Friday, September 13, 2013

Crater Laking

Although unplanned (because neither Andy or I can successfully remember our anniversary), we headed to Crater Lake for our 6th anniversary with friends.  We hiked, took a boat tour around the lake, watched the meteor shower (which apparently always falls on or around our anniversary!), played some euchre and cards against humanity.  All in all, it was a great weekend (except that in our two games of euchre, no team made it in the barn, which is my favorite part of the game).

Blue lake!

Wizard island

Andy and I both packed poorly and had to buy Crater Lake themed items with sleeves.  We had a similar problem in Hawaii, where we had to buy Hawaii beach towels AND in Alaska where we didn't bring enough warm weather clothes!

S&A hiking

On the boat

The phantom ship doesn't look as ghostly close up

The Pinnacles

I ordered the "tofu vegetable tower" at the national park lodge---this is what arrived.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

The Real South and Green Sand

After our unbelievable volcano day, we headed towards the Kona side of the island stopping at a black sand beach with turtles, the southernmost point in the US, and a beach with green sand (one of two in the world!).  And oh yeah, it was my birthday!  So, there were flowers waiting for me at our hotel (ain't Andy sweet?) and we made sure to have a super chocolatey dessert after a dinner of kalua pork spring rolls and fish tacos!  Yum!


Southernmost point (or very close to it)

Green sand beach!

It's not grass green people, more of an olive green due to the olivine mineral

The walk down to the beach

Flowers for my birthday!

I know that my number one priority on my last day in Hawaii should have been to snorkel or swim, but it was actually to eat poke from Da Poke Shack.  Multiple types of poke, 5 stars on yelp!  And eat poke we did!  Between the two of us, we ate one pound of poke (literally), and truth be told, it was not an even split.  

We did snorkel and swim---I even saw a moray eel!  Plus, we visited the place of refuge, which was peaceful and beautiful.  And for dinner, we headed to Kona Brewing Company.  We were due to leave the next morning but thought that Tropical Storm Flossie might stop us---luckily (?), Hawaiian Airlines was not fazed and we made it back to Seattle with no trouble (unless you count having to eat at Sammy Hagar's restaurant in the Maui airport!).

The Place of Refuge

This pose is not awkward at all!

Our snorkeling spot

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Volcano Day

Man oh man, this day was amazing.  We spent the whole day on volcano activities (unless you count the time we spent tracking down spam musubi, which for the record can be found at 7-11 in Hawaii).

We started the day at Volcanos National Park, where we hiked across the crater of Kilauea and walked through a lava tube.
Yup, we walked across that.


Andy at the mouth of a lava tube.

After a quick bite for lunch, we headed to Lava Tree State Park where we saw the remnants of trees captured in lava.  

Plants in Hawaii = Badass

We heeded this warning and came back to tell the tale.  

These use to be trees!

Even though the day had been amazing and chock full o' volcano, we weren't done by a long shot!  The most unbelievable hike of my life was still to come.  The current lava flow is all on private property, so the only ways to see it up close are to take a helicopter, a boat, or do what we did, a guided hike.  I am not sure how to set the scene because it still seems so crazy to me.  There are people who live in houses built on what was recently (by all measures not just geologic time) lava.  It's only been a few years since a lava flow took out the neighbors of our guide.  We hiked about 3 miles out over freshly created rock to a spot where lava was coming out of the earth.  We did poke it with a stick but didn't take any with us (no need to tempt Pele).  Then, we headed to the coast to watch earth be created.  We got to sit for about an hour and just watch lava flow into the ocean until dark.  Head lamps on, inspired, awed, and amazed, we trekked back in the dark to our guide's house and our cars.  

Our guide's house

There's another house!

Lava is so cool!

Andy's feeling it!


Earth forming!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

You're going to Hawaii? That's so wonderful!

Prior to our trip, every time we talked about going to Hawaii we thought about Luis Guzman's character from Punch Drunk Love and how excited he was for Adam Sandler to be going to Hawaii.  In case you can't tell, we both pretty damn entertained by Luis Guzman (not sure why you wouldn't be!).  And if you didn't know, going to Hawaii is wonderful.

We flew into Hilo but stopped only to get coffee (at a nice coffee stand where the iced coffee was made with ice cubes made of coffee) and spam musubi.  We headed straight for Mauna Kea to check out the sunset and stargazing.  As we were driving up the mountain, we hit a cloud bank and wondered if stargazing was actually in the cards, but then we drove above the clouds and all was crystal clear.  We didn't go all the way to the observatories partly due to time and partly because there is absolutely no way our rental car would have made it (FYI, the Chevy Spark is only a hair nicer than the Aveo, which means it is total crap).  After checking out a lovely sunset, we stuck around the ranger station for the stargazing.  They had telescopes set up to view Venus and Saturn (we saw the rings!).

Afterwards, we headed to our awesome B&B (My Island Bed & Breakfast) where we spent two nights.  They had yummy breakfast and gave us great information on how best to explore the volcano (see tomorrow's post for what we did!).

Saturday, September 7, 2013

A different time zone for 6 straight Sundays

It's taken me ages to blog about our recent trips, and that's because I had a crazy-a$$ summer!

Here's why: I kept changing time zones like it was going out of style.  Here's what July and August looked like:

Sunday, July 21st - Seattle
Sunday, July 28th - Kona, Hawaii
Sunday, August 4th - Winston-Salem, NC
Sunday, August 11th - Crater Lake, OR
Sunday, August 18th - Wrightsille Beach, NC
Sunday, August 25th - Seattle

I will blog about Hawaii soon I promise!

Friday, August 2, 2013

Big Island Birthday

I really want to blog about and post pictures from our amazing trip to the Big Island, and I will soon, but I am traveling for work and then fun for most of the next three weeks (I am home for a total of about 4 days over that time period---is that right?  Aack!).  In the meantime, check out this picture of me poking lava with a stick!!