Archive | November 2017

Hawaiʻi 2017: Pu’uhonua o Hōnaunau NHP

Day 2, Thursday, May 11, 2017

Brent and Rich were going to work on my first full day in Hawaii, so I was on my own for the day.  I dropped them off and then headed out driving the 1994 Isuzu Rodeo they keep there, with its bouncy shocks and squeaking.  This truck was prime high-riding style at 23 years old!

My first destination was the Pu’uhonua o Hōnaunau National Historical Park, previously known as the City of Refuge.  It was established in 1955, and was renamed with the correct Hawaiian name and spelling in 2000.  An estimated 421,000 people visited in 2016.  Even now, the name City of Refuge is still used unofficially, even though it was never technically accurate; it was never really a city.  People didn’t live there – there were no permanent residents there.

Pu’uhonua o Honaunau NHP Sign

I watched a ranger talk, presented by a native Hawaiian Ranger; he gave the history of the site.  For hundreds of years until the early 19th century, Hawaiians who broke a kapu (one of the ancient laws that was part of a whole series of laws and regulations) received absolution from a priest if they could make it to the place of refuge, or puʻuhonua.  The thing is, you had to swim there, because the puʻuhonua couldn’t be reached by land without crossing the royal grounds, and that was off limits.  But if you could get there by water, you were pardoned, and could stay there to rest and recover before journeying home.

The park also contains a reconstruction of the Hale o Keawe heiau, the Hawaiian version of a mausoleum, which was originally built by a Kona chief named Kanuha in honor of his father King Keaweʻīkekahialiʻiokamoku (massive bonus points if you can pronounce that!). After the death of Keaweʻīkekahialiʻiokamoku, his bones were buried in the heiau, and more of the nobility of Kona were buried inside until the end of the kapu system in Hawaii.  A son of Kamehameha I, the founder and first ruler of the Kingdom of Hawaii, was the last person buried here in 1818.  Eventually this heiau was destroyed – the one existing on the site today is a reconstruction.

 

The ranger talk ended with him playing a nose flute – he did a great job too!  It was really cool to watch.  After the presentation, I explored the site.  It has several reconstructed traditional Hawaiian dwellings and structures for visitors to see.  You can watch people making tools and traditional items using historic methods.  There is also a konane board, which is a strategy game similar to checkers.

An artisan working in traditional methods

The City of Refuge is right on the water and I was able to walk across the lava rocks to see the fish and shellfish in the water.  Sadly, I didn’t see any turtles though…  There were several other people there, but it was certainly not crowded.  I enjoyed strolling around at my leisure and checking everything out.  It was so worth the visit!

 

Costs and Fees: $15 per vehicle at Pu’uhonua o Hōnaunau National Historical Park (free with a National Parks Pass). 

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November Sunrise

The weather around here has been pretty poor lately.  The usual Northwest fall/winter blend of heavy rain and high winds.  But when the weather does clear, it makes for some beautiful sunrises, like this one from my bedroom window on November 6.

November Sunrise

 

I hope you all survived Thanksgiving and are having a smooth week…

Hawaiʻi 2017!

I got an offer I couldn’t refuse for May, 2017.  A chance to go to Hawaiʻi with friends!  My friend Brent’s father Rich owns a condo and they were going, and I was welcome to tag along!  Even better, our friend Brandon was going to join us! I certainly couldn’t pass that up, so I booked a plane ticket and set about doing a bit of research on what I wanted to do when I was there.  Specifically, I was headed to the big island of Hawaiʻi, and staying in the town of Kailua-Kona (although most people seem to just call it Kona). I had never been to the Big Island, and my last trip to Hawaiʻi was in 1992, to Maui, when I was 16 years old.  It was high time for another visit!

Since I was traveling with friends, I couldn’t plan the whole itinerary – there were going to be joint decisions about what we were going to do.  So I made a commitment that this trip would be more relaxed, more ‘go with the flow’ than my usual fast-paced road trip.  What better place is there than Hawaiʻi to “endure” a bit of forced relaxation?  It didn’t disappoint! Of course, in characteristic style, I did manage to find plenty to keep me occupied during my trip, so I will hope that you enjoy my series of posts.

Day 1, Wednesday, May 10, 2017

My first day was mostly a travel day.  I flew out on an early flight and and met Rich and Brent on my layover, between my first and second flights.  I had booked onto the same flight as they were on, but had no idea where they were seated, and I happened to choose a seat right behind them!  So great snacks! – win for me!

