventure too.  But let's cut to the important part...

Three days before Thanksgiving, I was up at 1:30 in the morning seasoning the pernil.  Two nights before, I was up seasoning the turkey.  And finally, Thanksgiving day, I woke up around 7:45, caught a 9am WOD at my gym (I'll speak about that later!), and got back home before 11.  I showered, took some time for myself, and then it was to the kitchen.  When it was finally time to eat, I can honestly say I was proud of myself.  I made, red rice, pernil (and cuero), turkey, all for the first time, plus mashed potatoes, and broccoli.  Jas made rolls and sweet potato and pumpkin pies.  I was so worried I would screw something up, and since I was making the whole actual meal, I would've been devastated.  But, thankfully, I think as far as my family is, they were actually right there next to me, especially my madrina, helping me every step of the way.  And I can honestly say I think she would've been proud.

Up next is Christmas.  And then New Years...which I am more excited for, because we'll have a guest!!!

And the adventure continues...

Stay tuned...

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Ka'au Crater Hike

the entrance
While I was home, my hiking buddy let me know he found a new hike for us.  I'm all out about challenges, and after the 3 peaks hike, we were anxious for our next.  Finally, we got around to Ka'au Crater.  What really drew us to this hike was the fact that you're actually climbing along the side of a waterfall at one point.

The first thing I should mention about this hike, is that it's on private property.  The entrance is so sketchy.  You can't really even tell it's an entrance at all, but thanks to the internet, we were sure we were in the right place.  Once inside though, you realize that the entrance is pretty a gateway to another world.  Very "down the rabbit hole" like.  Unfortunately, the universe, and its infinite sense of humor, decided it would be an awesome time for rainfall.  It rained for a good deal of our first hour or so, off and on.  As soon as we thought it had stopped, it would start up again.  In the very beginning we were pretty covered by trees so it wasn't so bad, but as we continued, it's safe to say we were soaked pretty quickly.

But, the rain didn't deter us.  We came out for a hike, and hike we would!  We had done our research, as per usual, and we read that you would come to a pipe, and to pretty much follow that pipe, which would lead you to the first waterfall.  We followed that advice.  We hadn't run into any other hikers all day...but finally, when we weren't too far from the first waterfall, we heard something.  After listening carefully, we deduced that it wasn't nature sounds, but other hikers, grunting as they passed a particularly muddy part of the hike.  We eventually caught site of them a little further up.  Two hikers, one male, one female.  As we found on our previous hikes, they were friendly.  We said our hellos and both continued on.  We ran into them again at the first waterfall.  I don't know exactly what it is about seeing water cascading from rocks, but it's such a beautiful, calming site.  We took pictures, and enjoyed the view a while.  We asked our new found buddies if they were continuing through to the third waterfall.  They weren't sure.  It was 3 Peaks all over seems we're always the only ones who know for sure that we're going on!  But just like 3 Peaks, they too continued, perhaps partly because of us.  We caught sight of them from the top of the second waterfall.  We waved to them below, and shouted some tips when they asked how we had gotten there.

I can't recall if it was near the second, or third waterfall, but near one of them, I had my first fall while hiking.  I swear, climbing boulders, and hanging off the sides by rope with nothing below you, I seem to be able to do...but walking on those slippery rocks that are poking out from a shallow bit of water, I'm not so good at.  In my defense, those rocks are always slippery.  And you can never tell if it's a rock that's stuck in place, or if it's one that is going to move until you actually try it.  I guess it was bound to happen eventually.  On the hikes I've been on thus far, I had tried so many rocks that moved as I stepped on them, but I had been lucky so far.  This time there was no steadying myself before I fell.  It happened so fast.  I don't even think I had really finished stepping on the rock, when it moved, and my leg went with it.  I fell...hard.  So hard that I wish I could've frozen my hiking buddy's face at that moment.  I think the fall hurt him more than me!  I took a look at my knee and when I saw there was no blood, I recovered pretty quickly.  My buddy said maybe we should take a break, but I wasn't having that.  Besides, stopping would just give the amount of pain I was going to feel time to reach my brain.   I surveyed the damage again.  My right knee had taken the brunt of the damage.  That fast it had welted up.  It, and the surrounding area was bruised, and there was just a tad bit of blood, not enough to concern me though, so I looked at my buddy and we continued on.  I accepted my "battle scar" willingly!

