Koko Head Crater Hike Oahu, Hawaii

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Some people call this hike The Stairs of Doom but I think it is a great hike to see Hawaii Kai as well as much of the Southern part of Oahu. Yes, it is about 1050 steps going up but it’s a good workout with a great view at the end.  I have done it 5 times and always enjoy being up top.

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Koko Crater Trail is a 1.8 mile hike and from the top, you are able to see Hanauma Bay, Hawaii Kai, a part of Sandy’s Beach, Makupu’u and obviously Koko Crater. As you can see in the other pictures you climb up railroad tie almost all the way to the top. At certain parts of the trail, it is a lot steeper and more strenuous.

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Depending on how fast you walk or climb it could take anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour. My wife and I hike it in about 25 minutes and with my parents, it was an hour.

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There is anther way to way to climb up but it is much longer and more dangerous, you can start in the botanical garden and hike along the ridge all the way up to the top, it has great views along the way but is much longer.

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It is definitely a hike I would recommend if you find yourself in Waikiki and are looking for a good quick hike to do. It is easy to find, free to hike and has plenty of parking down at the bottom.

Pichilemu and Punta de Lobos, Chilean Surf Capital

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So the day started off kind of rough we woke up at 5 so we could get rolling by 6……which did not happen. Mikaela’s grandma initially wanted to come but then once we were on our way you could tell that she had regretted the idea. It is a 3 and a half hour drive from Quilpue and she was not liking being in the car that long. I mean I understand why, but we all knew that it would be a long drive to get there. We finally made it to Pichilemu and as we were arriving at the city I noticed that the swell was coming in pretty strong.

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I had looked at reports and knew that is was going to be big, but it’s one thing to see it on a report as compared to seeing it in person. As we drove through Pichilemu to get to Punta de Lobos it was interesting to see the change in houses and style of life from Pichilemu city center to Punta de Lobos. Near Punta de Lobos there were a ton of upscale houses and tons of vacation rental properties.

We finally made it to our destination Punta de Lobos and were excited to get out of the car to see some waves! Punta de Lobos didn’t disappoint, the waves were firing. I was stoked to see the waves but realized I had made a mistake…… I forgot my freaking memory card for my camera! I was so bummed that I hadn’t thought of that when packing things for the trip. The camera on my phone was the only good option left.

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Since I have started surfing I haven’t been to many point break surfing spots but Punta de Lobos was awesome. It was extremely consistent with how many waves were coming through and ranged from 7-12 feet. I personally think that some of the sets were even bigger than that but I couldn’t tell you for sure. After watching some people catch waves at the famous big wave spot behind the two rocks I wanted to give it a try, but not where it broke as big. I put on my wetsuit and watched a couple of people paddle out to try and figure out what to do.

I put on my wetsuit and watched a couple of people paddle out to try and figure out what to do. After watching I felt comfortable to paddle out and I made it out past some rocks and got taken by the current, it took me a while to paddle to the spot that I wanted to be. After watching some waves I caught what felt like a massive wave and rode it for a good while and then paddled a little bit deeper than where I was before. I only have one board and unfortunately, it is not really made for those kinds of waves because it is only a 5’4″ and I’m 5’11”. Anyway I was deeper trying to catch a good size wave and a massive set came through, I paddled through the first 2 or 3 waves and then got destroyed by one of the bigger waves that had broken a lot deeper than where I was. I got wrecked and was underwater for about 10-15 second but it always feels a lot longer when you’re getting thrown around like clothes in a washing machine. I then decided to paddle closer to shore to catch some less intimidating waves.

After surfing we decided to go back to Pichilemu to see what was over there and we ate at a restaurant overlooking one of the main beaches. Mika’s grandma wasn’t happy about being so far away from home so late so we decided to head back even though Mika and I didn’t want to leave yet.

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Overall it was a fun experience and I really enjoyed the views of Punta de Lobos and Pichilemu. I would definitely recommend it if you enjoy surfing or just want to see something different in Chile.

 

 

Day Trips Driving Along the Chilean Central Coast

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Chile has many beautiful sights to see. I have been fortunate enough to be able to drive North and South of Viña del Mar with my in-laws and wife. There is a lot to see and it reminds me of California with a highway going along the coast similar to the Pacific Coast Highway. On Wednesday we went to Maitencillo, Cachagua, Zapallar, and Horcon in search of some waves to surf. We drove to Maitencillo and didn’t find any great spots to surf so we continued up the highway to Cachagua which was beautiful and there was only one other family on the beach.

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A nice deserted beach in Cachagua Chile

Side note: Chile is a great place to visit from March-May because most of the summer tourist have left which makes it a lot less crowded.

