Some days I don’t feel like walking far; I just need some fresh air and beauty.
Thankfully, there’s a park at the end of my street full of color.
While in Hawaii I amassed thousands of steps on my Fitbit. It was not a chore but a delight, as walking in good weather with gorgeous scenery usually is.
Since our return to Seattle, we’ve had nothing but rain. Rain, rain, and more rain. It was welcomed at first, to end the long summer drought and smokey skies and wildfires in the mountains nearby.
But I’m already weary of it and somewhat dreading months of the same until spring.
Even so, I’m determined to walk, whether on the treadmill at the gym (I finally returned after covid) but hopefully outside as well.
Earlier this week we went for a walk at Nolte State Park in between rain showers and the air was fresh and clean and filled with the fragrance of fall leaves.
We saw interesting trees and stumps and lichens and mushrooms
and lovely reflections in the lake.
I’m sharing this post for Becky’s Walking Squares Challenge and for that reason all of my photos are squares.
I’m so happy to have her back in the blogosphere.
After pondering ‘mysterious’ for this week’s Sunday Stills Challenge I found some photos from our recent trip to Oahu that will work. See what you think.
One morning I woke before sunrise to see the moon cast an eerie glow on the Ala Wai Harbor and Pacific Ocean. I was looking down from the 30th floor of our hotel in Waikiki – no balcony (thankfully) but the top of the large window opened, allowing me to zoom down from above.
The cruise ship looked mysterious to me, like a painting I might enter.
When the sun came up, I turned my eye toward Ala Moana Park and found a pool reflecting palm trees
while at the beach people looked like ants,
even more mysterious in black and white.
Later, on a drive up the windward coast we saw someone jump off the cliff with no fear –
and sail high above the ocean. How does that work? It’s a mystery to me!
Finally, what do you think of this sunset? It looks mysterious to me, taking me back to another time, perhaps 1940.
And that is all.
One of the highlights of any trip to Hawaii is watching the sunset over the Pacific, or depending on where you’re staying, sunrise. Rarely do you get to enjoy both at the same location.
But on our recent trip to Hawaii, we spent half our time at Turtle Bay on the tip of Oahu (a special place for a special anniversary) and got to see both sunrise and sunset from our hotel. What a treat!
Every morning I woke up early for sunrise – it was easy to do since we were still adjusting to the three-hour time change from Seattle.
Some days I walked down the beach and waited quietly – almost reverently – with a handful of others, as color began to build in the distance.
Other mornings I stayed closer to the hotel with a few other solitary types contemplating the day.
In the evenings we gathered at the Sunset Bar, though not quite as solitary, it was a perfect place to watch the waves roll in and surfers riding them – while watching the sun go down.
That too was marvelous. I’m still pinching myself that I was actually there.
“What’s the matter, Benji? You look down in the dumps.”
“I’m bored, Sue. There’s nothing to do.”
“You could go outside, Benji. Lots to do out there.”
“It’s freezing cold, Sue. You know that.”
“You’re right. Now that you mention it, I’m feeling kind of down myself.”
“What’ll we do, Benji?”
“I know! Let’s play!”
So we did.
We were both happy.
~ Susanne and Benji
I love visiting Hawaii, not only for the sunshine and beaches but also for the marvelous flora and fauna. What can be better than palm trees swaying in the breeze and giant banyan trees in the parks?
I’m glad you asked!
Because the best of the flowers and the trees can be found in the many Botanical Gardens of Oahu!
We visited four of them – Foster – Ho’omaluhia – Waimea Valley – Wahiawa – and I’m happy to share some of the highlights with you.
The first was Foster Botanical Garden in Honolulu, the oldest of the botanical gardens, a 14-acre oasis in the city. My favorite tree almost didn’t look real – the Quipo – a Giant Hibiscus relative, native to Central America, planted in 1930.
We found another giant member of the Hibiscus family that looked like an elephant’s foot to me: the Baobab tree, planted in 1940.
We visited the 400-acre Ho’omaluhia Botanical Garden a few days later on our way to the North Shore.
It’s entrance has become so popular that no stops are allowed until you are inside the park; the first photo below was taken through the windshield of our car. (Better spring for the convertible next time!)
In addition to the mountains, trees and flowers,
I came across this cute family of mongooses. I found out later they’re considered an invasive species. Originally native to India, they were introduced by the sugar industry to control rats in sugarcane fields. Not their fault, right? Don’t they look repentant?
The next day we visited Waimea Valley Botanical Garden, a favorite of ours from earlier trips. Across from famous Waimea Bay Beach Park, it’s steeped in Hawaiian history and culture.
I loved walking under the canopy of the trees which provided shelter from the sun.
On our last full day on Oahu, we made it to our final garden in Wahiawa. According to its website, “cradled between the Wai‘anae and Ko‘olau mountain ranges in central O‘ahu lies Wahiawā Botanical Garden – the “tropical jewel” of the Honolulu Botanical Gardens. This 27-acre garden and forested ravine dates back to the 1930s when this land was used by sugar planters as an experimental arboretum.”
It was a real jungle, draped in vines, and I found geckos hiding in waxy flowers.
I loved the Mindanao Gum, Rainbow Eucalyptus, one of the fastest growing trees in the world,
and the giant Ficus.
After leaving we headed up the road to the Dole Plantation for a look at the pineapple fields
and of course, a delicious Dole Pineapple Float.
It tasted as good as it looks!
By the way, did you notice anything missing?
The birds! There were so many I decided to share them in a post all their own.
Stay tuned for that. 🙂
I woke to these views earlier this week –
and returned to smokey skies and the worst air quality in the world.
Still, there was beautiful fall color to be found at Coulon Park in Renton before the storm hit.
After the driest summer on record in Seattle, the rain has finally returned with a vengeance cooling the temperatures and clearing the sky.
The locals are rejoicing.
I miss these two when I’m gone.
They miss me too.
But at least I was able to get my fill of cats from the beach kitties of Oahu.
Even so, it’s good to be back home.
I told my husband before we left that I wouldn’t be blogging and I believed it; he did not.
So as not to let him down, I thought I’d at least send some postcards to share the aloha from Oahu. Words will come in later posts.
Soon the crashing waves, warm ocean breezes, flora and fauna and island time, will join my other memories of Hawaii, all fleeting moments.
I once had a conversation with my grandpa who told me he’d recently found himself saying ‘forty years ago’ and he remembered back when he was younger how some older folks would also say ‘forty years ago’ and wasn’t it curious that he now found himself saying the same thing and I remember him telling me this little tale in his slow grandpa voice about forty years ago….
* * *
And now here I am saying the same thing on the occasion of my 40th anniversary – ’40 years ago’ I married my husband and best friend. Oh happy day!
Celebrating on Oahu.