The most awesome part of this hike was the third waterfall, because that's the one you're literally climbing up.  It was awesome, and just another humbling experience.  Nature has such a beautiful way of making you feel small, and inconsequential.  When we reached the top of waterfall 3 we kept going. We made it to the crater.  I'm not sure what I was expecting, but basically, it was an open area filled with greenery that looked kind of like moss from where we were.  From what we read, inside the crater is completely marsh.

We kept on a little further, but we decided we wouldn't hike the entire crater that day.  When we set out, our goal was to hike the 3 waterfalls, and to see the crater, which we had accomplished, though we knew right off that we would be back another day to hike the entire thing.  I don't think we were really expecting how large it was, but that wasn't what made us decide to not continue.  What we didn't learn from our research, was that on this hike, you get cut up pretty badly from branches as you're passing.  The area you're walking in is only so big, so there's really no getting around the cuts and scrapes.  Luckily I had worn my awesome colorful socks that day, which helped a bit, but not completely.  Not to mention, after my fall I had to bring down the sock on my right leg so that it wasn't sitting on my knee, because it hurt.  Needless to say the branches were not making that knee feel any better.  I tried re-covering the knee with my sock, but either way I went I was in pain with every step I took.

All in all it was a pretty awesome hike.  At the end, after something like 5 hours or more, we were beat up, and exhausted...what more can you ask for!  I can't wait for the next one.

waterfall 1
not where I fell, but somewhat similar to the area we were in at the time, except there was more water

shit happens!

part of the crater

the fruit my buddy recognized & told me I had to try.  I was ready to blame him if I got sick

thankful to this crew; these flags told you you were going the right way

view from above, atop one of the waterfalls

And the adventure continues...

Stay tuned...

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Birthdays and Rodeos

I'm behind on this blog...shocking I know!  I swear when I created it, I had all these high hopes about me writing constantly!  But, alas, life happens.  I don't complain about life happening though.  I enjoy the goings on of life.  But I am going to try to make an attempt to get better at this!

In early October my dad had a birthday.  I FaceTimed with him, but I couldn't physically be there to celebrate his, so I made sure to celebrate the one I roommate's.  Her birthday is just a few days before my dad's.  With the help of our pals, I think it ended up being a great birthday.  From finding new shirts from her favorite store in her closet, to having surprise cupcakes at our favorite bar, with trick candles no less...I think it was a good day.  And I'm thankful to our friends, and our pals at our favorite bar, Manifest...that crew can help make any birthday better.

missing the one with the candle she blew out

A few days later we headed to a rodeo at Kualoa Ranch!  I've always wanted to go to a rodeo.  It's kind of silly that I've never been, considering there was one on the way from my house to my college every week back home.  This was an all female rodeo.  They were pretty young too.  I guess the first thing I realized was that, I get really sad when I see them roping cows and all that.  I feel bad for the cows.  I mean, I know it probably doesn't hurt them like I think it does, but it still bothered me.  But, I had a good time nonetheless.  It's always cool to experience something new.  And Kualoa Ranch is pretty much everything here. As if you already couldn't guess this, we had some good food.  Oh, and I fell in love with the littlest, cutest cowboy you ever did see!!  He was only a couple years old, but the way he strutted around in his jeans, t-shirt, belt buckle and cowboy hat, while gripping that can of soda like it was a beer, just stole my heart!

my little cowboy love trying to help get the cows through the gate, still holding that soda!

After the rodeo was over, just before we headed home, we got to pet this beautiful horse.  I think it's safe to say she liked me.  Still on my list is going horseback riding...I'll get there!

And the adventure continues...

Stay tuned...

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Gaining a Sister-in-law

My brother's wedding was a very emotional day.  And when I say it was an emotional day...that's putting it mildly.  All the women got dressed at my parents house...all the men, at my brother's.  My mom and I had a lot of alone time while the girls waited for the hair and make-up people downstairs.  I tried to be strong, because I knew my mom was constantly just a blink away from tears.  I think I managed to pull it off quite well for a while.  But my room was the bride's for the day, and so I didn't have anywhere to run off to alone and cry.  My mom had shed a tear here and there.  But while she was doing her makeup in the bathroom, I sat in her room, on her bench, looking out into the backyard and the tears flowed.  Of course, she walked in at that moment, and we cried together.  Cried for the little boy that was now a man...for the relationship we both have had with him, and the relationships we would now have with him.  Cried out of sadness...out of anxiousness...out of happiness.  My mom cried so hard she scared me a time or two.  I worried about her blood pressure all day.

