A Thirst To Spend My Fire and Restless Force Tracking My True, Original Course

But often, in the world's most crowded streets,
But often, in the din of strife,
There rises an unspeakable desire
After the knowledge of our buried life;
A thirst to spend our fire and restless force
In tracking out our true, original course;

- Matthew Arnold
The Buried Life


#53 Ride a Mechanical Bull

One of my students put this on her list last year and I saw it and went, "Oh my gosh!!! Me too!" So on my list it went, as #53.

This past weekend, I went on a girl's night out with some of my favorite mom friends and my best friend Mo. The initial plan was to go to Howl at the Moon (which we also did), but when discussing dinner, Saddle Ranch came into the discussion and someone brought up the bull. Oh yeah.... the bull.

Well, of course I had to ride it, and much thanks to my rather outgoing friend Heather, she even hooked it up with the hostess for me to go for FREE. Woo hoo!

I will admit, I was CRAZY nervous at first. Once I first got on, I started to think, "Oh my beejeezees. WHAT am I doing up here? I'm gonna injure myself."  The operator's advice was hold on tight, use one hand in the air for balance, and go opposite the direction of the bull. I gave it my best shot.

I think I lasted maybe 8 seconds, which honestly felt a lot longer than it sounds. I think the operator thought I was gonna go down right away (which I didn't), since he went easy on me at first, but once he decided to really give it a go, I was not quite prepared for that and down I went. Boo.  Oh well, it was a blast!

#43 Hike a Volcano (and an ACTIVE one at that!)

In the lava tube.
On October 13, 2011, we woke up in Kona, Hawaii and by noon set out on an AMAZING drive to cross off #43, which was something on both my list AND Vinny's. 

When we first started talking about going to Hawaii, the only thing Vinny wanted to do was visit a volcano. We weren't even planning on going to the Big Island on our Hawaiian vacation, but when your 5-year-old has one desire, your vacation plans can be altered. 
So there we were, in the coffee capital of the world (well, MY coffee capital- totally my favorite coffee ever), and we set out for the 100 mile drive to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. This was amazing. The park has 11 of the 13 climate zones found on earth. Yup. We must have driven through like 10 of them. I don't know if it was the volcanic gas or the plants or just the multiple climates, but my sinuses did not forgive me for weeks. Oh well. It was worth it. We saw rain forests and giant lava craters and hiked through a lava tube. The lava tube was everything I had hoped it would be (Vinny too). 

End of the lava tube hike
What's funny is.. I didn't want to hike a volcano if it was going to be exhausting and totally kick my butt in the process. I am not much of a hiker really, so I just wanted to enjoy it. Boy did I ever! It is not hard to enjoy a hike through a tropical rain forest.

Outside the lava tube.
 Later that night, we even saw the active eruption of Mt. Kilauea. Oh my gosh. Amazing. Breathtaking.

Yes, that is lava.

October 11, 2011 - #34 A Tropical Waterfall

- I am reposting this from my other blog. It was AMAZING. - 

Today definitely ranks up there with the best days of my life. I cannot believe all of the amazing things I saw today. I really have to give a huge thank you to the writers of Maui Revealed. With this guidebook in hand, we adventured around the island of Maui and saw all of the best stuff. It was amazing.  And, best of all, Tiana was a total trooper! We packed well and she had a great time. Perhaps the best time of all of us.

We started out early to try to beat the crowds, and it was very effective. We were the first people at almost every place we stopped. Well, either we were just earliest, or it was the lemming effect- people stopped where we stopped because they saw us stopped there.

Since we rented an AWD vehicle, our first stop of the day was down a tiny dusty road to a little bay where we saw a black sand beach that we were pretty sure we could get to. Turns out we could. So cool.

Next, we passed by all the things that guidebook said were either not that cool or too much of a hike. We were trying to be realistic about what we could do with the kids in tow. Tiana loves the backpack (shout out to Carmen for the gift, thanks a million), but Vinny is a total baby about anything he deems scary.

