E Hele Aloha.

Aloha, Hawaii.

Or, ‘A Plenty More Huger Hawaiian Adventure.’

…Or, ‘That Time My Photos Almost Broke The Blog.’ This one is pretty apt as it has taken quite a bit of time to get all of these up and I was worried I was going to lose the draft from crashing! As in, it did crash at one point.

If you follow all the goings-ons on Instagram and Facebook, you probably saw (a little while ago now) some of the play by play action of our trip, but I did not show everything! It has been crazy busy over here ever since I got back…so here we are looking back at my amazing trip. Texas is currently doing crazy winter things down here and I am sitting here with my second cup of coffee trying to get warm after feeding, watering, and mucking. We had frozen in shards falling from the sky yesterday and it is still stuck to the ground, fences, and deck. I am not going to lie, I have been having flash backs to last year’s winter-pocalypse. Anyway, enough of that. Let us dream of a tropical paradise by horseback, shall we?

Here is the thing. I know I have shared this before, but life is about taking advantage of the opportunities that come your way. You have no way of knowing what will still be available or what will happen tomorrow, in a week, next year, or five years from now. I have been kicking myself ever since Cousin A and R moved back to the states from Germany. Lost opportunity!

I love to travel and want to do more of that and experience local life, food, drink, and music. I love to ride horses and I want to not only do more of that, but I want to do it everywhere I go.

So, when Aunt M said to me, “Hey, I am going to visit K and B and go whale watching, you should come,” I quickly found myself saying, “You know what, I really should. Let us do it.” That is how the ‘plenty more huger’ Hawaiian adventure was hatched.

You see, K and B live on Maui and have for many years. K and B are my Uncle K and Aunt B, Aunt M and my Pops‘ Brother and Sister in Law. I had been to Hawaii once before many years ago as a kid with my family to visit and I basically only remember bits and pieces. They have always been so generous in always having their home open to family and friends for a visit. They also have this very close friend, L, who has horses on the island. Over the last few years hearing about K and B’s niece that loves to ride horses, L has told them several times that if I ever make it out for a visit, she would take me riding. Now, people say that kind of stuff all the time. I won’t lie, I have found myself doing it too. People do not always mean it, but every time I would talk with K and B, they would tell me about L and her horses and how she will take me riding.

I got to thinking, how many times does not only the offer of a place to stay, but also the offer to ride have to be made and not taken advantage of for me to come out the dummy? No more times, that is the answer! Once I committed, I quickly went and sent L a Facebook message so we could get to planning.

That is basically the back story. I wanted to ride and, well, do all the things and Aunt M wanted to see whales and the volcano. So, we planned for all of that!

We will skip over the Covid frenzy part of traveling and move straight on to the fun. While it may appear that fun was had all the way from conception to the time we landed upon our return, I will not lie and say that I was still very concerned and reserved until the moment we were on the last leg of our journey from Honolulu to Maui. I was very worried about not being granted entrance to Hawaii because of Covid. Blessedly, all that worry was for not….what is that I have said many times before about worrying for not? Something about a bunch of wasted energy?! Yes, that.

Anyway, I worried for not and enjoyed a mimosa with my breakfast while Aunt M and I waited to board the plane departing Houston.

After we boarded the plane, we then turn ourselves around and deplaned to keep things interesting. They said there was some mechanical problem. There was also a large connecting flight from somewhere that was delayed. And, I suppose, there is also Covid. This gave me time for another mimosa back in the airport! We ended up getting a new plane and were finally on our way.

With all the ‘keeping things interesting’ in our flights, we ended up being quite delayed. I do not even remember when we were originally supposed to land, I think 4 PM, but we did not get to K and B’s house until close to midnight.

All was quickly forgotten with local takeout at home followed by the first sunrise, a hot cup of coffee on the deck, and the first ride of the trip later that morning.

So, ya, the first ride. Um. I had never met L in person. We became Facebook friends when I knew I was coming. We messaged some back and forth about scheduling and experience, etc. I met her that morning when B dropped me at the driveway of her house.

But. She took me riding at Peahi. Just, you know, to casually view Jaws from up on the cliff horseback. No. Big. Deal.

EPIC.

Epic does not even touch the experience. Pictures also do not do it justice.

