Sunday, January 8, 2017

A Hike in Waimea Canyon

When Dave and I visited Kauai six years ago, we went on some incredible hikes. Some of them were so great that we wanted to do them again. One of those hikes was to Waipo'o Falls.

Now, our visit six years ago was during a particularly dry year. We had been warned that there might not be much water flowing across the falls and that the trail would be hot and dusty. And the warnings were right on all accounts. It was hot, dry, dusty and the small falls were nothing but a small dribble. Still, the hike was worth repeating and one we knew that Katelyn and our 7 year-old niece could do (Katelyn doesn't enjoy hiking nearly as much as the rest of us).

So on one of the drier days, we all (minus Rich and Charlene) trekked out to the Waimea Canyon to hike to the falls. The trail that we remembered as dry and dusty was now soggy and incredibly muddy until we reached the ridge line that is traversed right before the falls. That part was relatively dry. The view from the ridge line is amazing, but if one is a bit nervous with heights, enjoy the view from a few feet back. And if you are hiking with young adults who have more bravado than sense, have them hike far ahead of you so you can't see how close to the edge they are walking.

The smaller falls were roaring, so different from six years ago. And even thought it wasn't a particularly hot day, some of us decided to swim in the pool to be pummeled by the falls. The water filling that pool was suprisingly cold! But the swim was so fun!

 Once we finished playing in this small pool, we walked back to the trail and hiked about 200 yards to the top of the Waipo'o falls. There was a crazy amount of water rushing across those falls and you could almost feel the spray!

While we were at those falls, there was a helicopter that flew a bit closer than any other helicopters we had seen that day. The chopper did a deep banked turn. I was glad that the passengers were buckled in tight. As it turned out, that was Rich and Charlene's helicopter! They were taking a helicopter tour while we were hiking and they were flying over us just as we were getting to the top of the falls. That was pretty neat.
As we finished up at the falls, the clouds began to grow heavy and we knew that rain was on the way. Not wanting to hike on an even muddier trail, we double-timed it back to the trailhead. Unfortunately, we didn't beat the rain and hiked the last half-mile in the pouring down rain. But even with the rain, everyone (including Katelyn) enjoyed the hike. The 7 year old, was tired of hiking about 200 yards before we reached the falls and there was no amount of cajoling that could convince her to walk the last 200 yards to see the falls. But, that worked out OK, because she got a bit of a rest and was ready to go when it was time to double-time it back to the trailhead.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

I Have Goals for 2017

I plan on sharing those goals, but first I have to return to Kauai because Kauai was awesome. And because it is 12 degrees outside and I need warm thoughts of Kauai.

In my previous post I promised to share some thoughts about hiking in Kauai. I loved hiking in Kauai. This trip we tackled the first few miles of the Kalalau Trail, a rugged trail along the Napali coast. In order to hike the whole 11 miles, permits need to be pulled and we were too late in applying for these permits to get them (secretly happy that we missed the deadline). The day we hiked the Coast was a bit damp as there was a hurricane off the coast of the Big Island that was wreaking havoc with weather throughout the islands. The wetness caused some challenges along the trail.

The first part of the trail is rocky, and wet rocks are slippery rocks. This was easy peasy compared to the red soil that is found on the rest of the trail. When that soil gets wet, it is like a giant slip and slide. And let me tell you, it was pretty funny to watch and listen to other hikers as they navigate d across the slippery trail. Pretty sure that there were at least 2 couples who probably weren't couples by time they returned to the car.

About a mile into the first 2 mile stretch that is hikeable without a permit, you are hiking along a ridge and the view of the coastline is amazing!

This ridge leads to a steep downhill section that dropped us down to Hanakapi'ai Beach. In order to get to the beach, there is a stream to cross. I'm betting at drier times, this stream is crossable just by boulder hopping. The water was too high to boulder hop so I took off my shoes and socks and fjorded the stream (it was about thigh deep). Back at home, the streams are very cold,  so it was quite pleasant to wade into water that didn't automatically make every sphincter in your body clench.

Carson had beat us down the trail and we came up to the beach to find him like this
After a brief respite and a selfie with my guy
we continued up a spur trail to find Hanakapi'ai Falls.

This trail was a lot muddier, not as heavily traveled so not as maintained, and had many more stream crossings. By time we hit the second crossing, Carson had grown impatient with me taking off my shoes and socks, so he plowed on ahead never to be seen again...well not until Dave and I got to the Falls. I also got tired of taking off my shoes and socks, and honestly my shoes were so wet and muddy from the trail anyway, that I started just walking across the stream with my shoes on. Now, most people might be worried about blisters, but because of my running, I knew the importance of good hiking socks and had worn a lightweight wool pair. I'm happy to report that my feet had no blisters at the conclusion of the hike.