We stopped at the sight I was most looking forward to, Upper Waikani Falls, also known as Three Bears Falls. As I got out to change my shoes, I realized that Marc was wearing flip flops. "Where are your hiking shoes?" I asked. "What do you mean?" he replied, "I didn't think I needed them today." Sigh. After a small discussion in which we argued over whether or not it is my responsibility to grab everything we will need for the day, we decided to brave the hike anyway. We followed the path suggested by the guidebook, or so we thought, down a rocky creek bed. Possibly the toughest thing ever, but really only because Vinny was being incredibly melodramatic and unadventurous. He cried about half the way there, yelling, "I want Grandma!" and "I don't want to die!" If you saw this hike, you would laugh hysterically, because it was not scary at all, he was just acting like a ninny. 
Fortunately, we eventually got there and I crossed off #34 from my buried list... swim in a tropical waterfall. Oh wow. Amazing.  Breathtaking. My heart was beating so fast. 

I totally have a thing for waterfalls. I climbed into my first waterfall when I was 17 years old in the mountains of Colorado on an off-roading trip with my uncle. Since then I have been hooked. Last July, while 7 months pregnant, I swam in a waterfall in Tahoe. Also amazing, but I desperately wanted to try it in a tropical one where the water was not ice cold. It was everything I hoped it would be.
Fortunately, Vinny was excited once he got there. He thought the name of "three bears falls" was perfect and loved calling them by name "Mama Bear" "Papa Bear" and "Baby Bear." (The video above is me in between Papa Bear and Mama Bear).

On the way back up, we figured out a much easier way, which was probably the "easy path" the guidebook referred to. We found some people about to start the path down and saved them the trouble. We ran into them again a few more times throughout the day and they thanked us for it. 
Next, we stopped for lunch at Pua'a Ka'a State Park. Well developed area with tables and stuff, but really, nothing that exciting to look at. We saw lots of people staring at the falls and probably thinking about going in, but the pools at the bottom were kind of gross and had lots of tadpoles. (There's another "T" word Vinny learned. Unschooling this week has been pretty awesome). 

Our next stop was a detour from the main highway to the tiny village of Nahiku. Oh my gosh. Craziest little place. Maui Revealed said it must be "where plants go when they die," and he must be right. Anyone see that movie Ferngully in the 90s?  It was one of my favorites, and this place reminded me of it SO much. Vines hanging down from the trees everywhere on the tiniest little road through the most old school "Hawaiian" village you could possibly imagine. And it dead ends at the ocean at a spot with the most breathtaking view. The waves break into colors of blue I have seen nowhere else in nature. We almost didn't want to leave. I honestly think that when I meet Jesus, I am pretty sure he will be standing somewhere that looks just like this. The photos just don't do it justice, but hopefully you can get just a hint of what I am talking about. 


Finally, we continued to Hana. Not that much is really in Hana, although honestly, I could retire here. I would fit right in with this lady.  

We did stop at the black sand beach, It was different from the first one in that there was greenery growing out of the lava fields and ancient burial grounds all over the place. Vinny loved the little caves; Tiana loved the sand.

Tiana could have played in the black sand all day. She thought it was way cool.

Admit it... Marc looks great! (Jealous, party of 1)
We ultimately drove on, hoping to make a quick stop at the Seven Pools before heading home, but by the time we got there (11 miles from Hana, almost an hour drive... yeah), Tiana had fallen asleep, and we were not about to wake her up and expect her to hike. Some day, I want to return to Maui without the kids (or when they are much, much older) to do all the coolest snorkeling spots, go ocean kayaking, stay in Hana for a night, and hike to Waimoka Falls at the top of the seven pools.  So... we drove on. We took the more adventurous way back to civilization,  around the dry southeast side of Maui, where the road was often one unpaved lane, and then through the upcountry. We felt like we were on an adventure ride like Indiana Jones or something. 

Once in the upcountry, we stopped at a park for the kids to play in the shadow of the Haleakala Volcano summit. 

Amazingly, we somehow made it home in time to eat an early dinner and pick up Hula Cookies for dessert. What a day!