The good thing was...I knew once we got past the ceremony, we'd both be fine.  But that was easier said than done. Getting to the church, both my mom and I struggled once we saw my brother.  From what I hear, my mom was doing what I call "the ugly cry" the whole walk down the isle. haha  Luckily I had my other brother to hold me down on my walk down the isle.  I did my best to look everywhere else while we walked...but at the end it was just my brother standing there.  I blew him a kiss, walked into the pew, and proceeded to have a minor breakdown.  Throughout the entire ceremony I shed tears on and off. My other other brother, another groomsman, proceeded to make fun of me the entire time, mouthing the words "cry baby" every chance he got!  My mom had a tougher time the entire ceremony, as my dad held her tight while making eye contact with me every few minutes to see if I was ok.

I know there's some people who would wonder, "why are they so emotional".  But, I think our emotions speak to how close our family is.  Latino's are known for putting family before all else.  And I think that's beautiful.  How could you not be so emotional when such a huge change is taking place.  Changing something that you've known your entire life.

But I digress...

After the vows were exchanged, and the bride and groom were introduced for the first my brother and sister-in-law prepared to walk down the isle, I caught eyes with my brother, and he mouthed to me "I love you".  In that moment, I was a little girl again.  Just a little girl, who looked up to her big brother, and wanted to be around him all the time.  Just a little girl who was happy to have the love of her big brother.  It's a moment I won't ever forget, and one I will always be thankful for.

After the ceremony...and after all the pic the reception everyone had a beautiful time.  We danced, we ate...I ate some more.  I love seeing my family all together.  My mom's side, and my dad's side...we're all one family, and I miss them all.  I relish the time we spend together.  And the night was beautiful, mostly because you could see happiness written all over the faces of my brother, and my new sister-in-law.

I am blessed, and I am so thankful I was able to be there.

I wish a lifetime of happiness on my brother and sister-in-law....and babies... preferably a boy first :-)

my gorgeous cousins

the 6 of us

blood couldn't make us anymore family.  I love my parents, my brother, and my other brothers

photobooth fun with my cuz

the bride and groom


I am forever proud of my big brother

And the adventure continues...

Stay tuned...

Saturday, October 13, 2012

My Visit "Home Home"

Of course this post is pretty late...what can I say, I write when inspiration and motivation meet for me...and unfortunately usually that's late.  I'm a procrastinator.  It's part of my charm.  Anyhoot, so I call Hawaii home because it is my home, and I'm blessed to be able to call it that.  But, my family are my roots, so home home, as I like to call it, will always be wherever my family is, hence the title of this post.

My visit home one word...beautiful.  I can't say enough how great it was to see my family...both, those related my blood, and those related by love.  I started my visit by driving myself home from the airport.  Gotta love my cousin who pops out the car, hugs me, tells me she loves me, and asks if I want to drive!  haha  After some deliberation, I decided to change my plans and surprise my sister-in-law (sister-in-law to be at the time) by going to her bachelorette party.  So, after dropping my cousin off, driving home, kissing the guys at my house, eating and fumbling around in my closet for something to wear, I managed to look presentable after over 12 hours of flying time, and little to no sleep.   And my beautiful mom and I were off.  Considering my sister-in-law's reaction to seeing me in her living room was, "what the fuck are you doing here!!", I think it's safe to say I pulled off the mission of surprising her, and the fact that my presence made her, and my brother happy, was the perfect start to my visit.

The following day I was off to see my LS and my beautiful niece.  The three hour drive was worth every second of it.  And as an added bonus, my LB, another beautiful friend turned family, was able to come by too.  I hadn't seen her in so long, and the fact that she took time out to see me made my heart smile.  Catching up with them was awesome.  And, seeing my niece made my day.  She is getting so big, and every moment I have with her I cherish.