The falls were totally worth the 2 mile slog through mud, muck, pig trails, and multiple waist-deep stream crossings. The travel books suggest the hikers take a dip in the pool that is below the falls and a warmer day I could totally see the appeal. However, it was a rainy day and the mist coming off the falls was cold enough to discourage me from taking a dip. The boys wanted to the full experience so they both jumped in. Dave captured a video of the falls because these are the biggest falls we have been this up close and personal with.

Since this is an out and back hike, and we knew that the rain was moving in quickly therefore the trail would be even more treacherous, we headed back the way we came. As usually happens, the return trip took a little less time than the initial trip. Although, we did have about a quarter mile detour where we thought a pig trail was the real trail and we tromped around in a bamboo forest. Finally, Dave said this isn't right and set off to find the correct trail. Fortunately, as good as Dave is at getting us diverted on to pig trails (it has happened more than once), he is even better at getting us back on the real trail.

If I can talk Dave into going back to Kauai, I want to plan better so we can get a permit to hike the whole 11 mile trail, camp at the end of the trail, and then return the next day. The permits are for overnight camping. I haven't heard of anyone hiking the 22 miles in one day, although one of our zipline guides is trying to accomplish that. He said that so far he has been able to get to 18 miles. I bet he didn't attempt it on a day when it was raining. The slippery rocks, slip-and-slide red soil, and flooded streams would make it next to impossible to get that far.

More hiking posts to follow.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Summer is Made for Hiking

I'm not sure when I decided I like hiking. Maybe it was around the same time that I decided I enjoy running. Or maybe it was when I discovered it was an activity that my dad and I can enjoy doing together (side note: I did not enjoy hiking when I was a bratty kid living at home). Or maybe it was when I learned to just enjoy being out and moving in this beautiful world. Or it could have been when I discovered that consistent hiking gave me a perfect excuse to buy another pair of trail shoes, Smartwool socks, wool pullover, jackts, etc. Whenever, or whatever, it was, I am grateful for it. And I'm grateful for summer and that summers here in the Inland Northwest seem to be created just for hiking.

Some of the hikes I've gone on haven't been very successful. Like the time that my dad and I, along with my brother and his 4 kids (ages 9, 6, 3, and babe in arms), oh and 3 dogs, missed the main trail head on a trail that was supposed to be maybe 5 miles round-trip. Yeah, that was not awesome. I'm pretty sure that we wound up hiking somewhere between 8-10 miles that day. But we survived and my dad went back a couple of months later and found the actual trail head. It is a much better hike when you start at the actual trail head.

This summer's hikes have been pretty great. First up was a hike with my favorite to two guys, David and Carson. We were camping for a couple of days at Priest Lake and decided to hike up Lions Creek to the natural waterslides. The drive to the trail head is not a fabulous road, lots of potholes, washouts, and I wouldn't recommend anyone attempt the drive without having a high-clearance vehicle. The trail is nicely marked and a pretty easy walk. There are a couple of small water crossings that are either easy to jump over, rock hop, or cross on logs. The day we hiked in was early in the season and the water rushing over the slides was flowing too forcefully to allow sliding, but the scenery was spectacular and the time spent with my boys was awesome.

That hike that I mentioned earlier...the one that didn't go so well? Well, Dave and I accompanied my dad one sunny Saturday to give it another go. This time was more successful because, as mentioned, my dad went back to find the actual Deep Creek trailhead. Glad he did, because it is a nice hike with some gorgeous views of the Spokane River and the surrounding area.

My mom runs a sewing camp in the summer for my young nieces. A nephew or two usually comes to hang out with my dad for the week. It wouldn't be a complete week with Grandpa if there wasn't a hike involved. This year's hike was the Pulaski Trail with my dad, 2 nephews (two of the four children who had been with us on the unsuccessful Deep Creak adventure), and the babe in arms who was now big enough to ride in a baby backpack. Fortunately the Pulaski Trail is a nice easy grade for most of the 2 miles, but the last 1/2 mile is where the significant portion of the elevation gain is found. The trail is usually wide enough to be 2-3 across and there are several historical signs along the way that tell the story of the Pulaski Trail.

All of these hikes were great warm-ups for the hiking that we would do on our trip to Kauai. That trip requires its own blog post.

