The Way to Papakōlea

The website said “you need to hike 2.5 miles (one way) from the parking lot to the beach.” That sounded like the perfect afternoon to me. I walked across the parking lot and a Hawai’ian woman in faded capris and an ill-fitting tank top, sweat causing strands of her long dark hair to stick to her face in clumps, said, “Wanna shuttle ride to the beach?” I smiled and said, “No, thanks.” She persisted, “It’s 3 miles. Each way. Over an hour walk.” Music to my ears, I smiled and said, “Thanks, I’ll walk.” I had my day pack, filled with plenty of water, snacks, and a jacket (so not needed in the heat of the afternoon but I’m from San Francisco and old habits die hard).

I walked towards the water, then along the coast. There wasn’t a path per say, just various road-ish ways where vehicles had driven over the years.

Paths to the green sand beach

I wondered if all the roads led to the beach. They sort of kind of looked like it. But they also looked like they could diverge and I had no idea which one led to where I wanted to be. I also wondered why I didn’t see any other walkers. I made my way to the coastline so that I could be closer to the ocean. The sound of the waves and the mist of salt spray calmed my soul. I sat on the lava and ate an apple, letting the sound and spray wash over me.


As I continued to walk, a pickup truck or two occasionally passed. Each time, the driver leaned out the window, waved, and said, “You need a ride?” I’d smile and say, “No, I’m good” and he’d say, “You sure?” I’d nod and wave as he drove off, a few people bouncing along in the back of the pickup. Red dust rose and I waited until it settled, somewhat, to continue walking. I came over a crest and saw a bevy of pickups parked atop a cliff. There it was, Papakōlea, the green sand beach, tucked away at the bottom of a cliff. I sat at the top of the cliff, relishing the cool wind blowing from the water. I sat, and thought, and sat, and watched, and sat, and was happy.


100 Looks Great on You!

Happy Birthday, National Park Service! I hope I look as good as you do when I reach 100! To celebrate your big day, I spent the afternoon wandering through Pu’uhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park. There were very few visitors there, and I loved walking the ancient pathways and listening to the waves lap against the shore, taking in the peaceful atmosphere. As I stood staring at the sea, I witnessed a sea turtle resting. I watched as it breathed in, raising its head ever so slightly, then watched as it sort of harrumphed, dropping its head onto the sand and spitting a dribbly stream of water. I walked over hardened lava, and felt the heat, from today, from years, from centuries, rise.

Aloha from Hawaii

I love getting (and sending) mail. Postcards are my favorite. Every time I travel (particularly overseas) I have a list of friends I send postcards to. I opened my mailbox and found this beauty in return – tropical, glittery, and just makes me want to head to the islands. Aloha!

Hawaiian greetings

Hawaiian greetings

Hiking the Na Pali Coast

Last week my work team spent the week in Kauai, Hawaii. We completely overscheduled ourselves with work projects, which is not the way to spend a week in Hawaii! One day, however, we hiked a few miles on the Na Pali Coast. Despite the almost constant rain, and the treacherous slippery mud trails, it was a beautiful day. I like to hike slowly, and every so often I would stop (more often than not to gain my balance as I slipped) look over the cliffs, and listen to the thunderous crashing of the waves mingling with the soft pitter patter of the rain. Beautiful!

My colleague Paul took many more pictures – check them out!

Me vs. Waves

I’m currently working from Hawaii (yes, I do love my job). What’s been so nice is that we can work for several hours, then take a break to take a dip. I love the power of the ocean, of jumping in and trying to make it past the breaking waves. Of struggling, making a little progress, then being knocked off your feet, just a little, before taking up the task again. And then, once past the breaking waves, of floating so peacefully as the waves roll by before breaking again.