Archive for October, 2018

Happy 10-year anniversary to us (post only 5 months late).  And a huge thank-you to our parents for watching the kids for entire WEEK so that we could get away and spend time with each other.  Oh my gosh — it was such an amazing trip.  I dont know where to start. We started planning everything probably a year or so ago, just throwing out ideas on where to go and what to do.  We thought about France & the Alps.  We thought about Peru & the Andes.  But ultimately decided on Hawaii to hike the Kalalau trail on the Napali coast in Kauai for a few days and then relax the rest of the time. We reserved our gear, purchased our camping permits, and researched everything we could to prepare ourselves….but in April there were massive floods to the north side of the island and the trail closed indefinitely (and is still closed today).  We held out hope as long as we could but it was clear we needed to find alternative plans on the island.  I was honestly in low spirits in the months leading up to the vacation since we had put so much thought into the camping trip.  But, as you can imagine, Hawaii turned out being awesome anyway??! We hiked a few different shorter trails plus did a paddle board excursion AND got to shower at the end of every day.  We had a great time.

We got there Friday and stayed on the southwest side of the island.  The plantation that we stayed at had these huge Banyan trees and an awesome driftwood beach where people would make these sculptures out of things that drifted ashore. (I tried my hand at it, and rocked it).  That night we checked out Arts night at the closest town that had a (terrifying) suspension bridge that Phil loved.



Since we were jet-lagged, we got up bright and early to hike on saturday.  We drove up the west side of the island to Kokee state park and stopped at Waimea Canyon on the way.  We were there by 6:30am and only one other couple was there.  Then we made our way up to the Kalalau look-out.








From the Kalalau look-out you were able to hike the Kalepa Ridge.  It was one of the more terrifying things I have ever done in my entire life, but it had amazing views.  Ridge = instant death on either side.  I would literally crawl on my belly to the cliffs to see the views — and Phil would hop over boulders to the 2’X2′ space above a 4000ft drop.







We of course packed some beers


And hung out for an hour taking pictures and loving life:





That tiny dot on the cliff is Phil.  Hes insane.



Sorry for so many pics — I parsed it down from 600+ to like 150 to like 95…..but thats as low as Im going.  Every single one seems worth it (to me). Its funny that we originally planned on hiking down to the beach at Kalalau — but instead ended up hiking 4000 miles above to look down on it.  We actually saw a few helicopters flying BELOW us with Napali Coast spectators.  But I like to work for our pictures 🙂


By the time we hiked back out — there were tons of people starting on the trail and at all the look-outs we stopped out on the way up.  I’m so glad we started early — we were practically the only ones hiking when we were out. We spent the rest of the day hanging by the pool, drinking POG, and checking out the town.


The next day we did a coastal hike to Makauwahi Cave.  The day before we were at like 4000 feet.  This time we were at like 50 feet. It was a hot one.  With not a lot of shade.  But that meant unbelievable views of the ocean.


We hiked about 3 miles along the coast (some of which was on the Hyatt golf course?  which was weird?)   But then got to the cave (which might actually be a giant sink hole, but it turned into a cave? I forget.  The picture right above is from the rim above the cave opening…anyway…) — and then you had to craw through this tiny 2-foot opening that led into the cave which opened into the space above. Whatever it was — it was cool.





Then we hiked the 3 miles back.  This picture below is so weird — Phil is actually on a cliff at least 100 feet up – – but it looks like hes at sea level.


After the hike — we checked into the new hotel which was a bit swankier and we did a whole lot of nothing for the next  few days.  There were a lot of mai tais.  A massage.  Poke bowls.  Burritos.   A pedicure.  Lots of pool time.  Crappy cable movies.  Awesome Hawaiian shirts.  Early morning yoga and chats with my mom.  And a fancy dinner + champagne.  Oh man.  It was phenomenal.  I think I read an entire book?! After a few months of writing this post and re-visiting it so many times, these days are the most bittersweet.  I loved our excursions, but it was so nice to do ‘nothing’ with Phil.  We havent been in control of our days in a long, long time.  I miss these days the most.





We finally got off our asses and went back out on Wendesday.  We had booked a self-guided paddle board adventure.


It was an awesome eerie morning with a few sprinkles but super calm waters.  We went two miles down the river to a docking spot then hiked an additional 1.5 miles to a waterfall only accessible by the trail, which included crossing a few knee-deep rivers!  We were some of the first people on the water.  But as we learned, paddle boarding is way slower than kayaking and approximately 100000+ tours groups passed us along the way to Secret Falls.





The sun finally came out and we hiked to the falls — but it was packed by the time we got there. I’m still thankful we did it independently rather than with a kayak group — because we definitely passed a few groups on the trail (who stopped to talk about every single flower they passed and always had to stay with the slowest person)….  anyway — the falls were gorgeous, but very busy! We still got a few solo pictures of Phil since he was one of the few brave ones to actually go up and under the falls.





Hi Phil!

The way back was UP the river and windy and took us like 3X as long and I dont want to talk about it — other than there was shaved ice, pizza, and beer once we returned the boards.  Thank god.

The next day was our last full day — we slept in but made our way to the beach by 10 or 11.  Our hotel didnt have a beach, but we had access to the two big resorts on either side.  (side note: when we picked our resort, we looked at all the ones around us but the one we picked was rated as the LEAST family friendly.  It was perfect.)  The other resort beaches were packed, but we saw a few people brave their way to a little volcanic rock island out in the water and we made our way there, too.  We didnt bring our phones, so very minimal pictures but it was so cool to see the little pools of water filled with wildlife and got to see so many fish on our way there!



We went out to the little island out on the right side. Soooo many fishys.


After some more pool time, and mai tais, we got ready for our Hawaiian Luau!  It was a bit touristy — but also so, so fun.  Given it was our last night we were definitely ready to live it up and despite arriving a few minutes late we somehow snagged two seats at the front table. The bartenders and waitstaff knew us purely as ‘Chicago’ (as in “Chicago needs another round”) and kept us well supplied all night.  We had a a silly, fun night and stayed way past it was over just hanging out, chatting with performers, and watching the whole thing be shut down.









The next day we hated our lives for about 2-seconds — then remembered we were still sans-kids in hawaii.  But we did have to check-out by 11 and our flight wasnt until 9pm.  So we had breakfast and packed up and explored the island a bit more before heading to the airport.  We saw Spouting Horn and Opaeka Falls all while killing time.  (We also drove all the way to Polihale beach but it was clear when we got there that our rental car would NOT make it the additional 1+mile drive on the rocky road.  We werent about to get stranded a few hours before our flight.  But we were bummed to not see it.)




Sea Turtles! Gotta zoom in reeeeeeeal tight.



Our 9pm Hawaii flight meant us arriving back in Indy at 5pm the next day and immediately celebrating Wils birthday.  Quite a shock to the system.  But also a reminder of how thankful we are for 10-years together — and an amazing family for watching our amazing kids.  Thank you everyone!!!!  Life is good.

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