Hold please for Kauai

Friday, September 2, 2016

Blogging Fail

Back in June I tried to commit to blogging at least once a week. I think that lasted about 2 weeks. Then it was July and I only blogged once so I thought I would commit to blogging at least once a month. That worked for July. Then it was August and I missed August. August. The sunset of summer when I should have totally been blogging about all of the summer activities. And there were some big summer activities this summer. But I just didn't get it done.

And now it is September and I need to at least blog about the summer's biggest event

Katelyn's wedding!

She married Michael David Rush on August 12th. They were sealed in the Ogden Utah temple on a gorgeous August afternoon. She looked stunning and was so happy to be married to Michael. There were lots of sweet moments that day...her picture with her brother, her picture with her dad, when she asked her dad to dance at the wedding reception. Each one of those moments left me with teary eyes.

I'll tell you it is strange transition to have a married child. And I'd be lying if I said I wasn't filled with a lot of bittersweet emotions. But in the end, what really matters is that she is happy and that Michael seems to be a good fit for her. 

At the reception they had a box for attendees to leave marriage advice. I was busy and didn't get a chance to write down my advice. If I had this is what I would have said...
Love each other enough to be each other's biggest cheerleader
Love each other enough to speak the hard truth
Love each other enough to be kick each other in the butt to get moving if needed
Love each other enough to extend grace at the most trying of times

Monday, July 11, 2016

The Hardest Good-bye Yet

High school graduation:  not a problem
Dropping of for freshman year of college:  not a problem
Send off for a mission:  not a problem
Moving to a new home in Utah:  Houston, we have a problem!

I was completely unprepared for how hard this most recent good-bye was going to be. The finality of the situation was overwhelming. Realizing that this move was closing the long chapter entitled "dependent child" left me in tears. A friend recently said that life is a balance of holding on and letting go. No truer words have been spoken and I felt the impact of those words in full force as we said good-bye to our sweet Katelyn on Saturday.

We moved her down to Logan on Friday. It is so weird to know that the next time she returns to our home she will be returning as a newlywed. I'm happy that she has found the special guy to share her life with and create new memories with. But! I'm sad at the same time. I'm sad that I probably missed many parenting moments: parenting moments that would let Katelyn know I love her fiercely. Now I worry that I didn't show it enough. Parenting moments that I could have taught her more. Now I worry that I didn't teach her enough. I'm sad for those hypothetical missed moments.

I'm glad that she will be able to spend more time with Michael before the wedding. But all that time she is spending creating new memories with him and his family is time that we are missing creating memories with her. The fact that I am sad about that makes me sound incredibly selfish. Maybe I am. I'm just having a little bit of trouble adjusting to this.

And just when I think I have a handle on things, I walk by her very empty room (at least is now clean!) and I find my eyes welling up with tears. I have to tell myself to knock it off. She didn't die. She is completely happy. She will come and visit. And this is part of raising children. It is the natural progression of things.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Yesterday was...

 just another Manic Monday

I swear that should be my theme song starting in May. I just know that every Monday morning in May and June (until school is out) I'm going to wake up and wish that I had another Sunday. The Monday's in May and June just are set up to be all sorts of busy and hectic. The kids start to have more severe cases of "Monday-itis" and the health room becomes their refuge, until I kick them out. No fever, no puking, no dizziness, well you get 10 minutes and then it's back to class. 

And it's not just kids in the health room that make Monday's manic. Monday morning is when I review my list of "to do's" that I made on Friday to prepare for the new week. The calendar/list looks like a meeting every day (maybe several), oh and a couple after school. And don't even get me started on my end of year report that I have to turn in. I've been filling it out for 13 years and I don't think I have ever heard from an administrator or school board member regarding this report that is supposed to be read by them. Oh and this year, there are union negotiations and rallying the troops. There is also case managing and calling (oh so much calling). I do not love making phone calls. I don't like texting either. I would much rather sit down, face-to-face, and have a conversation. But where's the time? No one has time. Especially not in May and June but it has to be done before the end of the year. Oh and don't forget to mail home the immunization reminders to parents with soon-to-be 6th graders. And while I'm sending out mailings, send out the paperwork to students (and their parents) with life-threatening conditions. This way the parents will have all summer to get their child into the doctor and have the paperwork to me maybe in the middle of August. Oh wait, that never happens! Ugh, come on people cut me a break and get your kid to the doctor. Do you know that law allows schools to exclude your child from school if they don't have the necessary paperwork  in place? No, you didn't know? Yeah, that's because our district doesn't really like to enforce that. I understand why...they want kids in school. But is school as safe as it can be for the students if I don't have medication and doctor's orders in place to care for their medical condition? Ugh. I'm like a little hamster just spinning in it's little wheel, getting no where even though I have put in a bucket load of time and effort to make sure I have to done everything in my power to remove obstacles for the child's school attendance.