Back to my parents house I went the next day, but I bought with me one of my favorite people in the world.  Unfortunately I don't have a pic of us for this visit, but it's not needed.  The visit was perfect.  I love when after so long you're able to introduce someone important to you to the most important people in your life, your family.  That's what I was able to do, and the introduction was as easy and natural as I knew it would be.  He now not only has me as his family, but my entire family, and that's beautiful.  Not to mention, he got to have some delicious food at our family gathering...including this awesometastic cake my cousin-in-law made!  It was so good, I had her make me another one before I left.  Ah, the benefits of living so far! 

The rest of the week went by in a flash.  Unfortunately the weather changed some of my plans, but that's ok.  I fully believe things happen how they're supposed to.  I did manage to get to Philly to see three beautiful people, and have one DElicious adult milkshake.  My friends taking time to see me is means more to me than I can tell them.  Things much has changed, but I wanted to make sure they knew I still loved them just the same, and hopefully I managed that.

The rest of my time home home was spent with my family, doing things for the wedding, and then, finally, the wedding day itself.  A beautiful occasion that deserves its own post.

It feels weird not to know when the next time I'll be visiting is.  Since moving, I knew I'd be home in September for the wedding...and's just kind of a, "I'll see you guys soon" type thing.  I so appreciate every minute I have with my loved ones...and, it needs to be said, ALL the food I ate!  I may not know when exactly I'll be seeing my family again, but I know that it'll be soon, and until then, I carry them with me daily....all of them, crammed tightly into my heart.

Here's hoping next year I'll be able to bring my parents out to visit :)

And the adventure continues...

Stay tuned...

Thursday, September 20, 2012


It's two days before my brother's wedding, and as I sit in my room, in the house we grew up in together... where we both lived for over 22 years of our lives... I can't help but to feel a mix of emotions.  I can't put into words how it feels to be a little sister to a big brother.  I can't say how it feels to be a sister to a sister, or a sister to more than one sibling, or a sister to a little brother...unfortunately circumstances kept my brother and I from growing up with our sister, so all I've ever known is being a little sister, to a big brother who I adore.  All I know is the two of us, and to know that it'll never just be the two of us again is a difficult thing to make peace with.  My feelings have nothing to do with his wife-to-be, because of course it would've been difficult for me regardless who he married.  Change is the only constant in life, but it isn't always easy to accept.  There's so many memories I can list right now...from how we would fist fight as kids, to how we would play on our swings together, and later ride bikes together, and later still, skate together, which turned into playing street hockey.  From wanting to always hang with him and his friends, to how amazed and proud I always was to watch him play baseball, to how I could always count on him to be at my softball games cheering me on.  From him seeing me off to my high school dances, to helping him deal with a broken heart.  From high school graduations, to college graduations.  From always getting last minute calls asking me to look up or order something online that should've been purchased way before, to getting our parents gifts together, and always having to be the one that wrapped everything.  My memories are endless.  After 27 years of being half of our team of 4, it's difficult to let a piece of our relationship go, and make room for a new one...not a worse one, just a different one.

The only thing that has helped me make peace with this change is his happiness.  As long as he's happy, I will, as always, have his back.

Two days from now I won't be losing family...I'll be gaining it.

Friday, September 14, 2012

3 Peaks Hike

So, while I was away for work training, Jas, and one of our buddies, Ben, went on this hike that I had been wanting to go on.  It's generally called Olomana Trail, although only the first peak is actually called Olomana.  Jas and Ben went to the top of Olomana, but didn't continue on to peaks 2 and 3.  After I got back Ben and I had spoken several times about doing all three peaks.  One weekend it was semi-planned with another of our co-workers, and plans changed.  So, last Saturday, after having dinner together at the guys house, Ben was dropping Jas and I off at home, and we were just talking, ya know, a regular Saturday.  He asked what we were doing the following day and I responded that I had no plans.  He said he was thinking about going for a hike, the 3 peaks, if we were interested.  Jas had been saying since I got home that she wouldn't go back for the other two peaks, so she said no.  Ben has the tendency of going on hikes by himself, so after I yelled at him for almost going alone again, I immediately said yes, and over the course of the next 10 minutes or so, we had planned what time we would be meeting, that I would cook us breakfast, and he would pick up some lunch meats so we could pack a lunch to eat at the top of Olomana.  And just like that, a potentially ordinary Sunday turned into anything but!

