Trip to California and Hawaii
Robert & Barbara's trip to California and Hawaii, March 23 - April 7, 2015
Click on a picture for a larger view (and often more photos)
Mon. March 23
We started out from Madison's Dane County airport and changed to a larger aircraft in Minneapolis. The chief excitement on our flight occurred when a passenger was stowing a bag in the overhead bin there. Instructed by a flight attendant to push harder to get his bag in place, the passenger did. Then I heard "I think I broke something." More pushing was followed by a definite sound of breaking glass. This aircraft had flourescent lighting tubes which could be seen throught a slot above the storage bins. One of these tubes had broken. The bin had to be emptied and a cleanup crew called in to pick and vacuum up the broken glass. I had to temporarily vacate my seat so that they could make sure it was free of glass. Despite the accident the flight departed on time. (On our return flight we heard an announcement warning passengers not to force bags into the overhead bins.)
Robin picked us up at the San Jose airport that evening and took us to a restaurant where we met Evelyn, Elodie, Mischa and Evan. Mischa and Evan were in town because they had been with Robin and Mischa's mother, Deborah Doob, terminally ill in a San Jose facility, the previous evening. While waiting to board our plane in Minneapolis we had learned from Mischa via Barb's iPhone that his mom had died early that morning. After our late evening supper at the restaurant Mischa and Evan drove back to their place in Oakland and Barb and I headed to Robin's house with his family.
Tue. March 24
Tuesday was a day for catching up on junk mail sorting. Elodie was glad to help.
Wed. March 25
At Robin & Evelyn's house our pleasant chore each morning was entertaining Elodie after she was up, allowing her parents to go back to bed and catch up on their sleep. On Wednesday Barb and I were able to keep Elodie entertained until after 10 am with the help of the orange shown at right. It was hanging from the orange tree in Robin's little side yard at a good height for Elodie to push and swing. Robin figured that January was the end of the orange season, and said I was welcome to any organges remaining in the tree. Before we left for Hawaii I picked all the oranges that did not have holes pecked in them except the one shown with Elodie. I figured I would leave that one to entertain Elodie further on our return. A feathered friend had other ideas. By the time we returned in early April that last orange had several holes pecked in it and had been hollowed out, leaving only the dry skin shown at left.
Mischa, who had decided to take off from work through Thursday, drove down from Oakland. I suggested he, Barb and I explore the road along the high north ridge overlooking the City of San Jose's Alum Rock Park. Driving up Sierra Road to the ridge we found a parking lot and hiking, biking and horseback riding trails in what proved to be the Sierra Vista Open Space Preserve. There was a stiff wind blowing over the ridge and as we walked down toward a rock outcropping the wind from behind whipped my straw hat off despite the chin strap. In a second it had disappear below the rocks. Fortunately the hillside beyond the rocks was not as steep as we first feared, and Mischa was able to climb down and rescue the hat, which he proceeded to pose in.
Thur. March 26
On Thursday Mischa came over from Rhonda and Brad's (Evelyn's aunt and uncle), where he had spent the night. He drove Barb and me to Alum Rock Park, which he and Barb had not visited before. We all hiked to the platform half way up the trail which gives a view around a bend in the gorge. Then Barbara headed back down while Mischa and I continued on to the highest section of the South Rim Trail, following its west end down to the Visitor's Center area where Barb was waiting.
Fri. March 27
On Friday I borrowed Robin's bike and visited Overfelt Gardens Park, where I photographed this statue of Confucius from a dry pool bed. The California drought has meant that all but one of the pools in the park is currently dry.
Sat. March 28
This was our last morning with Elodie, Willow and family before Hawaii. Here Willow provides a handy backrest for Elodie. In the afternoon Robin took us to the San Jose airport for our flight to Los Angeles. From there we had a 5 hour evening flight to Maui.
Sat. March 28
We arrived at the Kahului airport on Maui after dark and were met by Casey and Tim, who had arrived earlier in the day and rented a car. Casey greeted each of us with a traditional Hawaiian flower lei. These were stored in the refrigerator when we got to the Makai Inn at 1415 Front St. in Lahaina, where we spent our first 3 nights. Lahaina is on the western shore of the island.
