Friday, November 26, 2010

Enough of Hawaii... Back to the Pacific NW!

Back home, just in time for the left-over snow!


Oh well, Thanksgiving with snow just feels right - nothing makes it feel like the holidays like snow on the ground.

Or is that shaving cream on the ground? Time for our annual shaving cream fight! 12th Annual, that is... and these guys are ready!

She is smiling, even with a big glop in the face... that tells you something about how fun this event is!

One of our favorites in the year.

The little ones love it too... especially the whip cream we use at the beginning.

They quickly learn to sniff the glop before putting it in their mouth...

This is one of those fights that you have to take it as you dish it out.

After the fight is winding down, it is fun to cover yourself, too!

Especially stying your hair for pictures...

The dog has a good time with it too, and smells her best of the year.

The neighbor did get concerned and brought her back to our place when she left before we got her cleaned up!

Another great year kicking off a day of Thanksgiving for all we have and enjoy.

Surfing Lessons on the North Shore

Our family we stayed with are big surfers... which is good seeing how they live on the North Shore.

The little ones liked to practice and were pretty good at it, so we gave it a shot, too.

First was a quick, 30 second lesson on the beach.

"Paddle like this, alot" was lesson #1.

Lesson #2: "Hop up on your board like this when a wave comes".

Ok, got it?

Lesson #3: "lets get wet".

The hardest part of surfing is the paddling. Oh, and picking the right wave.

After that, if you get a good beach with an easy breaking surf, you can get the hang of it pretty quick.

After standing up for a few of the waves, the last step is talking to everyone like a "Brah".
Surf-r-die, dude.

Kayaking to Mountain Climb in Owyhee

We had a day of decent weather in Hawaii to try kayaking out to Chinaman's Hat Island off Oahu. We wanted to climb it.

There was only one single kayak available, so we went with a double.

The paddle out was great - there were ~3 food swells breaking occasionally but not a bad paddle.

The kayak was a bit unstable with both of us, so the guy in front did most of the paddling.

The weather was starting to change, but that worked in our favor to keep everyone else off the island - we had the place to ourselves.

We first circled the island and looked at landing on the ocean-side. The tide was in, however, and pretty big waves breaking on all the rocks changed our minds.

Circling the island we saw that there was a good, open bench without any waves on the west, island side of Mokoli'i and we easily landed there.

The trail shot straight up the mountainside from where we landed.

It was a bit steep and gravelly at times, but no problem climbing it, even in flip-flops.

A few stairs to climb up...

And great vistas to see around us.

Reaching the top didn't take long at all, and it was beautiful.

A real "Tom Hanks Cast-a-way" moment on top, panning around the island below with breaking waves.

Very cool, and highly recommended if you are on the rainy side of Oahu.

Here is the narrow beach on the ocean side of Mokoli'i where we had first hoped to land.

Not a chance today!

These waves would have posed a big problem... and even if we landed, there would have been no chance to launch.

As it was, we had no problems getting back into the kayak and making the sprint back to the beach.

A great day on the island made better by the solitude.

On our way back to Lai'e, we stopped and kayak'ed the river at Kahana Valley.

This was a fun, easy paddle, too. No current to speak of, and we were quickly transported to deep jungles and exotic sounds and smells.

The paddling was easy, and we went far enough to run out of river.

When we had just enough space to turn around... we did.

We thought of building a small fire, fishing, and roasting a breadfruit for lunch... and it did sound good...

... until we reconsidered and instead drove to Giovanni's Shrimp Truck and got the shrimp Scampii... MUCH better than breadfruit!

A great day of paddling and exploring.

We did think about the Pacific NorthWest... and how hold it had been there lately...

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Exotic Hunting in Oahu

Our first night on Oahu, we pulled some strings and got a friend of the family to take us out on an exotic hunt for one of Oahu's top predators.

To make it even more dangerous, these monsters can only be hunted effectively at night.

We cautiously stepped out into the humid, tropical night air armed only with headlamps and a bamboo pole.

What were we getting into?

Very quickly we spotted our quarry. Good thing, too, because we needed the edge before he spotted us.

There! In the tree - do you see her!

A juvenile female... cameleon!

This first one was out in the open... much easier to spot. They can be really tough to spot, even when they are sleeping.

In no time we surrounded her, and gently coaxed her onto our bamboo pole.

She seemed just as content to sleep on a finger as on a vine.

