Monday, May 10, 2021

A Winter Wedding

Ok, this is a long overdue post!! 

In December we went to New Hampshire for about 10 days to see my stepdaughter get married and celebrate Christmas. 

Well, it started out as a 10 day trip but turned into 11 when Winter Storm Gale decided to arrive in Boston the same day as us. So, we left Hawaii a day early. 

It's a long trip from Honolulu, but I flew First Class for the first time! Got to love upgrade points!

We got to spend an extra day hanging out with the girls in Portsmouth. Their brother was delayed a day getting out of Denver.

The Hickman House is just beautiful but even more so in the snow with holiday decorations.

Even though these two islanders were freezing, we enjoyed walking around town and taking in the festive vibe.

We even got the obligatory downtown Christmas Tree photo.

Of course, I can't forget Ralph, our grand puppy. We finally got to meet him in person.

We even found time to use the hotel gym and get some of our FASTer Way workouts done.

And, I loved having my Countertime minis with me so I could still enjoy my morning and evening pamperings while traveling.

The wedding rehearsal dinner was held in the same hotel we were staying which was so nice.

Because there were still restrictions in place from the pandemic, it was an intimate event. We are so grateful that all the siblings were able to make it. 

Before the ceremony, the couple met up at the hotel for first look pics (and give us a ride to the ceremony venue).

We did some of our own while we waited for them, haha!

We arrived early for family wedding photos. 

Despite the circumstances and the crazy winter weather two days prior, it was a simply stunning ceremony and reception. For those who couldn't be there with us, Dev and Sean arranged for it to be streamed on Zoom. 

After a brief interlude, we all headed upstairs for dinner and dancing.

Before heading home, we made the trip to Springfield to visit the in-laws. It's hard to get everyone together, but we're always happy to see those who can make it.

I started writing this post on January 18 and I'm not sure what took me so long to come back and finish. One good thing about wrapping it up a few months later is how fun it was to look at all the pictures again!

Have any of your kids gotten married yet?

Sunday, May 2, 2021

Koko Crater Arch Hike + Eternity Beach

One of the things I love about living on Oahu is the hiking. We don't hike as often as I would like, but when we do it is never a disappointment.

The Koko Crater Arch trail is located in East Honolulu, near Hawaii Kai. We picked this one because it isn't far from our neighborhood and is rated as moderate in the All Trails app. Plus, I love hikes that have an interesting feature. In this case, the arch.

Even though we did this hike on a beautiful Saturday morning, we had no trouble finding a parking spot at the Halona Blowhole parking lot. All Trails did not have trailhead information, but I found a couple blog posts that did and it seemed pretty easy and straightforward. We just had to walk along a narrow busy road about 100 feet to mile marker 15, cross the road and start climbing. 

So we walked, first past the beach we would go to later, and then the Japanese Fishing Shrine. I admit that I'm a terrible judge of distance, but it felt like more than 100 feet and we didn't see a mile marker. 

After crossing the road and walking back and forth, we found the broken mile marker. Thanks Hawaii DOT. We also found two was on the All Trails map and the other looked easier. We went with easy.

We had to climb up some rocks to get to the trail, but then it was pretty easy walking across the lava rock. It was very windy, but we didn't mind and the views were spectacular. Soon enough we saw the trail we were supposed to be on when some hikers started making their way down. We weren't too far off, but we had a steep climb and some brush to get through until we were able to merge.

Looking up to the arch and beyond to the ridge

Once we were on the main trail, we took our time, carefully making our way up the steeper and steeper trail until we were eventually standing below the arch. As mrC said, we're not billy goats, so we opted to climb off to the left and go under rather than over the arch.

Loose gravel combined with the steepness and the wind made this the hardest part of the hike, but it was worth it. It was awesome to sit under the arch and take in the ocean views. 

More adventurous hikers continued past the arch and up to the ridge, but we had a beach to get to (and we are happy to stick with moderate climbs). To get back down to the trail, we had to scoot on our bums or fear slipping on the gravel, but then we just took our time going down the lava rock trail.

We stayed on the proper trail on the way down. The alternate entrance we took at the start was pretty easy for climbing up, but super steep to go down. When we got to the end of the trail, we had to climb down a much bigger section of rocks. Only one slip on the gravel (me!) and now I can say I've had lava burn.

mrC got us safely back to the car, where we grabbed our beach bag and hiked down to Halona Cove Beach, aka Eternity Beach. If you’ve seen the movie From Here to Eternity, this is where they filmed the beach kissing scene.

People more courageous than us were jumping off the rocks into the water, but we were quite happy to sit on our towel and watch. We respect the water and have no intention of needing a rescue (and for the record, this beach has no lifeguards and is technically off limits).

The cool thing about this beach, is that you can't see it from the road when you're driving past. I guess that's why it is also called Secret Beach!

We counted this hike as our leg day, although I think we could've done our regular workout, too. We didn't beat ourselves up over it though.

Let me know if you have any questions!