Sometimes when I wake up in my little town on the Mainland and see the temperature hovering around balmy negative fifteen degrees Fahrenheit, I remember the island where I was born and how my foolish childhood self used to gaze admiringly up at the slopes of Mauna Kea and dream of one day living in a place where it snowed.
As the East Coast becomes increasingly miserable this January, I thought it an apt time to share some memories from the little detour to Kaua’i that my family enjoyed when I visited home this summer, including a visit to what I might humbly suggest is among the most phenomenal natural wonders the world has to offer.
Waimea Canyon State Park, often hailed as the “Grand Canyon of the Pacific,” can hardly be captured in photographs, but I hope these fleeting impressions give you a slight sense of these Pacific mountains’ majesty!
Last year, I spent January 1st by the piers of Monterey and the final days of December next to these chilly harbors. Lake Como, as far as I understand it, is a celebrated summer oasis for boaters, architecture-lovers, and relaxation-seekers alike: of course we visited in the middle of winter, and spent our only full day dodging icy rain.
Yet Como’s weather deities smiled upon us at last during our final four hours in the area, and I had the opportunity to capture a waterscape unlike any I’d ever photographed before, pairing blue waves with distant snowy peaks!
I’ve returned from my brief trip through time to the Pleistocene–I mean, my birthday week hiatus! You’d be forgiven, though, if these photos did give you the impression that I’d popped back a few aeons.
I’m still yearning for those lovely mid-June days spent with the dearest companion, but I’m consoling myself by reliving our trip to a local natural history museum. These archaic bones and stone impressions comfort me: at least our time apart will be nothing more than the smallest blip on a geologic scale!
On days such as this, I’m all the more eager to continue my plan of absconding to Atlantis, living beneath the waves in an isolated society of my own design.
A lost oceanic city may not be real (yet!), but there’s always Monterey Bay Aquarium, my personal “happiest place on Earth!” I could have stared into those seemingly endless open-ocean tanks forever, gazing at the soft spiraling arms of kelp until I was lulled into a meditative state to match the New Age music that constantly plays in these watery halls.
So–in more ways than one, I’m back! I’ve returned to the East Coast, for one, but I’m also returning to my blog after a difficult few weeks (it felt good to take a break, honestly). I was so excited to share some gorgeous Northern California seascapes that it’s no surprise I’ve popped back into the blogging life sooner rather than later.
Monterey remains one of the most chillingly stunning places I’ve ever visited. Traveling there felt more like going home than getting off the plane in Massachusetts did! Riding down those endless seaside drives with an eye to the cold surf-break, peeking at otters and pinnipeds of all varieties, pulling my hat securely around my ears as I investigated the shells, crabs, and shipwrecked kelp that cover the rocky shores…it’s the wild ocean, the Romantic “sublime,” as I never imagined it before. Somebody call the Hudson River School!
gillette castle, connecticut ♡ washington, dc ♡ the clark art institute, massachusetts
west kirby, england ♡ cinque terre, italy ♡ firenze, italy
the lake district, england ♡ home! (volcano, hawai’i) ♡ the national gallery, dc
Happy New Year’s Eve-Eve! Since I’ll be kicking off 2017 by traveling to Monterey Bay Aquarium…I mean, California, I thought I’d revisit these past twelve months of adventuring. It will probably be a long time before I take so many trips in one year again!
As someone who tends to get anxious about traveling (that’s the blog-friendly, extremely understated version of it, anyway), I am very impressed that I pulled off two international voyages this year: to Italy in April and England over the summer. I also took the train all the way down the Eastern Seaboard to D.C. twice, and spent time in countless New England museums. And, of course, I am very happy to end the year back home in Hawai’i!
Though I doubt I’ll be crossing as many international borders next year, I do hope to visit at least one new state, country, or area. It would be fun to meet a pen pal or two in person, too! What are your travel plans (or wild hopes and impossible dreams rather than plans) for 2017?
I come from a family of dedicated, competitive beachcombers. We’ve established a daily morning beach ritual during our trips to Kona, and have also encountered sea glass and shells on both U.S. coasts.
There’s not much in the way of wisdom that I can impart to aspiring beachcombers, since it’s a very personal, simple activity: all you need is a shoreline and the willingness to look closely. So take the notes that follow with a grain of salt (or, perhaps, sand) and go out there yourself, if you can! You never know what you might discover!