Sun. March 29
On our first full day in Hawaii we headed up the coast from Lahaina, stopping first at a public beach next to a high lava cliff and resort buildings. Tim knew about public parking available in the ground level garage area of a building. I took a short walk on to the rocks at the base of the cliff area, as shown in Barb's photo at left. When you click on that photo you will see 2 photos I took facing inland that show the resorts near the beach and behind them the inland mountains with their usual clouds above them. Continuing north along the coast we left this urban area behind. Toward the northern tip of west Maui we stopped at a popular jungle path to the shore.There Tim, Casey and Barb went snorkeling near the rocky shore while I went in for a dip. After about an hour we continued up the coast, stopping at points along the shore past the northern tip as shown in the last 2 photos linked to at right, taken by Barb with her iPhone.
The Makai Inn surrounds a small garden on 3 sides, with the ocean on the 4th side. We quickly learned that the garden was home to numberous small lizards who often scooted across the walk as we made our way to the shore. Shown here is a green gecko (I'm guessing) displaying its dewlap (throat flap). It jumped from the bamboo pole on to the leaves nearby.
Along the way we turned up a very rough dirt road with a "no tresspassing" sign posted at the entrance and stopped to visit friends of Tim's and met their 6 month old baby boy, pictured with their retired pig hunding dog. Then we continued on up the coast to the Olivine Pools area, but did not hike down to the shore. Further along the coast we could see the rugged Kahakuloa Head (shown on the right). Turning back, we headed to the Nakalele Blowhole. Tim and I hiked down to it while Barb and Casey came down the slope part way. Our last stop as we continued down the coast was at the Dragon's Teeth.
Returning to the Inn Tim cooked us salmon and halibut on the charcoal grill. After supper Barb and I sat in chairs by the shore enjoying the warm evening with another couple staying at the Inn and commenting on the clouds shown at left. The other husband called the wispy clouds "mare's tails" and Barb pointed out that the smaller ones with tails trailing downward looked like jelly fish.
Mon. March 30
Monday morning Tim and Casey headed out early for a scuba diving event. Barb (recovering from a cold) slept in while I hiked south on Front St. and along the beach behind the Buddhist temple to the Banyan Tree Park downtown. Barb was up when I got back about 9:30 am. We hiked north along the coast and saw a sea turtle swimming along. (It stuck its head out of the water 3 times while we were watching.) We continued as far north as a small beach where Barb waded and talked to a woman who was also standing in the water, watching sea turtles. A couple of them swam past. Back at the Inn we had some lunch and were given a couple of bananas, which were growing in the Inn's garden there just outside our door.
In the afternoon Tim and I drove to Iao Valley State Monument and hiked the trails near Iao Needle. It's a valley with very steep sides and a rushing stream at the bottom. Leaving the State Monument we stopped at a little park just down the road from it (last 6 photos linked to at left). We rejoined Barb and Casey back in Lahaina in time to walk to our evening restaurant engagement with Tim's friends and their baby. Casey and Barb took turns holding the baby, who was very well behaved for the 2-1/2 hours we were there.
Tue. March 31
Our last morning in Lahaina we put on the flower leis from the refrigerator and Casey took our picture. Then we got on the road a little after 8:30 am but stopped at an old pier in town Tim wanted to show us that has been closed since it was damaged by a hurricane. He used to scuba dive near there. We got out of Lahaina around 9 am and headed for Haleakala National Park. My Senior Pass got our car in without charge and we headed for the summit. We started out below the clouds but were above them at the summit. Once there at just over 10,000 feet Tim was not feeling well, perhaps because of that altitude after the pressure of scuba diving the previous day. He stayed in the car while Barb, Casey and I headed down the first section of the Sliding Sands Trail. Barb and Casey did not want to hold me up so I said I would hike as far as the point where the trail disappeared over a ridge below that we could see from where the trail first gave us a view of the valley below. I could see them up the trail from me as I hiked down. Over the ridge there was nothing visible but cloud, so I headed back up the trail. The hike up was pretty exhausting at that altitude for me. At the first big rock next to the path I draped myself over the rock, hoping I could dramatize (and exaggerate) how I was feeling to Barb and Casey far up the trail. They did not notice, but a middle aged woman much closer did. I was sitting on the rock to rest as she came by (going downhill) and asked in an accented voice "okay?" I assured her I was and continued up the trail. Hiking slowly and resting as needed I eventually caught up to Barb and Casey, and we continued on up to where Tim was waiting in the parking lot, reading a book in the car. On the way down the road we stopped at a scenic overlook but could not see much but nearby rocks because we were in a cloud.