I mean. “Welcome to Hawaii,” L said with a big smile. I mean, is that Hawaiian for, “Hold my beer?”

I rode a lovely bay paint mare named Dreamer and she seemed to have as much fun as me. I felt somewhat like a kid in a candy store. I had already had this idea that I want to build all my travel around riding, and this ride just pretty much cemented that. If you can not ride there, I am just not so sure I want to go there. Horses are pretty cool in that way though, they are entrenched in society and human history, they are almost everywhere!

The waves were up and the pictures just do not show it. We could literally see the little ant sized surfers on the crazy waves.

To say L and I got on well would be an understatement. We are just two crazy little horse girls on the inside. The age difference meant nothing. When M and K picked me up after riding, M said we were both just beaming and I am not one bit surprised.

Driving around after the ride, I was just so struck by how scenic and dynamic this place is. Both the landscape and the weather. I was fascinated.

The crazy thing is, many views made me think of Ireland. My next place to go is either Ireland or New Zealand.

We all cooked dinner together at the house a lot so we could enjoy the sunsets on the deck. One does not have to twist my arm to do and enjoy that.

The arc of the sun this time of year from the house is amazing as it rises and sets symmetrically over the mountain.

For the second ride, L wanted me to try her young horse Carino, which means sweetheart. A super cute four year old bay, polo bred gelding. We just had a relaxed time doing horse things. Grooming, talking, riding. It was off and on raining while we were playing and it did not matter. We were just enjoying being able to ride and enjoy each other and horses and the scenery. I swear, you can see the ocean from pretty much everywhere. I suppose logically, that is not really a surprise, but it was kind of a surprise to me. Or, maybe just more fascination.

We had picnic lunches on the beach with wine while the whales blew in the distance.

We went on a Humpback whale watch boat with the Pacific Whale Foundation. Stop now if you are looking for a picture of a whale and just go google it or something. While we did see many whales, we chose not to waste our watching trying to take pictures of them. The pictures are in my memory! In real life, most of the whale action was far enough away to just not be worth the shutter click. We just did not want to miss anything and take away from the experience by trying to catch it on the camera. It really was super exciting though. We were in the moment and all had fun. It was fun to see kids and adults alike act like kids, me included, the minute we saw a whale. And, goodness, the views. I did snap some pics of the view. That evening’s sunset was enjoyed on the boat surrounded by whales.

They do call it the rainbow state and I did see one little piece of a rainbow. Better than none!

On another ride L took me to ride with one of her friends at this sustainable farm. Again with the ocean view! We also saw a couple NeNe, the Hawaiian state bird. It is some level of endangered or was? They have one mate and breed for life. Anyway, it is apparently a big deal to see one. On this day we saw two! I rode Carino again and L said she wanted me to ride him the rest of my visit!

We went on a dinner cruise with Champaign and cocktails being serenaded by whales, you know, no big deal. The whales were literally right by the boat.

Uncle K and I hiked some of the crater together…and we saw A WHOLE FAMILY OF NENE. An adult breeding pair and two very small goslings. You can not really see the babies in the pictures, but trust me, they were there.

After the hike, we picked up Aunt M and enjoyed a wine flight tasting at the vineyard. Then L and I had another relaxed horse afternoon. It is just a jungle everywhere!

Another beautiful sunrise. Sitting on the deck watching the sun never got old. That will never change no matter where I am.

I am not really quite sure what I loved most about this trip. Well, obviously the riding, but our day trip to the big island to visit the volcano was pretty dang, um, epic. What other word is there? It was a bucket list item for Aunt M. We hopped on a commuter plane for a day trip. It was a long day, but boy it was something. We could see whales playing from the sky. We saw the steam and vents. We drove the crater and all the way to the coast through the old lava flows. We saw another breeding pair of NeNe! We watched the sunset and the reflection of the lava on the steam with cocktails and dinner. No big deal. The red glow in the darkness around the last of the sunset reminded me of a pit fire here in Texas.

I tried to take pictures of our flight back to Maui that night, but they did not turn out. The moon was almost full and you could see the waves on the shore of Maui as we were flying.

We went to a luau in Lahaina and watched the sun set there.

On our last ride, we rode the pineapple fields. I was being silly apparently and did not take an actual picture of said pineapples in the fields. Oops. I was distracted because it smelled like pineapples and of the view up ahead.

