Search Results for: the ranch

Maunawili Falls

Maunawili is probably the trail I’ve spent the most time on. It is suitable for all ages and levels of fitness so it’s where I take all my couch surfers (or guest room surfers now that we’ve moved up in this world… hah). I’ve lost count of the amount of times I’ve hiked it. I wanted to go one last time before we leave, but rainy season is sneaking up on us and it has been extremely wet. When it rains a lot, the waterfall gets stronger and more beautiful, but the hike gets very muddy and slippery. I don’t want to take my chances with Evita.
This hike might not have dramatic views like a lot of the other ones in Hawaii, but it leads to a perfect little waterfall and watering hole. To get there you traverse up a creek through thick jungle. Ever since I watched Lost (which wasn’t until a few years after first moving to Hawaii), I feel like I might get engulfed by some crazy black smoke monster when on this trail.
My friend Marisa & one of her friends who was visiting that time.
You can jump into the watering hole from three different spots. I believe one is 15ft, one is 30ft, and one is 40ft. One one hike, my bff Rikki was on the edge of the 40ft cliff when she tripped over a branch and side-flopped into the watering hole. It took her hours to walk the two miles back to the trailhead and her whole side was bruised. The next day she peed blood. We were 18 and thought it was hilarious at the time, but it seems pretty gnarly now. I must be getting old.
The picture on the left is one of Diego on the 30ft jump.
Little brother Diego.
You can barely tell, but this is a picture of me jumping off the waterfall. It was taken by my Uncle’s girlfriend with an I-Phone and came out all crazy for some reason. (No filter or anything like that.) Kind of neat.
I’m not sure how many people know this, but if you climb up the waterfall, past where it dumps over the edge, you’ll find another pool and another, equally as beautiful waterfall. I’ve only ever taken a camera up there once (it’s wet), and sadly this is the only picture I could find of it (from 2008). I don’t know why it’s so tiny. Bummer. Guess you’re going to have to go check it out yourself!

The Forest

Today we went for a picnic in the forest just off the road not far from our house. There’s something so magical about the forest. The realization that the trees surrounding you have been there long before you ever existed and will likely (hopefully) be there long after you’re gone is humbling. I always like to imagine how many people have looked up at the canopy in the very spot in which I am standing. Perhaps an ancient Polynesian who just discovered the island once felt the crispy bark of the very branch my hand is resting on. Or a “haole” from England or Portugal rested there after a long day of walking. The sound that the wind makes while it’s racing past the old trees, bending their branches and shedding their leaves, seems to be telling tales of the past. Eva seemed to sense this magic too. She pretty much had a smile on her face the entire time we were there. She laughed and cooed and looked around in wonder and delight. She was the most fascinated by the little birds who occasionally ventured near us. Now that I feel she’s old enough to hike around with me in a carrier, I need to convince a friend to go with us soon so I can take  her on a real hike. I’d love to show her a waterfall or two.

Tortugas de las Galápagos

I don’t know how many people would care to know, but “Solatario Jorge” or “Lonesome George” recently died at the Charles Darwin Research Station in the Galápagos. Lonesome George was the last of his subspecies of Galápagos Tortoises. While I was studying abroad in the Galápagos, I spent quite a bit of time studying the tortoises for my Evolutionary Biology Class. The obvious differences between the tortoises’ shells, length of legs, and other characteristics based on their islands (or parts of their islands) partially inspired Darwin’s Theory of Evolution. For today’s Throwback Thursday, I thought I’d share some pictures from some of my experiences with them.
 
The first set of pictures is from the Charles Darwin Research Station on Isabela Island. It was just a short bike ride or walk away from my school, and I visited a few times during the summer. The Galápagos Tortoises have experienced a huge population decline in the last century or so, and the research station works to bring the species back up. The station is home to several sub-species of the tortoises from eggs to hatchlings to centenarians. 
 

While I was there for class one day, we saw this mama bird teaching her baby how to fly!! It was one of the most amazing things I have ever seen. The baby bird was up on a tree branch and the mama was down below on a ledge and was tweeting and tweeting and tweeting to her baby. Finally, after about 5 minutes or so, the baby bird clumsily flew down to her mama. It was so precious.

This second set of pictures was from our trip to another island, Floreana. On this island we were able to hike to an area where we could observe the tortoises living in their natural environment. There were so many. It was very neat being so close to them.
For my final project in my Evolutionary Biology Class, I decided to do a presentaiton on how the eruption of Volcán Cerro Azul might affect the two subspecies of tortoises unique to vicinity of the volcano. Don’t worry, I won’t go into the nerdy details. 🙂

Charro Days

(My grandpa on the left.)
I always get particularly homesick this time of year. At the end of February, my little hometown celebrates  “Charro Days,” a week-long celebration honoring the relationship between Brownsville, Texas and Matamoros, Mexico, sister border towns. It celebrates our unique Mexican-American/TexMex culture. The festivities start out with a “grito” and go on to include parades, traditional dances, delicious food, and lots of drinking. 

That’s me in 6th grade with my dance partner for the Charro Days parade. 🙂
My dad is one of the people behind Sombrero Festival, a 3-day festival during Charro Days. There are tejano and mariachi concerts, jalapeno eating contests, and lots more. My favorite event is the frijolympics, a charro bean cook-off. (I love beans, haha.) Every last weekend in February of my childhood was spent running around Sombrero Festival with all the other directors’ kids. I miss those days and the Sombrero Festival family. It’s sad to think that the last time I was there was my senior year in high school. 🙁 I’m surprised I don’t have more pictures, but here’s what I could find… 

My mom and I at my first Sombrero Festival
Sombrero Fest kids! 🙂
My little brother D.J. & cousin Robby after they won something or other
My daddy speaking at a party for the SF crew at our ranch
My daddy with other past-presidents of Sombrero Festival
Anyway, I just wanted to share a little about this awesome holiday unique to my little hometown. I can’t wait to dress Eva in a beautiful little dress and take her to her first Sombrero Festival. Here are pictures of some of my Charro Days dresses over the years… 

Toddler me at one of my first Charro Days dances. I wish I could find the picture of me with the little boy I danced with. I don’t remember him but I remember hating him! Hahaha.
I was probably 4 or 5 in this one.
and 6 in this one.
My sister Steph and Me.
Celebrating Charro Days in Hawaii. 🙂
I’ll leave you with my favorite Mariachi song. It’s kind of played out but I love it and this video.