I made us a good breakfast Sunday Morning (pancakes and bacon), so we'd have enough fuel to get us through for a while, and we were off.  After about a half hour we were parking.  From where we have to park, to the entrance of the hike, is about a 1/4 mile walk.  The entrance to the hike is actually located on the property of this golf course, but luckily they allow the public in.  So we passed the gate attendant, who said, "you've been up there before right?" to Ben, and we were on our way.  In the beginning, this is what I looked like:

bright eyed and bushy tailed

The beginning of the hike wasn't bad.  Ben and I talked as we went along, saying hello to people we passed along the way.  One of the awesome things about hiking here, is that everyone says hi as they pass.  Many stop along the way and share some insights on the hike, or ask you for some if your on the way out.  It's just a very friendly atmosphere which I greatly appreciate.  Right after we parked, another truck pulled up behind us with a group of 3 in it...two guys and one girl, and they were pretty much close behind us most of the way up to the top of Olomana, or peak 1.  As we went along, some places got much more narrow, and we stopped from time to time to let people through who were on their way down, or out of the trail.  There were portions towards the end of peak 1, where you're putting out much more effort.  Some rock climbing, and a couple parts where there is rope attached to help you climb.  I must say, I knew about the ropes beforehand (as I mentioned in the previous post, I always read up on where I'm going), and I knew that the rope was put there by hiking clubs to help people out, and I probably will never know those people...but I thank them!  I thank them so much!  The last bit of peak 1 was pretty much a vertical rock climb.  I made friends with the ropes early, so I used the rope here, and I didn't think it was too bad.  As funny as it sounds, I've always been a climber, since I was little...ropes, trees, monkey bars...I guess I was preparing myself for my adult climbs!  Anyhoot, I would test out the ropes before I started climbing, to make sure they felt sturdy under my weight.  I know Ben didn't use the ropes as much as me.  He didn't always trust them.  Of course Ben is over twice my size.  I understand why some people don't trust the ropes's a personal preference.  But I will say, after completing all 3 peaks, I have the utmost respect for anyone who completed all 3 without using the ropes at all!  I couldn't have done it.  Rock climbing up is a bit better...but would have been very difficult for me to finish without the ropes.  But I digress....where was I?

Oh, so after the last vertical climb, we were at the top of Olomana, and the views were out of this world.  Just breathtaking.  We stayed up there a while, and ate a bit, and talked with a bunch of people, including the group of 3 that had been behind us most the way.  No one there seemed to be planning to go onto peaks 2 and 3 but Ben and I.  I was hoping someone would, because we had no idea where we were going!  I looked at Ben and told him stopping was not an option, that we had set out to do 3 and that's what we were doing.  Ben agreed, and said the only way he wouldn't is if he completely froze somewhere.  "psht" I said, "the only way I'm stopping is if I physically can't go anymore, and you'd have to call a chopper for me!"  Ben was quick to say, "I do not want to call mama and papa and tell them I let their baby girl get hurt!"  So we agreed...we would finish, and no one would get hurt.  Done!  A group of 3 guys got up to the top not long after us and they looked like they might be going on, so we asked.  They weren't sure, but kind of wanted to complete all 3 peaks.  Then, lucky for us, a group came from the other side, from peaks 2 and 3.  They told us a little about what to expect.  They asked if we had gloves.  'Gloves!' I thought, as I mentally smacked myself on the forehead.  Of course we should've bought gloves.  The one woman said we'd be ok without them, but that we might end up with a bunch of blisters if we were holding on to the ropes for dear life..."not like I was holding onto the ropes for dear life or anything" she said.  "No, I was definitely holding on for dear life!" she laughed, and we laughed, and I thought, this is going to be interesting.  


view from the top of peak 1, & view of the coming peak 2 & 3

The group of 3 behind us said they were thinking about doing all 3 but weren't sure.  So, Ben and I set off.  It didn't seem so bad at first.  We got to the top of peak 2, or Paku'i, pretty fast.  We were happy to see that the group of 3 decided to keep going, and we stopped on the top of Paku'i to chat with them a bit, and then we were off again.  2 down, 1 to go.  

