Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Welcome to Fort Clatsop!


So, in the recent tradition of visiting national parks and historic sites, we visited the Lewis and Clark 'Fort to Sea' site. Sonya and Sidney did a decent job at hiking while holding hands, but they had the most fun running in and out of the rooms in the small wooden fort.

We finished the day with lots of candy and icecream at Seaside. It was a nice, sunny day. Yea!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

National Parks and Fort Vancouver

First, a note on my new "collection" as Karren calls it. There are currently 392 national parks/monuments/reserves/.... Almost all of them have at least one cancellation stamp (like with US passports). We tend to visit at least 2 or 3 parks a year, so I thought I would start collecting them. I bought a passport book and now have stamps from three parks, Haleakala, Volcanoes, and now Fort Vancouver. The most complete collection of stamps I have found online is here: http://azroadie.esmartweb.com/index.html. It should be a fun way to document our travels.

Sonya and I visited Fort Vancouver which actually is divided into two separate site.

First, we visited the fort in Vancouver and saw the restored monument, cooking demos, blacksmith demos, and various artifacts from the time.


Mostly, we just ran around the park.



As Sonya looked tired, we went to the car and headed towards the second part of the monument, the McLoughlin House in Oregon City. Sonya fell asleep in the car and didn't wake up when we arrived. I took the guided tour through the house with Sonya sleeping soundly on my chest.
On Thursday we said goodbye to Hawaii. We said goodbye to the cool trees and warm rain drops...

We said goodbye to our new friends and showed them a few 'mainland' tricks (here Sonya demonstrates the art of olive fingers)...

We said goodbye to the sky, and grass, and ocean...

and we saluted our little paradise with one last dance.
video
goodbye Hawaii...until we meet again:-)

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Wednesday, we took a chartered boat over to the small island crater of Molokini. Is was a fantastic fish sanctuary and snorkel haven.


We then boated over to an open water area with large numbers of green sea turtles. During our one hour in this location, dozens of little turtles bobbed to the surface to get a breath. We didn't do much snorkeling here...it was more fun watching Sonya swim. "I'm kicking in ocean!", she screamed. Everyone thought she was soooo cute!

The last part of our trip was a little whale watching tour. It was REALLY cool! We saw lots of Mommy/ baby combos with 'an escort' (yep, a male whale who protects the mommy and baby in the hopes that the Mommy will reward him with a smooch or two at the end of their trip. Oh, and he's almost never the baby's daddy. Monogamy is an unpracticed art in whale culture.)
We didn't get any good photos of the whales because we were too busy watching. We saw a 2 minute tale slapping display, lots of breaching, and countless blow hole thingys. Sonya kept pointing them out to us to make sure we didn't miss anything....

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Volcanoes National Park

Yesterday was Monday, March 15th. It was a special day in that Miah would have been 5 months old. We decided to celebrate by spending the day in the heavens, as high as we could get to be with our little princess. We took a small little plane over to the Big Island to play in Volcanoes National Park (it is considered the highest mountain in the world when measured from it's base on the ocean floor. We had a nice time seeing the volcano and old lava fields, but we wish we had more time to spend in the park.




On our flight back, we saw a super pretty sun set. It set super slow as we chased the horizon. It was a nice day in the heavens. I suppose there will never really come a day when we don't think about Miah, and how old she would be if she were with us, or what she is doing at the moment. That's not a bad thing.

Saturday and Sunday were kicked-back days of just staying local and mingling. This photo is of Sonya on the Keiki Express, a homemade tractor train made for the school fair fundraiser in Hana. Sonya LOVES trains, and rode this contentedly around the school grounds countless times. Cam and I did our part in support by purchasing kid made chili dogs (a bowl of rice with a hotdog and chili on top) and dancing to the live music (like yodeling harmonica player singing about broken down trucks on the windey Hana road). We had a great time, and people are actually starting to recognize us as those 'vacationers who just won't leave.' I'm trying to talk Cam into moving here after all of our kids are born (there's no way I'm having a baby at home like most of the people around here! I want drugs, doctors, and doting nurses!). Anyway, Cam would make a great school teacher, and Hana has NO BAKERY at all. I could set up a road-side shop and make a killing off tourists.

Sunday was a church day. After services, we were invited over to dine with a family of visitors to Hana. It was a huge house overlooking the ocean, and the food was fantastic. Sonya ran around playing with kids, while Cam and I enjoyed a private concert with Peter Breinholt (a very well known folk artist, apparently). It was soooooo pretty. He has a whole collection of his music on line if you want to take a look: http://www.peterbreinholt.com/

On a separate note, we took this beautiful picture. It is either a photo of the surface of Mars taken at the Volcano astrological observatory, or it's my peeling skin from my back and shoulder sunburn. Your choice...

