Sunday, November 28, 2010

Kalalau Trail

This mornings rainbow, Mount Wai'ale'ale barely visible. This was taken with my iPhone so the quality isn't that great.

It was cold and rainy yesterday and it looks like more of the same today. Well, as cold as it gets here. Yesterday was 68 degrees today looks like 69. I know, I know...but still, a person acclimates to these things. This is what I now happily call cold!

Again, take with my phone – the cookies aren't greenish!

Yesterday I was craving some cookies so I made plain oatmeal ones. No raisins, no nuts just plain oatmeal, butter and sugar. Maybe because they're so buttery and delicious, maybe because I quit smoking last Monday but I just couldn't stop eating them. Well, Dan couldn't either so maybe it's because they're so good! We ate one after the other watching Mad Men. Then I went out for a run!

Thanksgiving was fantastic. With no familial relations here I appreciated the phone calls and texts from family and dear friends. No matter how much distance is between us, the bond is never lessened and it's nice to fall back into a 20 year conversation with a good friend.

Which reminds me, 15 years ago tomorrow, I met Dan. He was skiing alone at Copper Mountain, I was snowboarding with 5 guy friends. Thanks to our good friend Bill (one of my guys friends) we got to meet. Since he and Dan are inclined to good cheer and meeting people they struck up a conversation at the bottom of a run. The rest is herstory =)

Dad and I used to celebrate the first snow of the season by cross-country skiing Vail pass, an 11-mile run into Minturn. We'd have Navaho fry bread smothered in green chili and a beer once we got to Minturn, 6 hours later. We did it every year on Veteran's Day.

Cross Country skiing Mayflower Gulch near Copper Mountain Colorado

Snowshoeing at Kenosha Pass

Baxter loved it

Lucy needed a ride home

While still in Colorado, Dan and I would go to Kenosha Pass every Fall. My soul sister Julie and I used to do it when she lived with me. I would miss her on those hikes. I fondly remembered her hip adjustments. We'd have to stop every now and then so she could lay down, I'd grab a hold of her foot and pull until her leg softly slipped back into it's socket. She didn't care as long as she was hiking in those beautiful Colorado mountains with Fall splashed all over it. Kenosha Pass has the largest Aspen grove that we knew of, running for miles, and in the Fall it was something to see! The hills were on fire with gold, and red. 

Kenosha Pass

Some years later we did a girls trip to Jackson, WY and Yellowstone National Park. A full week of hiking and camping. Bliss! I love the beauty of Mother Nature's rugged mountains, I feel at home in them. A sense of joy and peace transcends my worries and I feel completely alive.

Julie and I at the summit of Avalanche Peak in Yellowstone, 1800 feet in 2.5 miles

Girlfriends on day hikes

Why am I mentioning all this? Well, I haven't really been able to hike the mountains of Kauai because I smoked. My lungs just wouldn't let me. But on turkey day – me being smoke-free for 4 days – Dan and I started a new family tradition. We hiked the Kalalau trail. Well, 2 miles of it's 11 rugged miles. Something I have been fantasizing about since we came here for a visit 17 months ago. It is easily...well maybe not so easily, but definitely the most beautiful hike we've ever done.

Carved into the cliffside the narrow trail follows the Na Pali coastline. Beautiful views and a lot of vertical assent, well...I'll just let Dan's beautiful photographs tell the story!

Hiking through steep jungle, the trail was sometimes slick with mud from mountain runoff.

1/2 mile in you come to a scenic overlook of Ke`e Beach. 

Happy plants thriving everywhere!

Up the steep, wet lava path

the hike has lots of scenic overlooks

Dan really got some great shots!

More up - dry this time!

More beauty

The over look to our destination Hanakapi`ai Beach

Passion fruit flowers

We had to cross the stream that runs into the ocean before getting to the beach

We were blessed with thunderous waves and rainbows



15 foot waves pound the cliffside

Dan got a close up of that baby!

Oh yea, we got to see a monk seal!

Soft Oatmeal Cookies


  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 3 cups quick cooking oats


  1. In a medium bowl, cream together butter, white sugar, and brown sugar. Beat in eggs one at a time, then stir in vanilla. Combine flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon; stir into the creamed mixture. Mix in oats. Cover, and chill dough for at least one hour.
  2. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease cookie sheets. Roll the dough into walnut sized balls, and place 2 inches apart on cookie sheets. Flatten each cookie with a large fork dipped in sugar.
  3. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in preheated oven. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.


  1. I just stumbled in here and thought I'd stop to offer a big HO'OMAIK'I 'ANA (CONGRATS!) on your recent choice to take the smoke-freedom path. I did the same a little over nine years ago, and I know it can be pretty challenging, especially when you're first starting out.

    I was helped IMMENSELY by the American Lung Association's online "Freedom From Smoking" program. Completing the exercises offered there helped me better understand my addiction and build defenses against it. I haven't been back to FFS in years, but the forum there was also quite useful to my process. (And, quitting smoking IS a process rather than an event.) It allowed different benefits at different stages -- from initially providing role models to later encouraging me to be strong as I became the role model for others.

    There are SO MANY great hikes on Kauai... you have SO MUCH to look forward to... I send you keep-the-quit ALOHA NUI LOA. ;-)

  2. Mahalo!!! I will definitely check them out. It does seem to have stages as this week is different in last week. I thought it would get better, in some ways it has but other, tougher things are showing up! Nine years! Good for you, your lungs are almost as good as new, after 10 yea? Aloha nui loa!

  3. Me, again... "Anonymous" (Debi)... because I was reminded of you and wondered how it's going... sending aloha...