left: where we came from, right: where we're going

Getting down peak 2 was much more difficult then getting up it.  It's when I really started to realize what we had gotten ourselves into.  There was a portion on the way down that was just gravel.  You couldn't really get your bearings and we were constantly slipping.  We couldn't walk it, and there was pretty much nothing around to hold on to.  Trees and roots in this area were scarce.  I pretty much spent that entire portion sitting back and walking on my feet and hands.  I think Ben spent a lot of this time on his butt, which was evident at the end of the hike when his butt was just covered in dirt!  Eventually, we finally made it down 2, but we still had to climb up 3, which looked like it was simply not going to be anything close to easy.  Somewhere between peaks 2 and 3 we ran across two guys that were on their way out, coming from 3.  They talked to us for a bit... and here's the wisdom they imparted on us in a nutshell "there's this part you have to climb around this rock, and there's literally nothing to your side, and the whole time I was thinking, this is the stupidest thing I've ever done!"  Just what we needed to hear!  We told the guys to learn how to lie to people!  And moved on.   

I'm not sure I can even put into words what it was like going from peak 2 to peak 3.  I should mention since I've failed to thus far...that I had only completed two hikes before this one.  And both those hikes were beginners, so I was in no way preparing myself for this hike.  I was pretty much a beginner, attempting what I've read described as a "high danger/advanced level" hike.  As difficult as it was at times, both Ben and I were doing pretty well, I thought.  We were taking each challenge one by one..taking our time...being smart.  There were many times that we simply weren't in each others field of view, and I made sure that I would call out to Ben every few minutes to let him know I was ok, and to make sure he was.  Our buddies, the group of 3, helped us out with this.  From time to time we would be close enough to each other, that they could see Ben when I couldn't (I was leading), and they would let me know he was ok.  The female even called out to us that she was glad we were going first!  haha  It was at this point that I realized something.  One of the guys kept calling out my name.  I thought, 'maybe he heard Ben calling my name'.  But then I realized he wasn't looking at me.  So I called out and asked what the girls name was...and lo and behold, it was Jackie also.  What are the odds that this group we somehow became hiking buddies with for the day, would have a female by the same name as me.  God has a funny sense of humor, and an awesome way of throwing in little surprises to your life.  But again, I digress.  Where was I?

So, we're moving right along.  And then, it happened.  We got to the point where there was this odd shaped rock that you had to sort of climb down and around to continue climbing up.  There was a rope there to assist you, but this was just such an odd angle.  Oh, and the catch was, there was nothing to your right, but a very long fall.  As I mentioned, I was leading, so I was about to attempt it first.  There was just nothing comforting about this, and I asked Ben to just not talk for a minute.  I got down to the initial ledge, held on to the rope, and tried to find my next footing.  But there was just no easy way to go about it, and I had my first real moment where I realized, 'one false move and I could actually die here'.  I nearly froze.  It felt like I was on that ledge forever.  But, in my head I kept telling myself, 'Jak, there is no way your quitting.  It is not an option...besides, you told Ben he couldn't!'.  So, I got myself together, figured it out, and finally, made it around.  The rest of the way up to the top of peak 3, or Ahiki, was far from easy.  But after that, I didn't have another moment that jarring least not on the way up.

Since I was leading, I got up to the top of Ahiki first, and I have to say, I've never been so happy to see a little box.  At the top of Ahiki, waiting for us, was a geocache.  I didn't really know much about these things before, but I learned that geocaching is basically a outdoor treasure hunt.  Players search for geocaches, or these containers, hidden at locations all around the world, using gps devices.  In the geocaches are log books, and people sign their name and then write about their experience on the game website.  That's a very basic explanation...there is more to it, but you get the idea.  Anyhoot, at the top of Ahiki was basically a tupperware container, and written on it were the words "Congrats you made it!"  and in that moment, I felt like nothing in the world would've made me happier than that little box did.  Inside was the log book, along with a bunch of other things, including pens of course, pictures, business cards...even a condom.  Ben and I signed the log book...though I think we forgot to put the date, and didn't take a pic of our page.  Ah well, not going back just for that!  Not long after we got to the top, the group of 3 got up there.  We chatted a while, and took pics for each other, and just sat there and enjoyed the view.  We learned that each of us had had at least one moment like mine.  For Jackie and I it was the same part I mentioned.  For Ben and one of the guys, Frog, it was another part.  The part almost just before the top of Ahiki.  A pretty serious rock climb, where you can't see the end from where you're starting.  You really can't plan out what you're going to do because you can't see, you just have to go for it.