Continuing down on highways 378 and 377 we managed to find our way with some difficulty to highway 365 north to the highway 360 section of the Hana Highway and headed southeast toward our new digs in Hana on the east coast of the island. Along the Hana Highway we glimpsed some water falls but did not stop because we wanted to get to our new accommodations before dark. It was an exciting drive because of the single lane sections where you are supposed to yield (stop and wait) when you see that another vehicle coming the opposite direction has reached the section ahead of you, and because of the cars and trucks that suddenly came at us around a bend with a front wheel over the double yellow line in our lane. There were also narrow sections with no double line (or any line) in the center where Tim forged ahead next to cars stopped or coming slowly in the opposite direction (which he vocally informed that "you have plenty of room") while he passed so close to rocks protruding from the cliff face on the right that I could have slapped them with my hand from the passenger seat (which I was not tempted to do). We arrived safely at the Aloha Cottages in Hana, an older place where Casey and Tim have stayed before, and settled in to a 2 bedroom second floor unit.
Wed. April 1
Today we backtracked northwest along the Hana Highway as far Wai'anapanapa State Park to visit the cave and black sands beach there. Tim jumped into the cave's pool (first photo linked to at right). A couple of guys were jumping into the ocean from the nearby lava pinnacle shown at right. Since I forgot to bring the charger for the Fuji digital camera I was using from Robin's house and wanted to conserve the camera battery, I borrowed Barb's iPhone to make a short video at the beach, then returned it to Barb as she sat on a rock talking to Casey. Casey remembered Barb stuffing it into the pocket of her shorts, but Barb had no recollection of that. She asked me later if I had her iPhone. We then began searching for it near the rock she had been sitting on and up along the path where she had stopped to clear stuff out of her sandals. We had no luck in finding it. Since Barb walked in the surf after getting up from the rock we suspect it was lost in the ocean.
After leaving word of the loss with someone at the State Park we returned to Hana and hiked the hazardous foot trail to the nearby red sands beach to which Casey and Tim had hiked late yesterday afternoon. Tim and Barb snorkeled, I went in for a dip in the Pacific, and Casey used her metal detector along the beach. Then we continued on along the Hana Highway a short distance to an off road area with an open-sided food shack with chicken which the other 3 ate while I hiked to nearby Koki beach with fine sand. I returned in time for a little chicken they had saved for me. As it happended the food shack was providing live music for its customers that day, and Casey and Tim got in some dancing. Then we continued along the Hana Highway, here mostly a 1-1/2 lane road with 2 way traffic.
Our day's chief destination was the Seven Sacred Pools ('Oho'e Gulch) at a shoreline section of the Haleakala National Park. My Senior Pass again got us in without charge. Casey and Barb went down to the lower pool near the ocean while Tim and I headed up the 2 mile trail to the 400 foot high Waimoku Falls (left). The trail took us past a banyan tree and smaller falls and through a bamboo thicket. Tiring of my slow but steady senior pace Tim soon said he would go on ahead and meet me coming down, which he did when I had about half a mile left to go. He said he had fallen and sprained his ankle and hurt his hand, but he insisted on accompanying me back up to the trail's end. There I took a couple of short movies of the falls (click to watch the one I posted on Facebook) and Tim took a couple of photos of me standing in the pool at the base of the falls. Then we headed back down, Tim running ahead with a limp and waiting for me to catch up from time to time. At one point he stumbled on a step and threw down (or dropped) his water bottle, commenting that he had now injured his other ankle. Fortunately that injury was minor, and he continued on down the path faster than me, even though I ran to catch up in sections of trail that were flat and smooth. Finally, we continued on down for a quick look at the lower pool. Tim's right ankle was the least injured one, so he was able to drive us back to our cottage. At one point he pulled over for several minutes to admire some "beautiful animals" in a field next to the road, black and brown beef cattle. Back at the cottage Barb and Casey applied ice to Tim's left ankle.
