Sunday, January 22, 2012


The light at the end of our cancer treatment tunnel, and I say 'our' because both Shannon and I needed a light, was a trip to Hawaii.  Out of all the islands, we chose Kauai.  It came highly recommended by friends and there is no shortage of adventure or beach to be had.  So last week, we packed the bags, left the dry winter air, and headed South.

We pretty much jam packed every single day with a new adventure, but we allowed for some chillin' too.  The best part though, was the complete lack of responsibility.  We were just two kids having a good time.

Here are some of my favorite photos with brief descriptions:

Day 1:  We woke up early and snorkled in Poipou (South shoreline).  The reef and fish were fantastic, but we were not prepared with a water camera.  It was a bit chilly for me to be snorkeling as I'm a water wimp unless it is above my very arbitrary temperature of 87 degrees.  We then rented Specialized Rockhopper's (circa 2001) and rode along the eastern coastline stopping at numerous beaches along the way.
One of the beaches we stopped at along the Eastern coastline
 We spotted an endangered Monk Seal.  There are less than 1000 of these guys left.
 Beautiful Eastern coastline.  
We could see Humpback whales splashing and blowing bubbles in the distance pretty much everywhere
Since there was still daylight left, and we had bikes, we mountain biked Sleeping Giant, a popular and scenic hiking trail.  It just so happened that it was great for mountain biking as well.

Day 2 was probably the most epic.  We rode our rented bikes up Waimea Canyon along the Western coast.  The scenery was breathtaking, on one side of the canyon it resembled the Grand Canyon.  On the other, a beautiful valley 5000 feet below leading to the ocean.  The ride was pretty epic too.

The little Grand Canyon
A little more than halfway up the canyon.  Snacking on fresh pineapple.
Over 5100 feet above sea level

Day 3:  We hiked the Na Pali coast (Kalalau Trail) to Hanakapi'ai Falls.  This is one of the most beautiful hikes I have ever done.  Okay it IS the most beautiful hike I have ever done.  It is also a pretty rugged hike and is listed as one of the 10 most dangerous hikes in the world.  

 The lush Na Pali coast
 We were rewarded with a beautiful waterfall.  I enjoyed it from a rock.
 Shannon jumped in.  And froze.

Day 4/5:  I found my perfect water activity for when it is below my arbitrary 87 degrees to get in the ocean...stand-up paddle boarding.  You don't get cold unless you fall.  There is also something meditative about floating down the river, yet you are still totally engaged because it is a physical activity.  You can also make it as easy or hard as you like.  I was kind of a lazy paddle boarder and would always fall behind Shannon until he suggested we race.  Game on.  I kicked his ass.  Mostly because he was laughing so hard at my flailing technique.  

 Sunset was spent at Hideaway Beach
There's a reason many of the beaches are secluded

Day 5:  In addition to paddling, we went for a hike on the Okelehau Trail.  
 Another beautiful lookout
 We were high enough to overlook the tops of the trees and see Princeville in the distance
This hike had some pretty rugged spots.  Ropes were needed.

Day 6:  We were scheduled to go sea kayaking, snorkeling, and whale watching, but when we awoke to torrential rain, wind, and a power outage I figured I'd call to ensure the trip wasn't cancelled.  Sure enough, the trip was cancelled.  This was a bit of a bummer because the trip is only available twice a week and this was our last chance.  The day was salvaged, though, with clearing skies, the discovery of another secluded beach, and a running race between me and Shannon on Hanalei Bay beach.  Although I'm sure it was comical, two cyclists trying to run fast, it should be noted that I once again kicked Shannon's ass and this time he wasn't laughing!  

 Kiluea lighthouse~a great place for whale watching
 A beach to ourselves
 We could not figure out how these rocks were balancing
Hanalei Bay sunset-where the barefoot running race went down

Final day:  On our final day we woke up, packed up the rental car, and drove down to Lydgate Beach for some morning snorkeling.  It was low to mid 80s so I broke my 87 degree rule.  There were some pretty cool fish, but the water was a bit murky from the previous day's storm.  We then ventured to the Keahua arboretum and hiked on the Powerline trail.  It, too, was still muddy from the storm with the highlight definitely being swinging from a vine over the mud.  I've always wanted to do that.  It was hard.  Vines are slippery.  

Swinging like a monkey

 Wailua Falls  was raging with rain water
We wanted to kayak into the falls, but the rivers were too swollen with debris from the storm

We are now back in Salt Lake City and have been greeted by the first major snowstorm of the season.  A welcome sight for the skiers, but I was rather enjoying riding dry dirt in January.  In addition to continuing with training, I also get to return to the role of cancer patient.  Over the next two weeks I have my six month MRI, six month Sonocine (ultrasound), and a visit with my surgical oncologist.  Here's to hoping my next post if full of good news!


  1. Beautiful! I am glad you guys had a great trip! My fingers are crossed that your appointment goes well.

  2. Looks like an awesome trip that you both so totally deserved! Good luck at your appointments!

  3. Awesome pics! Best of luck with next appointment.

  4. Nice pictures you have. I appreciate it so much! Very tough girl and I adore you for that holistic cancer treatment centers are available to help you though. Thanks for sharing!