We have a bookcase in our bonus room that houses old albums and journals. In the past five years, I have relied more on my blog and Facebook to track our adventures, but the old albums are still there.
Jack loves to pull these things off the shelf. Occasionally we will look at the pictures but I typically put them back on the shelf because I don't want them to get messed up. The other day he brought me my journal that was from our New Year's Eve trip to Oahu in 2004/2005. I read through the account of our trip and it brought back a lot of great memories.
It was our first overseas travel experience together – the entire trip was actually 5 weeks long with a week in Hawaii and then a month in Papua New Guinea. The trip would mark a big transition for us. Upon our return home, we would pack up all of our stuff and move from Cookeville, TN to Charlotte, NC.
I am so glad that we took that time to make memories before we settled fully into a more grown-up lifestyle. One where we both worked and we lived far away from anyone that we knew.
For the Hawaii part of the trip, we went with a basic plan: We had a hiking/camping guide book and our backpacking gear. We would rent a car and travel the island of Oahu, camping and enjoying the beautiful state in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.
The only problem was: we didn't take into account that it might rain.
We found ourselves scrambling to find a hotel in Honolulu on New Year's Eve. It took MANY calls, but we finally found a place that had a vacant room that wouldn't kill our budget.
We hiked. We camped. We snorkeled. We climbed an extinct volcano. We kayaked. We visted the Polynesian Cultural Center. It was a great adventure.
Here are a few excerpts from my journal:
December 28, 2004
Once we arrived in Hawaii, we decided it would be best to go ahead and get a hotel and sleep. The original plan was to sleep for 2 hours and then go eat supper and walk around Waikiki (this was about 5:00pm). I woke up at midnight and realized we had overslept our alarm clock! So we just slept on through the night.
December 29, 2004
(Our first hike on the island, after getting camping permits in Honolulu.) We ended up hiking a total of 4 miles in the Waianae Mountain Range. We set up camp after watching a beautiful sunset on Pearl City and the other cities below. We quickly realized that the following items were left in the car: camera, Daniel's glasses, cooking and eating utensils...The lights of the city are nice, the stars overhead are awesome.The silence (besides the wind) is much better than the roaring buses and people in Waikiki.
All of this beauty and where is the camera? Forgot it, it was left in the car to keep the forgotten silverware company. -- Daniel
December 30, 2004
We woke up around 5:00am. The wind was howling across the mountains and the rain drizzled some. We decided to go head and get up and try to hike out at first light (we forgot too many things in the car to continue the hike).
We then drove out to Kailua Bay. We decided to swim in the ocean and then take a quick outdoor shower. I know this isn't a real "clean" but it felt pretty good.
Most of the day was overcast with the everpresent threat of rain. We drove to the North Shore and saw some beautiful, rugged scenery. We found a place to camp, right on the beach and were about to pay our fee and set up camp when the campground manager informed us that the ocean swells were to get to 5-feet high with wind gusts of 50mph.
So we decided to go get a hotel. We must have called 10 hotels before we found one with a room available.
December 31, 2004
I feel as though we are participating in the TV show, "The Amazing Race," where everyday the contestants are traveling all over the world and participating in different activities... We got up at 7:00am this morning and headed to Haunama Bay to do some snorkeling on the reef.
After snorkeling, we headed back to our hotel to clean up, repack and check out. We also had to search for somewhere to stay this evening. The threat of thunderstorms is still eminent and trying to find a hotel room last minute on New Year's Eve seemed almost impossible!
During this time we also booked a visit to the Polynesian Cultural Center for the afternoon. After the luau and show at the PCC, we headed back to Honolulu. The annoying thing is that we have stayed in hotels the last 2 nights (unplanned because of the threat of rain) and it still has no really stormed...
Once in Waikiki, we checked in, got settled and then headed down to Waikiki Beach to ring in the new year.
12:25am January 1, 2005
We saw a cool fireworks display at the beach – it was packed! Afterward I watched a guy get naked and run into the water... Daniel and I waded some and then headed back to our rooms. We are definitely not ones to enjoy crowds. I hope it rains tonight, to make our hotel room worth it! We have decided to ignore the weather predictions here for the rest of the week and bite the bullet and camp like we had originally planned.
We came to Hawaii to camp and instead we got the promise of rain and the knack for not being able to obtain camping permits due to time running away from us or offices being closed for the weekend and holiday.
Some would say that diligent planing would be key, but I think that the hint of adventure can be quite fun and we will forever remember the things we did not plan as opposed to the things we did.
It rained all day, but we managed to find a room at the Backpacker's Hostel on the North Shore. Bunk beds for us, but at least it is dry and we didn't have to sleep in our car rental.
January 2, 2005
Today we went to hike Koko Crater. It is one of two extinct volcanic cones. Basically it is a 2-mile round trip with a 1,200 foot elevation gain!
As we head up the cone, we quickly realize that there is a near vertical section that we will have to climb as well as an arch... as we ascended I had a panic attack and it started to rain. I somehow pull it together and we finish the climb.
The 360º view at the top was definitely worth the fear I went thgough. We can see Honolulu/Waikiki, Diamond Head, Hauanama Bay, the Ko'ola Mountain Range and Kailua Bay. Totally awesome.
Afterward we head to Hoomaliua Botanical Gardens to camp for the night. We are nestled in under the mountains and it is gorgeous. The only downside is that there seems to be a phantom person using one of the bath houses – we are supposed to be the only people in the park tonight...
January 3, 2005
We left the beautiful setting of the botanical gardens and headed for Kailua Sailboards and Kayaks where we rented an ocean kayak for two for the day. There were some clouds and lots of wind and when the sun came out it felt great. The water was beautiful blues and greens. We paddled out to an island called Flat Island that is a bird sanctuary.
Then we paddled on around to Lanakai Beach where we ate lunch, enjoyed the sunshine and tried snorkeling. Even though the water looked pristine, the winds were making the water cloudy with sand so we really didn't see anything. After that we headed back to Kailua Beach. At this point we were against the wind and Daniel was happy that I got some cadence...
After dropping off our kayak, we headed to Honolulu to get permits for camping. The permit was for the Wainamo Trail. This means "many waters." We got to the trailhead – which was at a guard shack and the guard was amazed that we knew about the place – we told him we had read about it in a book. Then he said he didn't think you could camp on the trail, but we said we had permits from the National Forestry Office. So he said, "Good luck and watch out because earlier today someone said there was a landslide at mile 4." This was not an encouraging thing to hear! At least he offered to keep an eye on our rental car... We had just about 2 hours to cover just over 3 miles of unknown territory. This made me a little nervous as I did not want to be hiking in the dark! Also we were in a hunting reserve (they hunt pigs and goats here) and it didn't seem ideal to be out at dusk!
We hurried as much as possible, but at times the trail dropped off on one side. Also it was muddy with lots of tree roots. I was very happy when we reached our camping site at dusk. Our site has a good view but we agreed that the trail doesn't really merit finishing and we will hike out first thing in the morning. We finished the night eating Hawaiian chocolate. The stars are awesome! I am so glad the clouds have cleared – I was afraid of more rain!
January 4, 2005
We packed up camp and headed out of the jungle of Waimano. The trail was very muddy due to 3 hours of rain during the night. The bugs are pretty bad. We are hiking out because the views aren't that great. As usual we are always thankful to get back to the car and find everything intact and not stolen. We are very muddy, so we bag our boots and do the best to get the mud off of us. We agree that since the car wreaks, it would probably be a good idea to find a laundry mat and wash all of our clothes.
After lunch we headed for our campsite on the North Shore... This evening we are camping on the beach... our last night in Hawaii.