Thur. April 2
This was our last full day in Maui. Barb and I were up before Casey and Tim and decided to walk down to the Hana Bay Park a block away after breakfast, leaving a note. It started to rain while we were down there and Casey came looking for us in the car. The rain was never heavy and soon let up. We rejoined Casey and Tim at the cottage. Tim was somewhat improved from the previous evening and able to limp around so it did not seem necessary to take him to a doctor.
Later in the morning 3 of us set out for the day's main destination. Since Casey was preparing for a telephone job interview (Barrow AK) she stayed at the cottage and Tim drove us to the Venus Pool (Waioka) which he had not been to before. There was no water coming down the stream, so the pool was just filled with sea water, but it was very nice. The one family that was there when we arrived soon left and we had the pool to ourselves. Tim was feeling well enough to make the 15 min. hike to the site with a staff that Barbara had found. Tim stood on a point of rock about 12 feet above the pool and I was going to make a video of him if he decided to jump in but he sat down waiting for some debris to move out of the way, then jumped without warning while my camera was put away. I went down into the pool via the route the parents and kids ahead of us had used to climb out, and swam to the far side where it was shallow. Barbara never went in because she was worried she would have trouble climbing out (there being no path to the shallow side). When we were done and started back to the car I took a path out to the point overlooking the shore (3 photos), passed a crumbling heavy concrete structure that looked like it was left over from World War II (1 photo) and then caught up with Barb and the limping Tim.
Heading back toward the cottage we stopped at Hamoa Beach, where I wanted to take photos. Barb and Tim stayed up by the road while I took the stairs down to the beach. (Barb didn't want Tim going down to the beach because of his ankle.) I hurried back up and we headed on. Next we stopped again by the shore near the food shack we had been to yesterday and got our lunch out of the cooler at a picnic table. After lunch Barb hiked over to the adjacent Koki Beach that I had visited yesterday. Surfers were using the breakers there today. When I was done with lunch I joined her while Tim climbed the small tree that hung over our picnic table as a place to put ice on his ankle and cut the skin off a papaiya he had purchased earlier and brought along. I photographed the beach's hand painted warning sign.
We got back to the cottage some time after 1 pm, knowing Casey would be done with her job interview by then. She and Barb walked to a nearby art gallery and I returned to the shore trail at the far end of the bay park which I had begun to explore in the morning. It could be called the Ka'ahumanu trail because of the 1928 plaque placed on the trail by the Hawaiian territory honoring the birthplace of that Hawaiian queen. At one point I stopped to photograph numerous black crabs that were crawling up the vertical face of a rough wave splashed red rock. It is a hike at your own risk dead end trail, and as I neared my starting point on the way back I came up on a middle aged man being helped slowly back to the parking lot. The black marks on the seat of his shorts and the bloody scrapes on one calf showed that he had had and accident.
Later Tim asked me to drop him off at the nearby trail to the red sands beach before I took the car. My solo destination was Wai'anapanapa State Park (location of the black sands beach we had previously visited). There I parked and set out on the Wai'anapanapa coast hike described in our Maui Revealed guide book. I crossed over the lava bridge with waves crashing below and continued on as far as a camper's shack high above the ocean. (I did not make it as far as the temple of unknown origin described in the book, unless that was it.) Upon returning to the state park I hiked beyond the black sands beach to the rocky point just beyond it. There I could feel the rocks vibrate as the waves crashed against them, so I did not tarry long beyond the warning sign about rocks breaking off.
