Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Karla's Visit/Niagara Falls/Labor Day/Santa Fe/Hawaii

Well, I suppose it's about time to catch up after 6 months of not posting... We had a busy summer, Karla came to visit in June and it was great to see her...

 I went to Cleveland for work in July and drove to Ontario and Niagara Falls on my day off. On the left is the American Falls and the right is the Canadian Falls.

It was really cool to see, kind of weird by myself but I had fun.

On Labor Day weekend Eric, Katie, and Colin came down to visit and Colin took his first airplane ride. He wasn't quite sure what to think!

Uncle Scott and Aunt Renee.

We're going to try and do an annual get together, this is the fist group photo, year 1.

I went to Santa Fe with a friend at the end of September, we had great fall weather and it was nice to get out of humid, hot San Antonio for a weekend. This is the Loretto Chapel staircase, which was featured on "Unsolved Mysteries." It's an architectural mystery because there are two 360 degree turns and no center support. Additionally, there were no nails used in its construction, just wooden pegs. The carpenter is a mystery, some think he was actually St. Joseph. It's a fully functional staircase that's still in use today. It's a pretty interesting story and worth googling.

Me and my friend Natalie. The funny thing about this picture is there was a homeless person's bed right behind us.

Santa Fe National Forest. We went just at the right time for fall, it was beautiful!

Random picture of Bailey looking miserable in her harness. She HATES her harness and doesn't even get excited for walks because she hates having to put in on. She's even missed out on walks a few times because sometimes she runs when I try to put it on her and I WILL NOT chase a beagle around the yard so I can do her the favor of taking her for a walk..

At the end of October/beginning of November we went to Hawaii for 10 days. It was amazing, pictures don't really do it justice. Our first stop was Oahu to see Pearl Harbor.

Waikiki Beach at sunset.

Pearl Harbor.

The submarine the USS Bowfin. We took an audio tour of the whole thing. I don't really have claustrophobia too much but the living/working conditions were very claustrophobic. On the audio tour they had interviews and quotes from the men who had served on the sub and it was really neat to get that part of the story instead of just reading signs or something.

The USS Arizona Memorial. The memorial itself isn't resting on the ship, it's over it and you can look down and still see parts of the ship, which is now a reef. It's also the burial site for hundreds of people who died when it sank, and even some survivors who died decades later have had their ashes interred with their former mates. Even after 70 years the ship is still leaking oil.  It was sobering to see it in real life and not just in a documentary or book. 

After Pearl Harbor we drove around Oahu and stopped at Waimea Valley, which is botanical gardens. A path led through the botanical area to the waterfall. It was beautiful, very quiet and peaceful. You can swim by the waterfall, and some people were, but we didn't.
We saw a couple of peacocks, they just roamed wild and didn't seem scared of people at all.

 From Oahu we flew to Hawaii, also known as Big Island. There was a cruise ship docked when we were driving from the airport.

View from the lanai.

Our first night on Big Island we evacuated for the tsunami. No one made us, but we obviously don't have enough experience with tsunamis to make a judgment call on our own and the sirens were going off so we left. We just drove up the hill and stopped at a scenic lookout with about 100 other people and waited to see what would happen. Once the waves started hitting and they were only like a foot high we went back. This is the view from the lookout back to where the resort was, which was right on the water.

The next morning we drove north along the north shore of the island to Volcanoes National Park. We stopped at a roadside farm for lunch and got a chilled coconut. The food was amazing, made from fresh fruit and vegetables they grew there themselves. The coconut didn't taste like a coconut though, more like water with a weird taste.

Volcanoes Naitonal Park. We did a lot of hiking throughout the trip and had packed accordingly, but the day pack we had brought for water, rain jackets, granola bars, etc. didn't fit Scott's shoulders so I had to be the mule.

The entrance to a lava tube. We actually got to walk through it to the other side, very cool.

You could see the lava at night whereas during the day it looked like it was just smoking. We didn't get to see it flowing.

Sunset at Volcanoes National Park.

The next day we went to Punalu'u, which is the black sand beach.

The water was super clear and cold.

There were more in the water but we really lucked out getting to see this guy, we thought it would be too late in the year to see any turtles. He's huge, and was just sitting there sleeping!

Next we flew to Kaua'i, known as "The Garden Isle" for all the flowers and vegetation. This is where we really planned to swim and spend some time on the beach.
View from the lanai.

We went hiking on the Napali coast, which was so beautiful it almost looked fake! We got there in the morning before the fog rolled in and it was only about 65 degrees on the mountain, perfect for hiking.

It's hard to see in this picture but on the horizon is the island of Niihau "the forbidden island", which is closed to most visitors. It has what is supposed to be the largest colony of Hawaiians (about 200+) left in the islands. Much of the Hawaiian heritage is kept alive and they speak Hawaiian as their primary language. 

The Waimea Canyon.

We went to a luau Wednesday night, which was really cool. Authentic Hawaiian food and the show was awesome, although it really got going after dark and my pictures didn't turn out that great. Scott got me a real flower lei too which was really soft and smelled sooooo good!

We went swimming near Hanalei Bay on the north shore of the island, and were able to walk a little bit and pretty much had a little area to ourselves.

Friday morning we went on a deep sea fishing charter and didn't get one bite. But we got to enjoy the sunrise on the water.

Kaua'i is full of wild chickens. They are under cars in parking lots, on the side of highways, in parks, in trees, all over. Apparently it's only been in the past 20 years that they've had all of these wild chickens all over the place and it's thought that Hurricane Iniki in 1992 caused damage to some chicken pens in some farms and they got out and spread. They're hilarious to see them roosting in trees and hear their cockle-doodle-doos!

Sunset on the pier at Hanalei Bay.

We also went snorkeling on the beach outside our resort but didn't think to get underwater cases for our phones so no pictures. We did find Nemo though, and all kinds of other brightly colored tropical fish. They were so close I'd try to reach out and touch them but I think the goggles made them closer than they really were because I never even got one. We had a really great time and feel so,so blessed we were able to enjoy such paradise!


Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting pictures and the narration. I'm glad you guys had a chance to get away together for a change! Maybe Dad and I should try it sometime!

Wendy said...

WOW! Busy summer! Love the pics!

Karla said...

Ha! Love the narration, ReneƩ..."I had to be the mule". You're pretty funny. Can't wait to see you guys for Christmas :)