I was a primary teacher in a K-12 alternative school. In 2006, I took a leave for four months, travelling through Central America. I visited schools and studied Spanish along with being a tourist. My class followed my travels through this blog. I have continued to use this blog to keep friends, family and my students connected to my travels, recently in Mexico and now Kenya!
I am now retired and my husband and I hope to do even more traveling! I am volunteering in an after-school program on the Indian reservation where we live and at the local art museum along with gardening, kayaking, biking, and cooking....We spent a month in Argentina in the winter of 2009.
We are now ready to depart on a trip to Italy. We hope to spend a month or so seeing Rome, Venice, Florence, Cinque Terre and the area around Naples.
We are going back to Italy this fall, hoping to see more of the smaller towns and villages.
We spent three weeks in the Yucatan, and then took a road trip to California and back.
A trip to Japan to see my brother and do some biking...a road trip through the Southwest...and a visit to the Mexican state of Oaxaca!
November 9th 2013
Today was our last full day on the Big Island... We decided to return to the Volcano National Park (We have a senior pass but an admission is good for seven days...very good thing to know...) and hike the Kilauea Iki Trail. It is the "one hike to take if you can only do one.." and lived up to the hype.... You begin at a parking lot on Crater Road and descend slowly for more than a mile to the crater floor through beautiful jungle. Just before we reached the crater level, we took a side path to the Byron Ledge Trail, where Princess Kapiolani stood on the rim of the Kilauea crater and defied Pele and cemented Christianity when nothing happened to her. "As Kapiolani stood at the edge of this molten abyss, she declared ... read more
November 8th 2013
We started the day with a drive to Pahoa Town, and then to Lava Trees State Park. The mile from Pahoa to the park is amazing, with giant trees making a canopy over the road. The rain turned into a downpour as we arrived in the parking lot and didn't let up, so we changed our plans and drove a few minutes to the coast (rain stopped a mile down the road), where we took a gravel, one lane road through the jungle (there were homes down driveways from time to time) to the shore and then into a housing development, and back to Pahoa. Since the sun was out, we headed back to Lava Trees, only to end up in the same downpour we'd been in an hour earlier. We were only in a few ... read more
November 7th 2013
We stayed in Hilo today...went to the farmer's market in the morning, then out to the local beaches...after a refreshing swim at Carlsmith Beach (where the water is cold and warm, due to fresh water springs), we headed back into Hilo Town and out to Rainbow and Wai'ale Falls. Next was lunch in Hilo and then a drive up to the Hawaiian Botanical Gardens....a wonderful place... The early settlers (sugarcane was planted) removed all of the valley's native vegetation. There remained only some tall coconut palms, which now are over 150 years old. The tall mango and monkeypod trees in the valley today have grown up since 1850. Dan and Pauline Lutkenhouse transformed Onomea Valley from a dense jungle to a pristine tropical paradise starting in 1977. The valley was only accessible with a machete, and ... read more
November 6th 2013
You probably remember all the National Geographic articles on volcanos and especially the eruption of Kilauea in Hawaii, with photos of roads and homes being covered in oozing lava..... Well, I was there today....! And since I can never see enough lava, I loved every minute....only regret is that there is no flow right now that you can get close to....so that experience will have to wait... But here's lots of footage: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6rk3oW4aahQ We started off with a view of the eruption in the crater, called Halema'uma'u, from the Jaggar Museum (where they have a comparison between Mt St Helens lava and that of Kilauea!). The plume of volcanic gas is a "constant and dramatic reminder of the molten rock churning in a lava lake beneath the crater floor". The crater became active again in March ... read more
November 5th 2013
Monday: We drove up through Waimea this morning, after leaving beautiful Big Wave....We drove through the Parker Ranch. Founded in 1847, the Parker Ranch "is not only one of the oldest and most historic ranches in the United States, it is also noted as the country's largest privately-owned cattle enterprise. It covers thousands of acres across the island and is a lasting testament to the pioneering contributions of Hawaiian cowboys - the so-called "Paniolo'' - to the culture and growth of the state.'" "John Parker was only nineteen years old when he jumped ship and landed on the Big Island of Hawaii in 1809, just five years after the first horses arrived here. In time, he developed a friendship with King Kamehameha I, who employed him to bring a herd of wild cattle under control. Parker ... read more
November 3rd 2013
Saturday: Started the day in the usual way: coffee and toast followed by a run...but decided to run a bit further than before (the what's around the corner syndrome). I ended up at the site of the battle between the old religion here and Christianity. The Queen has noticed that Christians broke kapu (forbidden things like men and women eating together) all the time and nothing happened, so she decided to break it also...and nothing happened....thus the war..and Christianity won...the dead are buried in terraces above the battle field...hard to believe you could fight on a lava covered plain...today a golf course edges up to the battlefield/graveyard... Later we drove south to the Pu'uhanua O Honaunau National Park, where royalty lived and where there is a "Place of Refuge", where you could be safe after breaking ... read more
November 1st 2013
Favorite quote from yesterday: "You can only run around the parking lots" from an older runner returning as I was going out, in response me asking for a good place to run. I realized I should have told him that he wasn't locked in.....even though the gate shuts behind your car.... On Friday morning, I walked down to the Hapaiali'i and Ke'eku Heiaus next to the condo grounds, after getting advice from the reef "docent" about access to these ancient sites, since they are closed off from the road by chain link fence due to construction.. There is an unmarked trail right beside the last condo building that leads to a beach and the shrines. These two heiaus have been reconstructed by Kamehameha Schools in 2007. Hapaiali'i Heiau is believed to date back to the 1400s ... read more
October 31st 2013
We woke up early again...jet lag really works in your favor here! Pink skies, trade winds... I decide to run this morning, and made the mistake of waiting til after coffee and toast (I brought my homemade breakfast bread with us...) to leave, and it got really hot by the end of my 50 minute jog...! I ran up to the shopping center, across from which is a small park with a historical information plaque. In reading it, I realized I could run down to the next bay and visit the birth place of King Kamehameha III who was reputedly born a blue baby and was revived in the cooling waters of a nearby spring and warmed on a sun-heated rock. He was the last son of Kamehameha I to sit on the throne of Hawaii ... read more
October 30th 2013
As I lay in bed reading stories about Hawaii on our last night at home, I began to feel the immense space around the islands, space filled with water and air. The land is very new geologically, and so very far from "solid" land...a strange and somewhat disturbing feeling... We arrived here after dark, so I could see the lights of the Islands adrift in the vast darkness from far off. The sky was clear, so it was a shock to land in an absolute downpour! (Heavy even by local standards, we found out later!) There was, as the flight attendants put it, "no way you're not going to get very wet", since you walk from the plane to the terminal. Water was a few inches deep on the tarmac, and most of the terminal is ... read more
October 29th 2013
We are headed to Hawaii for a short stay on the Big Island....(thank you again John and Linda!) I've never been to Hawaii, so it's about time.... The island is home to all the climate zones, and has several volcanoes so I will be in heaven just exploring! Add warm water, good local food, free bikes, and waterfalls...Wow...! My plan is to swim, snorkel, and hike everyday. Made an apple pie, apple crisp, green tomato chutney, apple sauce and pear sauce today...I hope I used up all the fruit lying around! Cat sitters prepped, kayaks secured, suitcases almost packed....next entry will be from Hawaii!... read more