We went for a lovely dinner out on the water in Kihei. Afterwards, I went to the moonlit beach to stick my feet in the water. I went to bed with sand still on my toes. Judge me if you wish!

We watched the moon set and the sun rise on our last full day morning.

We went up the hill to enjoy the view and watch the parasailers and then went to the lavender farm.

We had a little hike to some waterfalls where the young and old alike were having grand times.

We had my new Aunt L over for our last sunset and her birthday dinner. I baked a pomegranate cheesecake to celebrate her birthday and as a little thank you for all of her generosity in taking me riding almost every day. We got to ride so much, I did not even take pictures every time. I do not think I could do anything to thank her enough.

A welcome back to stateside with the moon over San Francisco. It was a long ride back!

Mahalo.

E hele aloha e na makamaka heluhelu.

Walk in love, dear readers!

I am out of words and pictures for this trip. I think that is a blessing!

Say yes to the opportunities and adventures!

Regularly Scheduled Programming!

Happy Friday, dear readers! As I promised, we are back to our regular scheduled programming. Are not you happy?!

Yes, yes, I know you are!

If you are new around here, our regular programming includes adventuring musings starring one or two lineback dun horses and a certain rambling, mongrel bird dog!

Many of our adventures are set in the hill country of Texas. It can be quite difficult to express the true feeling of being there if you have never experienced it for yourself. It has such feeling and the pictures very rarely ever do it justice. The sights. The smells. The feeling. Many here in the state call it God’s Country. Really, I feel that way about the whole state. But, we sure do like riding the hill country as long time readers can attest to. We travel there at least once a year and I really enjoy sharing our rides there with you, even if to just share a change in scenery through my horses’ ears.

Lito’s first time to travel there was to a ranch in the heart of the hill country that my family and I used to spend quite some time on when I was younger. We went with our best friends and my Darcy girl. We actually went there a couple of months ago, just me, my Lito, and Merley, for a weekend with family. I shared some photos of that trip the last time I wrote to you. I did not take very many pictures on that trip, but the three of us had a lovely time. The feeling was…I just do not know…as if we three had been traveling the world and riding trails alone our whole lives. Lito and Merle really have each other figured out, use each other out on the trail, and seem to gain confidence from each other. Lito felt very grown up.

Then of course there are our bigger group rides once a year that take place in a more southern area of the hill country. The first year I went, I took Ike. I took Lito the last three years and each time it was an even better ride. Unfortunately, the 2020 ride was canceled (which is how we ended up going to Lake Sam Rayburn to ride), go figure that! We have been sending up all the prayers for a 2021 ride!

For our most recent adventure a couple of weeks ago, Lito, Merle, and I went to a new to us part of the hill country. We went with some of our good riding friends to Parrie Haynes Ranch Equestrian Center outside of Killeen, Texas. This group has been here several times and it is open to the public! This place has cabins, electrical hook ups, water, and nice horse pens. There are many trails that are pretty well marked and there are some challenging places! I think we did some of the more difficult riding I have ever done there.

Man, we just had a great time!

Lito has been taking posing lessons from Merle. Odd that this time I caught Merle’s eyes open!

Merle came along just to hang out, as there are not many horses that are used to his antics and energy, but he seemed to have just as much fun as everyone else. Both Lito and Merle settled right into camp on Thursday evening.

We rode. We ate (very well). We drank. We laughed (a lot). We shared. We watched the rain. Felt the sun and the wind. I could have stayed! I can not wait to go back and ride the places we could not because of the rain.

I took pictures when I could. The hill country has the best blue skies.

For a lot of it I wish I had a GoPro! Climbing hills and rocks does not allow for taking pictures while riding.

We had one afternoon of rain, but other than that, the weather was stunning. Especially on Sunday.

Lito and I led the way most of the time, which is funny since we had never been before. Lito has taken to prefer the front with his big walk.

There is this one open field dotted with beautiful oak trees and tall, golden, waving grass speckled with bluebonnets. It was pure magic. I am telling you the pictures do not do it justice!

All of this adventuring really makes me want to travel even more to different places!

Have you been on any fun adventures? With or without horses? Or read of any good ones recently? Tell me!

Walk in love, dear readers!