Just wanted to give you a quick update on my bucket list.
I crossed off a few things this year. These are not things that I will never do again, but like Eric always says when we go somewhere beautiful, “There are so many incredible places to see. Why go back to somewhere you’ve already been?” It’s like when you are at a huge buffet of food. You get so full because you just have to try a little of everything, that it is hard to invest too much stomach space for eating the same thing again and again.
This year, I…
Went snorkeling in Hawaii... here is a photo of one of the bays we snorkeled in. Those dark spots are coral reefs and when you are wearing snorkel equipment, they look much cooler as you look under water than they do here. Isn’t that water just so pretty? All the water is pretty in Hawaii. It is like a rule was created by the Sea Gods that says “All water entering Maui must be gorgeous. If not, you must go to the rest of the world.”
We also went biking down a mountain…
Haleakala. (Pronouced “Hall – EE – ah- ka- la”)
The night before, I actually laid in bed in a bit of a panic. A silent panic. What if? What if one of us loses control of the bike and careens down the mountain where there is no guard rails? We would most surely die. What would I do if Eric died? If I died? I did not sleep well that night.
We got picked up at 2 AM to go up to the top of the mountain (because, of course, what mountain visit is complete without a view of the sunrise over an active volcano crater, huh?)
Here is a photo of the sunrise. Photos never do too well with sunrises. They don’t capture it very well, but this gives you an idea… Some were taking photos in the dark with flash. I was like, “really?” Those are the clouds and that is the top of the crater, in case you can’t see my blurry photo.
And here is the crater after the sun came up. No, this is not the Moon. Although Eric does want to move there someday. I told him he can move there after I am dead, assuming I die first. (After surviving downhill bike rides and all!) LOL… Turns out, if you have a few days to spare on your trip to Maui you can walk through this crater. It is active, but not THAT active apparently. They drop you off and then pick you up on a two lane highway three days later. Don’t be late… We did not sign up for that one.
On the way up to the top of the mountain, in our sleepy state, I recall the driver saying something like “Remind me on the way down to tell you why we don’t bike from the very top anymore. I don’t want to freak you out so I won’t tell you now.” Then, as we are driving back down to the drop-off spot for us to begin riding, he says to us, “Yeah, see this turn? Yeah, we had some troubles with this turn. People just couldn’t control themselves as they came around this corner and we lost a few. That is why we don’t bike from the top anymore.” (He broke his promise.) I think he was messing with us, but in my sleepy state I just nodded solemnly and paled a bit. Nobody laughed.
As it turned out, it was super safe. Almost so much that I laughed at myself and Eric laughed at me when I told him how scared I really was. Here is a photo of me and Eric posed by one of our bikes. We couldn’t take any pictures on the way down or we may have been a victim of the mountain. On the way back down, we had our best meal in Maui. I had Maui Tacos, but not the kind that are in a franchise all over the island. These were waygu beef and amazing with organic homemade salsa and tortillas. Turns out, Hawaiians love Mexican food. Who knew? (For those of you following my latest food obsession – veganism – I had to let go a bit on this trip. There wasn’t a whole lot of vegan choices on this trip! My stomach is very grateful to be home.)
At the top of the crater, they had some plants that don’t grow anywhere else in the world. I am not surprised. The plant and animal life there is very unique. We saw some different kinds of birds and many different kinds of plants. This one is called the Haleakala Silversword… it only grows on this mountain top in Maui. Cool.
Another cool plant was the “Banyan Tree”, which we actually stumbled upon by accident in the photos below.
This Banyan Tree was planted in 1873 and is the largest in the U.S. Each of those “branches” flows out of the trunk and sends down little tendrils like these…
Then these tendrils grow and become like trees themselves. It is really amazing. This tree made me fall in love with it. We saw other Banyan trees on the island, but this one was the coolest.
Another cool thing we did, which was not on the bucket list (but should have been) was driving the Road to Hana. If you’ve ever been to Maui, you are familiar with this famous road. It is 60-something switchbacks with too-many-to-count narrow one-lane parts and 50-something one lane bridges through treacherous mountain roads. The landscape of Maui is rainforest on this part of the island so it is beautiful with waterfalls and lush vegetation. Here are a few photos from that part of my trip. We took a tour bus so that neither one of us had to drive. Our tour bus driver, Walter, said that the Road to Hana may sometimes be called the Road to Divorce if not driven carefully by the spouse or if the passenger seat driver gets a little bossy.
OK, that is some beautiful waves and rocks. I took those along the way too.
We stopped here and went down to those little pools. Both of us slipped on the rocks. Eric nearly twisted his ankle and I almost hit my head on the rocks with slippery bare feet on rocks. You have to be careful, people! (Meaning, ME and ERIC.)
Can you ever get tired of waterfalls? I think not…
…and some more…
Oh, wait. Those are fake. That is Eric looking quite serious.
and Eric being silly. He peeked up at me. That is my foot. I am being serious, getting a serious tan.
As if all this awesomeness wasn’t enough, we also went to a luau. They gave me a real flower lei. So cool. I surprised Eric by bringing my wedding dress along and wearing it. (We got married on the beach in Key West so my wedding dress is actually a fabulous sundress!) Who says you can’t wear your wedding dress twice??
Here’s me and my lei. It was freaky hot that night and they had us all out out on the lawn with no trees. But it was cool. The Hawaiians are really an amazing people. We love you guys. For the luau, they cooked a pig in dirt. No worries, it was protected and there was no grit. It was the best pork I’ve ever eaten. A-M-A-Z-I-N-G. But I am still going vegan. Really. I’m just not eating iceberg lettuce salads all week without a bit of beans or stuff in it. I tried ordering a vegetarian taco salad one day and they put chicken on it. and iceberg lettuce. Maui is NOT the foodie capital of the world, but it IS one of the most beautiful places I have ever been.
A big THANK YOU to our guides and angels that made this trip possible. We appreciate you and this beautiful ball of dirt.