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Friday, we explored Wai'anapanapa (did you know the Hawaiin language only uses 7 consonants) State Park. We hiked a fabulous trail along the coast. The area is known for it's black sand beaches from recent lava flow, blow holes, and the fresh water caves like in this picture.




After all this prettiness, Sonya was actually most excited about some outside showers she found by the bathroom. She played in these for an hour or so, giggling like crazy. Simple pleasures, I guess.
Wednesday, we woke up at 4 am to catch sunrise on Haleakala, the tall mountain in the center of Maui. It was a two a half hour drive from Hana, so we had to leave early. When we reached the top, a huge FREEZING winter storm was blasting and we could barely see a rock infront of us, let alone the sunrise. After a quick stop, we made it a beach day. Sonya was happy to play in the water again, and Suzi and I did some snorkeling. Finally, we played at a fun little luau. Sonya was HILARIOUS dancing with the girls! I have a cute video to show, but our internet connection is far to slow to download. I'll send it out later:-)

Thursday, we took Sonya to the aquarium to see the fishies up close. She made friends with a particularly curious crab and loved touching all the see stars. We stayed so long that we actually got kicked out at closing time!

We wrapped up the evening with a sunset stroll on the beach by the hotel at which I used to work. Soooo purdy!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Haleakala National Park

Tuesday, we hiked to Waimoku Falls in Haleakala National Park. It was a gorgeous sunny day. We started out with Sonya in Daddy's backpack but she started screaming "my walk!" three minutes in. She proceeded to walk a significant portion of the 4 mile hike while holding dad's hand. Passers by were VERY impressed by her stamina.

Along the way, there were tons of hidden caves, alien-looking trees, and smaller waterfalls. You can't see it in this picture, but behind Cam and Sonya, there is a huge load waterfall gushing out of a lava tube and into an underground cave.

Half way through, the hike morphed into a wild bamboo forest. It swayed as a single entity in the wind (a storm was beginning to form by that time...the rain forest we're staying in has huge storms for a couple moments, then goes back to sunshine). Just look at Sonya, still happily hiking the trail.

Here's me, Sonya, and Suzi at the falls. They had to have been well over 120 feet high. There was no where else to go after this point...we were surrounded by cliffs.

Here's Cam and Sonya in the bottom left corner to give you an impression of the view. This was one of the Wilde Family's favorite hikes ever! Pretty, pretty.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

oops!

So, did you know that large amounts (not minimal spraying) of sunscreen can actually protect you from unbearable pain and suffering? Yep, Sonya (who was doused in said product) has been the only one over the past 3 days who hasn't been groaning under the blistered purple skin of a sun worshiper. Needless to say, we've been taking it easy...snail hunting in our yard, perusing the local art galleries, and complaining.

Our back yard:-)

Last night we were invited over to a "small" family home evening with some Hawaiins. The family consisted of only 45 or so kids, aunts, uncles and grandparents. It was AWESOME...by far our favorite outing on the island so far. We ate venison shot and killed by one of the sons that week. We were also laughed at as we attempted to choke down some Poi (a sour purple root vegetable with the texture of horse glue. MMMMM. Sonya, of course, kissed and hugged every child 14 times, as if her week long pergatory of 'playing with grown-ups' was finally over! We were invited to play with our new friends next Sunday and Monday also.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Saturday was our 'Beach Bumming' day...it was sunny and fabulous. We made many attempts at boogie boarding. I took one hard spill that folded me into a backward pretzel and filled my suit with about 12 lbs. of sand. Sonya made tons of friends, played in the sand, and was fearless in the water.


Next we went caving in a lava tube. Sonya love the stalagtites and didn't seem to be scared of the dark at all.


At the end of the day, we stopped by a road side hut for some fresh ice cream. Mmmmm...Sonya had obviously missed this diet staple.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Today, we played a little in Haleakala National park. When we arrived, the main attraction (Seven Sacred Pools) was completely dried up. While eating lunch in the nearly empty park, the rangers started freaking out excitedly. Appearently, the pools have been dry since November due to drought (something which has never happened in recent history) and, at that very moment, a flash flood was coming down the mountain to fill the pools and empty into the ocean. We watched history in the making as each pool filled with water, overflowed, then filled the one below it and so on. It was AWESOME! Hopefully, the pools will be ready for swimming by early next week!


Susan and I hiked upstream to get a better look at the waterfalls, while Cam and Sonya played at the delta. Rain PELTED down on us most of the time...it was warm and glorious!


Thursday, March 4, 2010

Hello from our first full day in Maui, Hawaii! Sonya is having a blast (and so are we!)


This ocean view is just steps from our cute little cabin. We have a stunning garden with bananas, mangos, and avocados actually growing on trees!!! Did you know they did that!?!? Anyway, just gorgeous. We will send pictures out over the next two weeks!