This happy girl is going to Hawaii!

We landed in Kailua-Kona at about 3:30 – we had arrived in paradise!   We were picked up by a family friend and headed out immediately for an early dinner.  At dinner, I had the breaded Ahi Poke (I had no idea it sometimes comes breaded), pickled cucumbers, salted cabbage, corn and other goodies.  We spent a long time at dinner, with Brent and Rich chatting and catching up, and me meeting friends for the first time.  It was dark by the time we got to the condo, so Brent and I spent a little time in the dark exploring the grounds, the sea wall and the lava rocks in the ocean.  We headed to bed about 11:30 pm.

I was ready for the next day’s adventure!

MAN Family Wines: 2016 Chenin Blanc

The MAN Family Wines 2016 Chenin Blanc is one that I picked up a few weeks ago at Cost Plus World Market, when I was on my way home from my business meeting.  It is South African, which is a country whose wines I haven’t explored that much.

I opened it several days ago, my pre-Thanksgiving wine to enjoy.  On the nose, this wine has aromas of pineapple and lemongrass.  The flavor is similar, beginning with a tart flavor of lemongrass, then settling into tropical fruit and pineapple, and finally, a floral note on the finish.  It certainly meets the winery description of a sweet and sour wine.

MAN Family Wines 2016 Chenin Blanc

Interestingly the winery uses only free run juice – they do not press the skins.  I don’t really know how that is supposed to make a difference, as it doesn’t seem common to have a wine made exclusively from free-run juice.  At any rate, it is a steal at only $6.99!  Delicious!

Lake Ann Hike

Sunday, August 20, 2017
In August, I hiked the Lake Ann trail, in the Mount Baker National Wilderness. 
 
The beginning of the trail is a descent, with a series of switchbacks through the forest.  At the bottom of the hill, the trail straightens out and wanders through a gorgeous mountain valley.  I passed by an ice cave, and hiked over a couple little creeks, and passed a boulder field, where I could hear pika calling, but could never actually see them!
 
As the trail heads back out of the valley, there is a boulder field to cross.  It isn’t difficult, but does require some surefootedness, because you are traveling over larger rocks, and some of them are wobbly.  Just be careful!  There is a brief snow field to cross here too – it was still remaining even in mid –August!
 
The boulder field started me back up the hill, and eventually transitions into an alpine meadow.  The trail winds around through the meadow and up the mountain; at one point I passed a pretty little stream and waterfall cascading down the mountain.  The views of the surrounding mountains here are gorgeous!

Rock with Mountain

 

Me with the Lake Ann Trail

 
The trail keeps going through the beautiful meadow and finally at the top of the hill ends up in another snowfield.  Be careful – it’s slippery!  The snowfield takes you to the top of the hill and on the other side you are greeted by the first view of Lake Ann down in the valley. 
 
Lake Ann is located in a north facing valley, so it has ice on the lake all year long!  Even though it was warm – ice!  It is beautiful, but with its rocky, plain shores, it doesn’t have the same kind of beauty as a lake in the woods or in a meadow.  North of the lake is the Fisher Chimney, where apparently climbers scale Mount Shuksan, to summit at 9,127 feet.  That’s a bit out of my league… 

The Fisher Chimney – one of the routes to summit Mt Shuksan

 
I had lunch and a beer while sitting and overlooking the lake.  Lots of people camp here – it would be a nice place to pack in and camp; although I have heard it can get crowded and a bit noisy at the peak of summer.  The drawback is the black biting flies; they leave a welt like a mosquito bite that itches for days! 
 
Lake Ann is an out and back hike, so I headed back down the way I came.  Over the snowfield (still slippery!), through the alpine meadow, across the boulder field, through the valley, and finally, up the forest switchbacks, which were brutal!  I was tired at that point and going up that big hill at the end was hard! 

Me getting close to the end!

 
I stopped on the way home at the North Fork Brewery and Beer Shrine, a must-do stop if you like good beer and great pizza!  Their steamer clams are amazing too! 
 
The hike is an 8.2 mile round trip, with the trail head up near Artist Point.  There is a 1,900 foot elevation gain on the trail with a high elevation of 4,900 feet, making for a fantastic workout!