Monday, March 3, 2014
While living in Hawaii, I didn't have much time to peruse around the island. Luckily, when I moved there, I had a free week open before starting my job so I could have time to be a tourist. During that week, we hiked up Diamond Head.
If you've seen any photos of Waikiki, you've seen Diamond Head. It is that mountain off in the near distance right up against the beach and the waves (to the left of Waikiki if you're looking towards the ocean). It is pretty iconic; I've seen it on many postcards. That mountain is actually a crater that was formed during a volcanic explosive eruption.
We were so excited to visit! We decided to go all out and hike to the summit. Hiking up is somewhat challenging, as the rock face is very steep, but the hike isn't very long. The last tenth of a mile is all stairs and especially steep. After about 30 minutes of hiking up the crater, we reached the summit and were amazed at our view! We could easily see all of Waikiki, with Honolulu and Ewa Beach in the distance. And of course, beautiful views of the ocean.
Diamond head is only a walk or a bike ride from Waikiki, so don't miss out. You'll even see locals running up and down the trail for a quick workout. If I had this view to look forward to, I'd workout every day! ;)
Since I was there last, Diamond Head has gone through extensive trail repairs. I'd love to go back and see the updates. Let me know how it is if you go! :)
Wednesday, February 19, 2014
Before Christmas, we visited Pedernales Falls State Park, which is just about 45 minutes west of Austin. I hadn't been here since I was in college, so I was excited to explore with Mark and the dogs all day.
This park is very easy to navigate through and find things to do no matter how long you're going to be there. If you have an hour, visit the main falls. If you have all day, visit the main falls, have a picnic, take several hikes and wade in the water. If you have 3 days, you'll have time to hike around and explore the whole park.
Pedernales Falls State Park has several waterfalls depending on the water level. It is a great place to visit any time of the year; summer being good for cooling off by swimming and wading, and cooler months being good for scrambling and being more active.
I remember coming here as a child, and I had a blast scrambling up the small boulders, cliffs, and rocks. I can't do this really anymore, but I've always loved scrambling. (Do you know what scrambling is? Scrambling is kind of a mix between hiking and climbing. It involves using your hands as well as your feet to ascend rocky faces and ridges, with the grade being low enough for climbing gear to be unnecessary. Some people scramble at a faster pace, as it is easier to scale taller rocks that way.)
On this particular day, we brought along a picnic lunch and ate it on a sandy beach. Otherwise, we just explored, took photos all day, and Mark and the dogs enjoyed scrambling. If taken at a run, Quinn and Mozart can jump onto rocks that are 3 times taller than them. If going at it slowly, they won't even try, which I have proof of in a photo below. :) The dogs also had tons of fun meeting people. They especially like a group of high schoolers that loved how big Quinn and Mozart are.
As you can tell, Pedernales Falls State Park is completely beautiful. This is one of the reasons I fell in love with the Texas Hillcountry so long ago.
And you can't beat that sunset.
Don't pass Pedernales Falls State Park by if you're in the area. It is well worth your visit.