Postcards from Maui

Greetings from the valley isle of Maui!  I’m here to answer the burning question, which Hawaiian island is my favorite? After visiting all four major islands at least once over the past few years I had settled on the Big Island for the number 1 spot but thought Maui deserved another chance.  And she sure is putting up a good fight. 

Take the beaches for instance. Plentiful. Accessible. Gorgeous beaches.

Or  Haleakala, where you can travel from zero to 10,000 feet in less than an hour and be on top of the world! And gaze into her otherworldly  crater where astronauts trained for moon walks.

And the Road to Hana delights with its twists and curves through tropical jungle, waterfalls, charming seaside villages and colorful eucalyptus trees. 

And say hello to this friendly tree!

I recently read a readers poll from Hawaii magazine that ranked the travelers favorite islands in this order: Maui, Oahu, Kauai, the Big Island. The number 4 ranking of the Big Island surprised me; I guess it is an acquired taste. The number 1 ranking of Maui did not.
Maui has it all.  She has everything you would want in a tropical island vacation. With all the beautiful beaches and exotic terrain nearby and easy to get to.

And so as our wonderful trip is winding down I have to say Maui has nudged out what had been my sentimental favorite, the Big Island of Hawaii, for the number 1 spot. At least until our next trip! 

Aloha!  Susanne

Favorite Hawaiian Island?

It’s a hard call but somebody has to make it. I’m willing to give it a try.  First, some background. It wasn’t that long ago that Hawaii was just a dream to me, a place for only the lucky or the rich. But ten years ago we decided to celebrate our 25th Wedding Anniversary with a trip to the Big Island of Hawaii and Oahu. Wow and wow!  I was immediately and forever smitten. After that trip I was determined to see all of those beautiful islands at least once, if only so I could pick my favorite.  Thus I found myself coming up with more reasons to go.

‘Why don’t we go to Hawaii to celebrate my birthday?’ or  ‘let’s go to Maui for my retirement present!’  Both worked.  Last time it was, ‘we’ve got to see Kauai; how else will we know which island is the best?’  And so we finally completed our mission (okay, mainly my mission) to visit the four major Hawaiian islands:  Oahu, Maui, Kauai, and the Big Island. I loved everyone one of them but which is my favorite? They all have so much to offer.

There’s Oahu where we stayed at Waikiki, climbed to the top of iconic Diamond Head and looked down upon Honolulu.

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We paid our respects at Pearl Harbor, drove to the North Shore, and went to the Dole Pineapple Plantation.

On the Big Island (so called as the other three islands would fit into its massive size with room to spare), we hiked through lava tubes and watched a glowing volcanic vent at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. We enjoyed the turtles at Punalu’u Black Sand Beach (perhaps my favorite beach in all of Hawaii) and stopped by the Waipio Valley Overlook.

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20141020_1447173We loved Waimea Canyon and the rugged Napali Cliffs on the island of Kauai, the oldest and smallest of the islands.  It was there we woke up one day to an amazing sunrise when a hurricane was expected to arrive (but thankfully didn’t.)  What’s not to like?20150914_122733_burst01

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20150917_063411On Maui, the second largest island, we went to the top of Haleakala, drove the winding road to Hana (one of America’s most scenic drives), and visited many gorgeous beaches, including our favorite snorkeling beach, Maluaka. 122

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468598_10150658595327335_342349669_oAnd every night whenever we could we watched a beautiful Hawaiian sunset.024How on earth do you choose between these beauties?  Of course you really don’t have to but isn’t it fun to try?  So if I am pressed, I would say that the Big Island is currently my favorite, with Maui running a close second. But we’ve been to the Big Island multiple times and to Maui only once.  To be fair, it seems another trip to Maui is in order. And so we will escape the winter rain and snow of the Pacific Northwest and make our second trip to Maui to settle the matter once and for all.

‘Love is lovelier the second time around,’ goes the old song.  Will the same be true of Maui?  Will it take the top spot from the Big Island?  It’s going to be tough but I’ll let you know the verdict when we return.  Either way, we are the real winners.

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Aloha!   Susanne

February Sky

Just before sunset tonight I took a brisk walk in the neighborhood and was reminded again of how much beauty there is in the ordinary everywhere.  I love to travel but if I wasn’t able to I’d be happy knowing that all of this exists outside my door.  Just give me the sky, clouds, trees and sunset and it is enough.dsc03028-2

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~ Susanne

Office Antics with Benji

Just another day in the office……

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– Benji

The mouse had no chance

This is Benji and let me just say it up front, right out loud: I am not a vegetarian.  No, not from my youth.  Neither were my ancestors.  Nor my big brother Tiger.  We are all hunters. If this bothers you then read no further.  I understand. For those who wish to continue, be assured that no blood was actually shed today. Here’s how it went down.

It was a beautiful day with mild temperatures and no rain. Tiger and I were out sporting around, all in good fun. Sue happened upon us just as I found the catch of the day.  Bad timing to say the least. And wouldn’t you know it she accidentally let him escape by picking me up to cuddle at the most inopportune moment. Oh well.  I’m always up for a cuddle.  And I knew I could catch him later. He was not that bright and he was awfully slow.  (Just begging to be caught in fact. No challenge at all.  But I digress.)

When Sue tired of the outdoors, Tiger and I were left to ourselves. As was the mouse. We played in the garden awhile.  Nibbled on the grass.  Chased one another and a few squirrels.  But it wasn’t long until that slow mouse wandered back into the grass and lost all cover.  I pursued for a while. Gently for play.  When Tiger took note and I perceived he wanted a go at him, I said to myself, why not?  What are brothers for?

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And so we had some brotherly bonding time today over that mouser until we both tired of him and let him go.  (Honest Sue we did.)

Anyway this kind is not good for eating.

And so I remain,

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~ Benji

Morning sky in the woods

I woke up too early this morning and after a few restless hours ventured outside as the sun was peeking through the woods, painting everything with a rosy glow.

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Tiger was pleased to join me.

~ Susanne

More than half way there

After a rendezvous with winter earlier this week (was it really only six days ago?)

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the rain quickly followed and washed the snow away leaving only heavy clouds by yesterday.

Today the sun emerged victorious giving us a foretaste of spring.  Still cold but perfect for walking so we headed to Gene Coulon Park on Lake Washington, where children played and walkers of all ages joined us on the path. The lucky ones sailed by in their boats.

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dsc02937-2Even Mt Rainier made an appearance.

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A small reprieve in the dead of winter to give us hope for spring to come.  Be encouraged.  We are more than half way there.

~ Susanne

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