Hikes Travel

Honolulu for a Week

The pandemic took a toll on all of us, physically and mentally. Nonetheless I cannot complain about how much I have learned to enjoy being at home with my family and dogs. Fortunately things started to open in June and more people are vaccinated so Stanley and I planned his birthday week in Oahu, so called The Gathering Place.

Day 1:

As soon as we arrived on Saturday noon, we got our baggage and car then headed to Nico Market at Pier 38 for lunch so we can start explore Waikiki right away. We started off our hike series easy at Diamond Head trail which took us an hour to complete. Elevation was steep at the stairs but the breeze helped and the view was amazing. We then chilled at Waikiki Beach before dinner at Seoul Tofu House which has the best tofu soup I’ve ever tasted.

Day 2:

We started our second day with an acai bowl from the Sunshack before heading to Manoa Fall. The trail offers a refreshing breeze that you can only find in the rainforests of the Hawaiian islands. The forest is flourishingly green and dense which made it a pleasant walk. We got socked in the rain while hiking to the waterfall and it reminded so much of my childhood in the country side in Vietnam where my cousins and I would casually storm out the alley when the rain comes to enjoy the cool water on our faces in the hot and humid summer. We then relaxed at Waikiki beach before our sunset cruise in the evening.

Day 3: West Side

We decided to spend our third day on the west side of the island since we were gonna meet up with a photographer for a photoshoot. The Ma’ili Pillbox hike was moderate, but we hiked at the hottest time of the day. We both got sunburnt the next day, so I recommend bringing a lot of sunscreen and aloe vera gel.

Some amazing photos from our shoot at Makua Beach by Amanda

Day 4: Day 4 was planned for exploration on the East side of the island. We first drove through the Ho’omaluhia Botanical Garden, visited the Byodo-In Temple (which is only 15 minutes away), went to the Pillbox hike, and finally ended the day at Lanikai Beach.

Day 5: Hanauma Bay, Koko Head

It took us some extra effort to make a reservation at Hanauma Bay since they do not let people drop in during the pandemic; anyhow, we got our tickets and visited this beautiful bay around 10AM. We spend the whole morning snorkeling and I was amazed at how many colorful fishes we saw and how close they were swimming next to us.

After Hanauma Bay, we had a quick lunch and completed Koko Head trail in pain LOL. It is for sure the hardest hike of our trip since I previously snorkeled and did not have enough water.

Day 6: Northshore

We climbed the Crunching Lion first thing after we got to the North side of the island. I recommend everyone who wants to try this hike to wear appropriate clothing and footwear since this is a gorgeous hike but it can be very steep and slippery.

We then had lunch at Giovanni’s Shrimp Truck, which is over rated for my taste. We stopped by Shark’s Cove for another dip. On the way back in the afternoon, we stopped by Dole Plantation and Green World Coffee Farm for some souvenir purchases.

Day 7:

We spent the last full day in Oahu at the Waimanalo Sunflower Farm and Halona Beach Cove before our flight back to San Francisco. It makes me so happy whenever I see a farm of sunflowers, especially in front of massive mountain ranges. We then experienced Thai massage with a view as a birthday present for Stanley.

The last place we visited was Halona Beach Cove, a beautiful secluded beach on the East side of the island. The water is pearly blue, but the waves were too strong for us to swim that day. Around noon, we packed our stuff and got on our flights back to San Francisco. Goodbye Oahu! We both had an amazing time.

Thank you for reading and have a good one!

Hikes Travel

Yosemite National Park

Yosemite Tunnel View

I wonder what I accomplished or crossed off my bucket list in 2020 since there are many unfortunate events happening this year. Time slips away more quickly if you do not have memories to hold onto. The 3-day Yosemite trip was a highlight of my year. It also marks the end of a wondering period and the beginning of where my life picks up its pace.

My boyfriend and I stayed in Sonora for more affordable accommodation and it’s an hour drive from the park. We did not mind driving and were traveling on budget with my 2 dogs, so we opted to stay at Heritage Inn, Sonora. We drove from Sacramento at 3 AM and got to Yosemite around 6:30 AM. Here are some shots at the Tunnel View.

My fascination for Mother Nature really showed when I only drove in circles around the park and stopped on the way for photos at these grand and massive rocks. The first impressive location at Yosemite was the El Capitan meadow, located between the El Capitan and the Cathedral Rocks.

After viewing the El Capitan meadow, we headed to a parking lot to hike the Yosemite Fall (upper and lower). I brought my dogs so we only saw the Lower Yosemite Fall up close, but you can see the Upper Yosemite Fall from other locations.

Yosemite is dog-friendly; however the dog-friendly trails are very limited so I advise to plan ahead or not bringing your dog at all if you want to conquer harder hikes. We then took a stroll to the Cathedral Beach Picnic Area and rested before heading back to the hotel on the first day.

The next day we came back to hike the Vernal Fall, but dogs were not allowed up there due to unpaved roads and the altitude. We still walked for 2 miles up and down to get some views from above and it was absolutely spectacular. Vernal Fall and Mist Fall are still on my hiking bucket list.

After the short hike, we drove to see Glacier Point before heading back. There was a lot of driving and enjoying the view from my car’s windows. Taylor Swift’s Folklore album can be a great playlist for the drive around Yosemite as well.

2 short days at Yosemite yet many memories that last a lifetime. This is the first national park that Bailey and Bowser visited. Another camping trip so I can be away from the light pollution and watch the stars at night is necessary when nature is all we got.

Hikes Travel

Carmel & the Breeze

“Returning home is the most difficult part of long-distance hiking. You have grown outside the puzzle and your piece no longer fits.”

– Cindy Ross

This year I live in Sacramento so it has been really hot starting June. The temperature can get up to 110°F mid day. In addition with everything going on with America right now, going on a hike seems to put our minds at ease. Last weekend I went with my family to Carmel-by-the-sea and got to explore this gorgeous and full-of-bloom trail which left us all amazed.

The difficulty of the trail is dependent on how far you want to walk to get close to the ocean. It started out very sunny which was perfect for the ocean view. The clouds moved closer to land by the time we were finishing up the trail which blocks the warm sunlight, but it created this picturesque scene.

It was not crowded the day we visited the trail and everyone kept distance from each other so we felt safe and at ease. The trail is the nicest when it’s sunny so make sure you check the weather before coming. There is a steep walk down to a secluded beach which offers a different view from above that I also recommend you trying.

The hike took us about 2 hours to complete and I would rate it a easy/moderate in term difficulty. I hope you find the read interesting enough to make you want to get out and explore. It is definitely one of the nicest easy hike I have been to.

Thank you for reading and have a good one!