We walked the beach and found a rock pathway that went along the coast and was next to some huge houses. After walking around we decided to go Zapallar (further North) to continue the wave search but Zapallar is very enclosed and had no waves. As we went down into the city of Zapallar we passed through the quaint city center and as we were driving down the hill getting closer to the beach the houses started to get larger and looked like the belonged to affluent people. We made it down to one of the beaches and as we were walking down the stairs off in the distance my wife saw dolphins so we ran over to some rocks to try and get a better view. The dolphin was shy at first and then it started jumping around not too long after and we stayed and watched it for a while.

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After watching the dolphin we decided to head back home. On the way, we decided to make one more stop in Horcon. It wasn’t the prettiest place because it is a humble fishing town but we saw a rock arch and made our way over to it.

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Horcon Chile

We walked past an artisan market and there was a bridge with many ribbons tied to it, they call it the bridge of desires puente de deseos, because you write your desire on a ribbon and then tie it to the bridge. We took some pics and continued to the arch.

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Puente de Deseos

 

We then walked back and on the way back we were able to watch a beautiful sunset, it was unexpected because it was such a great view from a place that wasn’t as pretty as all of the other places we had visited.

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New Day New Blog Post, Sickness in South America and Valparaiso

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Being in South America has been great except for the fact that I’ve had diarrhea for almost 2 weeks. This may seem weird to talk about, but it seems to be a common problem because of something in the water. When I lived in Uruguay before I got food poisoning 2 times and it was miserable. Until about 2 days ago I wasn’t exactly sure what it was but now it seems to be either a virus or stomach flu. I am fortunate enough to get it when we just got here and now everyone including my in-laws think that they know what it is and how to cure it, as well as telling me not to eat practically everything.

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Having your in-laws tell you what you can’t eat really limits your diet, they have also been making me take disgusting medicines and herbal teas (which I can’t stand). I know they are trying to help but not being able to drink tap water and eat is terrible. In conclusion to my rant, the water is bad and you should avoid drinking it. Many people from the States get sick here in South America from the water so it might be more safe to either boil water or to not drink the water unless you want to be very familiar with your in-laws or hotels toilet!

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Enough of that boring stuff we can now continue with adventures. Recently we went to Valparaiso and had a good time touring around the city.

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It reminds me a lof of San Francisco but with a South American spin. There is a lot of great street art/graffiti. I have never been to a place where I have seen so much good and detailed graffiti, which makes the city unique. It also has many steep hills like San Francisco and narrow roads.

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We went to Valpo with Mika’s parents and her grandma/aunt. Her aunt and Grandma were freaking out when we were driving up one of the roads to the top. They were covering their eyes and saying how they didn’t want to die. We made it to a high spot and had a great lookout view.

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On the way down they were scared again while the rest of us were having a good laugh. We made it to the bottom and continued driving around the city center (centro). We then went and drove along the coast and stopped at a couple of places to walk around and take pictures.

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Peru! Lima, Not A Place For the Faint of Heart

 

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El Gringo In Machupicchu November 2015

 

Where do I start? Peru has it’s pretty parts as well as it’s not so pretty parts. Most people are familiar with Machupicchu and recognize it as one of the 7 Wonders of the World. 2 Novembers ago I went to Uruguay, Peru and Chile and was able to go to Machupicchu and see other pretty things in South America but recently my wife and I spent 3 nights in Lima and it was completely different.

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Torres Family, who let us stay with them at their house

 

 

I thoroughly enjoyed my time in the interior (not city part of Peru) but Lima was mind blowing for me! I lived in Montevideo Uruguay and Vancouver Canada for almost a year and neither are similar to how crazy Lima is.

 

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Mika with our tiny Kia Picanto

 

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First of all NEVER I MEAN NEVER rent a car in Lima! It was insane driving there in Lima. We almost were ran into more than 50 times in less than 2 days. Everyone there is extremely aggressive when driving and never follow any of the so called “rules”. The police hardly do anything to help. Public transit drivers are the craziest, bus and taxi drivers will do anything to steal your lane. My wife was freaking out most of the time becasue she was scared we were going to get hit. I was trying to stay calm and not show that I was nervous as well. I used the car horn like I was going to be in an accident pretty much the whole time I was there and it felt like it could happen at any moment.

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We rented a car the second day were there and met up with some friends of Mikaelas brother and then we went to the city center (Centro), and parked in a playa (which are parking places around Lima). We walked all over the city center and saw many cool buildings and old architecture. After being in Centro for a while we were hungry and went back to Callao where we were staying with some friends. Mika and I got my favorite dish Lomo Saltado and we decided to pay for their lunch as well and in total it ended up only being $17 which I found ridiculously cheap for 4 people to eat.