These things are really cool!

Several times, the creatures failed to grasp the pole and ended up dropping from their roost.

They curl up into a ball, and drop into the thick grass and jungle - then we have to go digging for them, and fast! They really get moving when they fall, and we lost several of them.

Most of our hunting was along public roadways.

We also took a long portion of a well-known trail. That was a favorite part of the hunt. Moving slowly along the muddy trail, hearing the chorus of crickets, and smelling the heavy jungle smell punctuated with ripe guava was transporting.

At the end of our bamboo pole was a small piece of hanger wire. The trick is to motivate (gently) the dinosaurish monster off its roost and onto the wire so we can get it.

Pretty fancy looking, and very effective.

Our next successful capture was a male - distinguished by the three horns.

This one wasn't too upset - note his happy green color.

Sometimes they can get pretty mad about being woken up - especially the males.

Like this one! Note his dark color - he turned BLACK with green diamonds when we got him onto the pole... he was mad!

And he was a biter! We finally had to put him into the big pocket of shame because he never did settle down.

Not until we caught another bigger female, that is - then he settled in nice and quiet with her...

Here's a couple more happier animals we caught. The females were much smaller then the males we found.

This was a fantastic and fun hunt. Pretty successful, too - 9 animals chased, and 5 in the box.

By the end we got pretty good at spotting them and recovering them.

Oahu has a great night-life!

An Island Hike

Well, all the rain and darkness drove us to head out to Hawaii- Oahu for some Vitamin D.

It was a great week, full of snorkelling, kayaking, surfing, and hiking.

Shark's Cove was a favorite snorkel spot...

The North Shore beaches were deserted, and the weather was beautiful.

And while exploring more of the North Shore, we found a trail heading up into the hills.

Naturally, we followed it...

The trail quickly got steep, but wasn't too bad to hike - even in flip-flops.
Fantastic views... all the way back to Waimaea.

Finally, when we hit the top, we realized what the trail was for - the repelling cliffs for the YMCA Camp below.

There were some great caves farther up and over, but we didn't have the motivation to get all the way over there.
It was, after all, vacation...

We did make it over to an overlook - there is sure to be a great waterfall off this rim during heavy rains.

After a long hike, we hit another favorite burger shop for a pineapple burger and grilled Ahi.
Hiking in paradise.
How does this tie into the Pacific NorthWest? Well, most of the pictures are of the Pacific, right?

Monday, November 1, 2010

Pheasant Phun Hunt

We had a great weekend out at Scott Miller's Ranch in Sprague, WA hunting pheasants.

A bunch of us loaded up and made the drive, arriving with lots of daylight to spare.

This is one of the cabins we all stayed in - very comfortable!

The birds were resting up in the flyway...

They had a great bunch of birds - good size, fast, and long tails.

First up, we all shot skeet to get warmed up, and start the verbal abuse on eachother!

Some of us, like this gal, were flawless and made the old guys look bad.

Sure enough, when we hit the field, she nailed her first bird, first shot.

Even in the rain and cold.

Funny thing about hunting - you don't notice the cold much when the shooting starts! After the shooting starts, though, you can blame it on the cold. Ha!

The bird dogs we used were very impressive - great, patient pointers that ran and RAN, finding the birds...

Look at that point! The bird didn't budge.

The facilities at the Miller Ranch were outstanding - a great area to clean the birds.

Even in the wet and cold, the leaves and country were spectacular - just look at those fall colors.

It was tough trying to hunt when there were so many photo opportunities...

These were some more fall colors we kept seeing - all over!

Another nice amenity was the 'clubhouse', for pool and cards.

It did get alittle loud and rowdy, though.

The flushing dogs were also great - and didn't lose a bird.

Lots of fun, and alot of 'firsts', as in 'first pheasant'.

Here was a long shot that flushed behind the bright tree and flew off into the field - sniper here got it out at 70 yards away!

It took a while for the dogs to run it back up to us...

And on the way back up they found a porcupine!


The poor dog had it all over inside its mouth, too.

It is another indicator of the quality of these dogs - hardly a flinch or yelp when they held him and pulled the quills...

... even when they were under the tongue or the roof of the mouth!

Great dogs to hunt with, even if they use bad judgement with the pine-pig.

With all of the shooting, some were reluctant to surrender for the long ride home, but all good things end.

A fantastic trip and great hunt. Lots of good times and memories.