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...