Later on, we drove to El Barranco (the cliff) and walked around that neighborhood which is more lively at night. It was fun seeing all the interesting people walking around and some crazies dancing humorously.

The second day we wanted to take it easier and wanted to go surfing at the beach Miraflores. The drive from Callao to Miraflores is different because it is right on the coast and has a lot of trash and rubble everywhere. Even though they are close to a pretty coastline it isn’t very well kept. The highway down to Miraflores is nice and they don’t drive as crazily over there. As we were driving from Callao to Miraflores the scenery gets progressively nicer, they are working on cleaning up the coastline and making it look more touristy I think. The surf there was pretty decent on the day we went and we decided to rent boards. We walked to many vendors and we asked them prices for a board for the day. Most of them are 20 Soles which is about 6 dollars but their selections are pretty limited and not very nice. We finally got one to lend us 2 boards for 30 Soles. We surfed for 2 or 3 hours and had a great time in the water.

 

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La Chilena enjoying the beach at Miraflores

 

On the way back to the airport before we returned the car there were 4 legal lanes of traffic which was then funneled into 5 by local traffic. We were bumper to bumper for about 15 minutes and I was very liberal with the horn when taxis or buses tried to steal my spot.

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Post Graduation, What Do I Do NOW?

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Finally Graduated from BYU-Hawaii

As I am sitting here contemplating the last week or so time has gone by too quickly! I know I have been terrible about being consistent in my posts, but in my defense we are in between moving and I just graduated from 4 years of school at a University! Let me have a little break!

 

These last 2 weeks have been great, my parents came out to Hawaii for my graduation and we were able to stay in Honolulu for a week near the Honolulu Zoo. My wife and I feel that we have gained about 10 lbs from the excessive food consumption my parents were forcing us to eat.

Mika likes to call my mom superwoman because whenever she travels she goes HARD! She doesn’t sleep until she has seen everything possible in one day. My dad on the other hand likes to be more relax on vacations while my mom forces him to go out and adventure.

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Sunset Pillbox Hike with my parents on the North Shore of Oahu

My parents flew in earlier than expected (flying standby) because it was easier for them to get to Hawaii on those dates. We picked them up from the airport on a Wednesday night and showed them around Laie. Then on Thursday morning I took my last final and we went up to the North Shore to show them some of our favorite places there. We drove up to Ehukai Beach Park (most people know it as Banzaii Pipeline) and my friend and I went surfing at the Ehukai Sandbar. After surfing we  got food and pies from Ted’s Bakery. Then we went on our first hike all together. The Sunset Pillbox Hike is a short 30-45 minute hike (depending on pace) that I have done several times and enjoy the views of the seven mile miracle and many famous surf breaks from up above.

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La Chilena enjoying the rain in Honolulu

 

El gringo difícil, caminata en West Side Whytecliff Park, Canada

Al parecer es mi turno de escribir de nuestra segunda caminata ya que el  cuenta la historia obviamente a su gusto. Bueno fuimos a Whytecliff Park que se encuentra cerca de Horseshoe Bay en West Vancouver, El parque es perfecto para asados con la familia o amigos, es super limpio y es bien popular para hacer buceo.

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Mi esposo me invito a ir a este lugar con amigos (el ya estaba en camino para alla) y yo vivia en North Vancouver, no tenia auto y estaba como a 1 hora y 30 minuntos aproximadamente de aquel lugar y en ese momento nosotros estabamos saliendo y uno como mujer le gusta que un hombre muestre pequeños detalles de que le importas, lo cual para este gringo fue algo difícil al principio. Retomando la historia (cuando ya baje del autobus que era la ultima parada que llegaba el autobus) tenia que caminar como 20 minutos para llegar al parque no me molesto caminar, porque me encanta caminar fue solo que al estar sola en un lugar desconocido y uno no sabe con quien se encontrara en el camino sentia un poco de nervios, entonces te aconsejo que vayas en auto es mucho mas rapido y no tienes que tomar 2 buses para llegar; y tambien me enfadé que mi esposo que en aquel momento estaba saliendo con el no me fuera a buscar ya sea caminando  supo que se equivoco y pidio disculpas ahahah.

bueno lo mas importante es que lo pasamos genial ese dia y una de las cosas que el me hizo hacer fue saltar de un acantilado, no lo habia hecho nunca y me demore como 1 hora para saltar, sentí mucha adrenalida y me dolió el trasero cuando choque con el agua pero apesar de todo lo pase bien y pude conquistar y coquetear mas con mi futuro esposo. ahahah