Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The Kalalau Trail

The Kalalau Trail... The experience is one that I will never, ever forget. It just so happens that the Kalalau Trail was the second hike I had every done in my life (that I can remember). The views are breath-taking and simply indescribable. I would definitely say that the Kalalau Trail is a bucket-list-worthy type of deal where you are rewarded with the most incredible views in the world. At the end of the 11-mile Kalalau Trail is Kalalau Beach where people camp for the night. Since we only had one day left in Kauai, we hiked half of the Kalalau trail to Hanakapiai Falls and then turned around for a total of 13 miles.

In terms of physical fitness level required, I wouldn't say more than average is needed, though you obviously have to be able to hike 11 miles before the sun goes down if you want to get to the finish line at Kalalau Beach. The actual trail isn't too strenuous. It's just plain dangerous haha. Sheer cliffs with long drops, very narrow paths (at several points, you could only put one foot in front of the other), loose rocks and pebbles, slippery logs, etc. I almost lost my boyfriend twice because he lost his footing and fell!

The trail is also very intimate, which I really liked. We probably saw a handful of other people during the duration of our hike. Most of the time, it really felt like it was just the two of us out there. At Hanakapiai Falls, it was me, Ignas, and nature in the purest state I've seen it. The trail was so overgrown that I felt like we were just forging our own (someone had left pink ribbon markers but still, the trail was invisible). At the falls, there was not a single sign of civilization. Just spiders, frogs (both alive and dead), and the waterfall, which was absolutely beautiful. Since the waterfall was so tall, we couldn't get a good picture but check this one out that I found online.

Yup, gorgeous. From Alexo Photography: http://www.alexo-photography.com/Best_of/Best_of_Foto_Hawaii_ALLE.html
By the end of the day, I was deliriously exhausted. A warning: as much as you might be tempted to wash off at the neighboring Tunnels Beach, don't. The waves there are mean and I was so physically fatigued that one of the waves picked me up and slammed me on the sand, lower back first and my head on the ricochet. I was completely immobilized and I thought I would die when the next wave came but my Superman Ignas saved me. He literally saw me in distress, ran to me, picked me up and carried me away. <3 Looking back, it was romantic but at the time, he was convinced that I had suffered a concussion and I threw up shortly after...

The Kalalau Trail left me feeling very humbled and blessed. I felt so fortunate to have seen such untouched natural beauty and thankful to have been able to revel in all of it in solitude. I would definitely recommend some sort of training prior to taking on the trail and make sure to bring enough water! The Kalalau Trail is a MUST and it's free (unless you pay the permit fee to camp at Kalalau Beach).

Click here to see more pictures from our Kalalau Trail trek.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

My Bad Side

Ignas refuses to believe that I have a bad side but alas, it's a night-and-day difference. So when I stumbled upon one of my favorite blogger's recent posts about bad sides, I had to read it and of course, she describes it perfect (and hilariously).

Check out The Everywhereist. Her blog is never ending entertainment.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Pachacamac... Not this time

I had read about Pachacamac in a few of the books I got from the library and I was immediately interested because of its historical significance and its pyramids. After reading a little but more and seeing a few pictures, however, I'm not sure if it's worth the visit on our short trip.

Taken from TripAdvisor. Very austere looking...
I don't know if Machu Picchu is spoiling me but the Pachacamac seems so... ordinary. Similar to the Nazca Lines, I'm sure Pachacamac would be awesome to see but I'm not sold on trying to fit in into our itinerary.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Short Reckonings

Short Reckonings has been my must travel-buddy for the past year. Ever since my roommate introduced me to Short Reckonings, I have used it for every trip I've been on.

Short Reckonings is a website and phone app that helps you keep track of shared expenses and IOUs. After inputting the people in your party, who paid for what, and for whom, it calculates a single payment for everyone to pay to make everything even. So even if you go on a trip with several people, each person will only have to make a single payment to one person and BAM, everyone's even!

After creating a sheet, anyone in your party is able to view and add to the expense sheet. Though I've only used it for trips, I can see this being useful for roommate situations, group presents, events, etc.

Short Reckonings has been especially helpful for Ignas and I since we spot each other all the time. The whole "I pay for breakfast, you pay for lunch, I pay for dinner, and you pay for gas, etc" used to work for us but you can imagine the complications. SR is extremely convenient and easy to use and I will continue to use it for all my future trips. 

The best part?  It's completely free! You don't even have to sign up/register for anything. AWESOME!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Happy 26th Birthday Ignas!

Ignas turned 26 on September 27 and I decided to throw him a surprise birthday/housewarming party for his present! I still can't believe how smoothly everything went. He had NOT A SINGLE CLUE, not even the slightest suspicion. He was shocked, speechless and very confused. And I credit everything to his amazing friends and family. Without their cooperation and generosity, it wouldn't have worked at all. 

A month and a half ago, I came up with this idea and I told Ignas to reserve the weekend of September 29th for me. The only other information I gave him was that we would be spending it in San Diego, and that's it. From that moment on, the Facebook corresponding began with his friends and family, all unbeknownst to Ignas. As part of the whole package, I asked everyone to send me a video shoutout for a movie I would show during the party. 

The day of the surprise, I took Ignas to the San Diego Zoo and we will definitely be coming back. It was so much fun, despite my anxiety for the surprise later that day. Elephants are awesome and so are lions but I'm not sure how close I want to be to a lion. We also found a little guy that looked like a Quetzal! Before heading back to his place, we caught the sunset at Coronado Beach - one of the most beautiful and romantic beaches I have ever been to. 

When we got into the car, I told him that we had dinner reservations at 8pm and that the dress code was formal attire. While he chatted with his dad on the drive home, I contacted all his friends at his place to let them know we were on our way. It was surprise time! When we walked up to his porch, one of his friends had accidentally flashed a light (we found out that he tried to record Ignas's reaction but the flash was too bright). When Ignas saw the light though, he went into instant defensive and determined mode: Who the hell is in my porch?! It was honestly the perfect distraction. Then... SURPRISE!!! And the madness ensued :) Happy Birthday Ignas!

Now that it's all over, it's time for major Peru research and blog updating... Stay tuned!
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