Casey had gone down to the red sands beach and walked back to the cottage with Tim by the time I returned and Casey was preparing to cook salmon on a charcoal grill. Turkey slices, cheese and fresh pineapple and cocoanut were also on the menu. It was during supper that a large dark blue helicopter landed on the school playground just beyond the Travaasa Hotel across the road from us. A few minutes later a small yellow helicopter appeared and landed. I went over to find out what was happening and saw that the large helicopter was labeled "ambulance" and the small yellow one "Maui County Fire and Rescue." Earlier Casey and Tim had seen a police SUV and ambulance arrive near the trail to the red sands beach. As I watched men in yellow suits conferred with each other and with others in blue suits on the playground while the helicopters idled. Eventually a rope was laid out attached to the yellow helicopter. A man in a yellow suit and a woman in blue attached themselves to the other end and the helicopter took off, lifting them over the steep shoreline hill which soon hid them from sight. After a few minutes the helicopter reappeared with two hanging from the end of the rope and returned to the playground. Then it carried one man at the end of the rope out of sight again and returned with two attached (with no stretcher). Soon the yellow helicopter left and the big blue one also flew off. A bit later an ambulance and police SUV drove by in front of our 2nd floor porch, the ambulance with its red lights flashing but no siren. We later read about the rescue here: Man hospitalized after falling 200 feet down Maui cliff.
After supper we headed over to the bar at the Travaasa Hotel for some Hawaiian music. Tim and Casey danced to some of the tunes on an entryway several steps up overlooking the bar floor. At the end of their gig the leader of the trio that was playing gave "special thanks" to the evening's dancers (Tim and Casey being the only ones).
Fri. April 3
Friday morning we stopped at some modest waterfalls along the Hana Highway, which winds along the steep coastal hillsides that plunge to the shore. We also stopped at a small town where Tim could buy some banana bread and at some roadside rainbow eucalyptus trees. Though delayed by a traffic jam near the town of Paia along the 2 lane no passing road, Tim got us to the airport on time.They were just starting to load our flight to LA when we reach our gate.
Fri. April 3
When our evening flight from LA arrived at the San Jose airport Mischa picked us up and took us to his and Evan's place in Oakland.
Sat. April 4
Mischa drove us to the hilltop section of Mountain View Cemetery overlooking Oakland where we took in the view. Then Mischa drove back to his and Evan's place and Barb and I walked back through the cemetery. Barb took the photo of me at right, trying to set things straight in the cemetery.
Sun. April 5
Mischa, Evan, Barb and I joined Robin, Elodie, Evelyn and numerous members of her extended family at a big Easter Sunday gathering with a fine meal at the home of Evelyn's aunt Karen.
Mon. April 6
On our last day in San Jose Barb and I walked to Overfelt Gardens Park but found the gates locked.
Tue. April 7
Robin drove us to the San Jose airport in time for our 6:20 am flight to Minneapolis. There was a sizable line of people waiting to have bags checked in, etc. We got boarding passes from the woman who checked Barb's bag in. Barb went back to ask why our passes did not show the seats she had selected, and was told they would be assigned at the gate. We sailed through the security check point with no problem. Later when the name "Park" was called at our gate we approached the counter to find another couple there. By this time I had noticed that my boarding pass said "PARK/WILLIAM MICHAEL" and Barb found that hers said "PARK/BARBARA EVE." Two Barbara Parks were on the same flight and the boarding passes for the 2 couples had been switched. No one at the security check point had noticed that the names on our IDs did not match our boarding passes. At the gate the 4 of us turned in our boarding passes and were issued new ones. However, it was too late to change the destination of checked baggage before departure. Barbara S. Park's bag was headed for Philadelphia and the other family's luggage was headed for Madison. We had to wait until our arrival in Minneapolis to try to get that problem fixed. On the ground in Minneapolis I saw the bag belonging to our Barbara go down the belt from our plane and get loaded into the cart full of Philadelphia luggage. We met the other couple at the gate counter where we deplaned and explained the problem, giving luggage descriptions. The ground crew in Minneapolis was able to locate the misdirected bags and get them redirected before our connecting flights took off. We continued on to Madison in a smaller plane and our bag appeared in the baggage claim area there as we had hoped.