my moment.  it's hard to tell from the pic how nerve-racking this part actually was

whoever wrote these words...thank you!  "hike on!"

my day was made

After a while, the fact that we had to climb down, up, down, up, and down again...back the same way we had come in, to get back to the car, was weighing heavily on our shoulders.  Ben and I decided it was as good a time as any to get going.  We bid adieu to these awesome people who had made our day even better, and started to make our way...figuring we'd eventually see them again on the way.  We saw them pretty quickly.  The way down was just as difficult as we remembered the way up was, so we all took the beginning very slow.  We got to the part where Ben and Frog had had their moment, and Ben went first.  I remembered this part wasn't so bad for me going up...but down was a completely different story.  I was taking it slow, holding on to the rope and looking for my next footing, not being able to see where the rope ended.  I reached my foot for the next footing, and quickly realized I couldn't reach it.  I slipped, and was literally holding on just by the rope.  As I slipped by body slammed against the rock.  Luckily I had already been pretty pressed against it, so the slam wasn't to bad, though it did cut my hand a bit...I had been so close to finishing with no blood loss!  Again, I was humbled by how little control I had, and how quickly things could go bad.  I slipped once more, but held onto that rope for dear life.  I heard Ben make a sound at the bottom, and Jackie at the top telling me "you got it".  I finally made it to the bottom of the portion, but there was no time to appreciate the moment...there was way too much to be done.  We met up with our buddies again a little further up in a clearing where Ben and I had stopped off for a drink of water.  Jackie kept going, telling us she had to keep going or it would be more difficult for her, which I found ironic, because that's exactly how I was, though I tried to modify that in myself since I know not everyone is like that, and I wasn't hiking alone.  As the guys were on their way to catch up with Jackie they mentioned that Jackie had recently one a title, Ms. Fitness Hawaii or something like that, and that's why they let her go first.  Ben and I had no idea, and we thought that was pretty awesome.  We made sure to congratulate her the next time we met up with them.

The remainder of the way out was grueling.  Our bodies were exhausted.  By the time we had gotten up to the top of Ahiki we were all physically shaking, including Jackie and the guys, who were all in very good shape.  Our bodies were just so tired that we couldn't control the shaking.  On one part of the climb up peak 2, or maybe 1 (it all runs together now) Ben commented on how much my legs were shaking.  I could feel it, but I couldn't stop it.  It's hard to say though, whether finishing the hike was more physically, or more mentally grueling.  Our bodies can do some pretty amazing things, but you have to will it too.  Mentally, I had to keep telling myself to keep going, that we were almost there...even when I knew we weren't.  It was like it wouldn't end!!

We saw a good amount of people on our way out.  We stopped and talked to a few guys who were planning to go to peak 3, which we thought was crazy because it was getting later in the day.  Oh, and I made sure to yell at Ben several times during the day about him almost doing this hike alone.  And he made sure to tell me several times during the day, that he was glad I had come with him.

At the top of Olomana we stopped, I drank my last bit of water, and we talked about our first stop once we got in the car.  A store...for water!  And then I had the best idea I've probably ever had in my life...gatorade!!!  I could taste it.  And just the thought of it revived Ben.  Finally I could see the pavement of the golf course road!  I knew we still had a 1/4 of a mile walk to the car, but I was so happy to see that pavement.  My legs though, didn't really know how to react to the flat surface.  Ben and I had both been walking like we were 2, and just learning how to walk, for quite some time.  My legs buckled several times, and when we finally got to the car it hurt like hell to get in it.  At the gas station I bought water, gatorade, and a neapolitan ice cream sandwich...and I swear nothing in my life has ever tasted better!  We were filthy, exhausted, and beat up...but it was the best kind of pain...and it was all...every minute of it...was worth it.  

And the adventure continues...

Stay tuned...