Saturday, April 29, 2017

Starlight Overnight

I had a nice Saturday night last weekend at the Starlight Overnight run, outside of Cle Elum.  I haven't spent much time with a headlamp on in the past couple years, and this event presented the perfect opportunity. The event starts at 8 PM, and runners are welcome to do the 2.3 mile trail loop as many times as they like, until 5 AM.  Afterwards, there is a breakfast.

I walked with Glen, and did four loops. We had a good time chatting, and had our hellos with many other friends, as they ran around in the dark. I didn't really feel like running--I just wanted to look at stars. Its been so rainy on the west side, all winter, and I was just looking for an excuse to visit the clear skies of eastern Washington.

I didn't camp out--I came back afterwards. It's probably a better idea to stay the night, but I've been gone a lot lately, and wanted to catch up on some things at home on Sunday. Plus, I like driving when no one else is on the road, with the music rolling. I listened to Bob Marley's Catch A Fire three or four times, and then opted towards some remix of the Hamilton soundtrack. This is night driving.

All the props in the world to Gretchen, Matt, Keri and the Endless Trails peeps for putting on a very special event. Hope to make this trip again next year.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

The Big Island

We had an amazing trip to the Big Island. We spent time with family and friends, and were there for just over a week. Highlights included hiking through a live crater in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, snorkeling with manta rays, whale watching off the Kona Coast, and lots of good fishy eats.

Here are a few pictures. The picture above is the manta ray experience, which I'd recommend to all friends who go there. You float, hanging on to a surfboard, with snorkel and goggles, and then they turn on an LED light. This is at night. The light attracts phytoplankton, which is dinner for the manta rays. They come up and do somersaults with their mouth wide open, taking in the phytoplankton. The mantas are 8 to 16 feet wide. Big. And they come up right next to you. Totally amazing experience, like nothing I've ever done. My sweet wife surprised me with this as a gift.

Whale watching was nice. Humpback whales, swimming in pairs. March is still Hawaii whale season, and I really wanted to get out there, at least once, to watch. We saw a bunch. My photography skills are lacking.

Our condo was terrific. We stayed at the Kona Reef. The photo right below is the view from our lanai. We were walking distance to town, which made it really fun.

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park included a hike through a lava tube! Short, but how often do you get to do that? We didn't see hot, red lava--maybe we should've tried harder. We did hike across a crater, and visit the main volcano. We also went down to Hilo, and had a wonderful lunch, and visited the local stores.

Friends Mike and Fran were there for part of the time. So awesome! I hiked with them to the supposedly green sands beach. There's a picture or two below. We have lots of green algae beaches in the northwest that are much greener, so consider me unimpressed. My favorite part of this was sharing the walk with Mike and Fran, which had a sort of desolate, bottom of the world kind of feel, looking out at the blue sea.  On their final day, we also got to visit a Kona Coffee Farm and a Macadamia Nut Farm.

In a previous post, I mentioned that I ran the Brewfest 10k in Kona. Gosh, that was hot, and I was slow.

What more to say?  This was one of my favorite vacations ever, and I want to go back, because there is much left to explore, and because it's Hawai'i.