So work is always crazy and home should be a refuge. But there are planning commission meetings to chair. And research to do on topics that will be presented at the meeting. AND there is wedding planning to do. Yep, a wedding. It's happening in August. The bride is completely chill about letting others plan the reception and open house. Ugh! Just once I wish she would put her foot down or have a Bridezilla moment, but she has taken her father's chillax attitude to a whole other dimension. That attitude makes me a bit manic. How can you not want to have absolute control over what is happening at your wedding?!

And then our A/C decided to quit working on Saturday. Saturday. The day it was 93 degrees and that was only the start. Sunday was 95 degrees. It was too hot to sleep. It was too hot to eat. It was too hot to be happy. That made my Monday attitude all the more manic. Plus, I was watching the clock on Monday morning and began dialing HVAC companies at 8 a.m. sharp! And I kept dialing until I was able to get through. Apparently, we weren't the only ones in our area who had a crapped-out A/C unit. I was fortunate that I was able to get an appointment for today (Tuesday) and now I sit here typing wrapped up in two blankets. 

The good news is...only one more manic Monday to go (for this school year). The kids are out on Friday of this week, but I always have to go in on the following Monday to throw away medications. Medications that the parents can remember to pick up. So many medications! Some over-the-counter stuff (so sort-of inexpensive), but also prescription medications like EpiPens that cost $100+. Who has money to throw away like that? Anyway, one more Monday.

Except I'm doing summer school.

After all, there is a wedding to pay for. Wait...I'm planning it! Sweet that means I'm in charge of what we spend or don't spend. Hello red Dixie cups, Kool-aid, and dollar store crackers. Thanks for putting me in charge, Kate!

Sunday, May 15, 2016

One Week Ago

One week ago it was Mother's Day. I have to share how I spent my Mother's Day since it was such a wonderful day!

The Saturday before Mother's Day, Dave and I traveled over to Bigfork, Montana to spend the weekend with my Grandpa and Grandma Wight. They have a house right on the north shore of Flathead Lake. I always love visiting there because it reminds me of the summer many years ago when Dave and I sort-of got engaged. We were sitting along the lake shore, talking about where we would each be heading off to college in the fall, and David turned to me and said, while holding my left hand in his, "Will you save this finger for me?" I said sure and that was it. No "Will you marry me?" was ever said, but we both figured Dave's question was as good as "Will you marry me?".

Anyway, I digress. The purpose of last weekend's visit was not to relive memories from a quarter-of-a-century ago; the purpose of the visit was to spend time with Grandpa and Grandma as well as have a nice place to sleep the night before Dave's Spartan Race.

Sometime back in January, NBCSports ran a Spartan Race marathon on TV. Dave and Carson watched every episode and were hooked! They started looking for races to compete in and when they found the one in Bigfork, they signed up. The training went great. They invited me to participate but I politely declined. I'll stick with running, biking and occasional weight-lifting.

About 2 weeks before the race, Carson discovered that he wouldn't be able to participate. Finals at college and one last hurrah with college friends took precedence. Who could really blame him? I entertained the notion of taking Carson's spot for about 2 days, but when I discovered that monkey bars and jumping over low walls was a lot harder than I remembered, I told Dave that I would go and be his support crew instead. Dave has been such a huge supporter of me on all of my race adventures I didn't feel like I could really say to him, "Sorry, it's Mother's Day. I'm not going."

Being there watching him compete was one of the best Mother's Day presents I have ever received. I told him to have fun and don't get hurt. He went in with the mindset that wasn't going to do any penalty burpees. It was amazing to watch his grit and determination in order to fulfill his goal of no penalty burpees. The only burpees he did that day were the 5 burpees that were part of the atlas carry obstacle. He is such an intense competitor! And because of that he wound up finishing 1st in his age group for the morning racers (we later learned that there was an afternoon racer who had a faster time, but only by less than a minute).

Of course, pictures are necessary to complete this blog post....
Waiting with the masses
Over the wall...that's not how the pro's do it

400 yards of barbed wire crawl (or should I say roll?) Holy dizziness!

Bucket brigade

Last obstacle!
Finishing time!
Proud Spartan...aroo,aroo,aroo!
Not sure when the next Spartan race will be, but Dave and Carson have already been talking about it. And this time, Dave intends to sign up in the "competitive" division, not the open class. His amazing results at Bigfork might have created a monster. Love this guy!