About This Blog

This blog is to share with you some of the highlights of my visits to Hawaii and miscellaneous Hawaiiana. Hawai'i has had a great impact on my life. To see more on why I keep this blog, see: The Impact of Hawai'i in My Life.

Also, check out the Hawaiian Trivia Quiz.


Good Morning, Goodnight Kauai

A great little video that shows well why I love Kaua'i.



My Tips for Visiting the Big Island

1. The best guidebook for descriptions, pictures and great ideas on what to do and where to stay is the Hawaii: Big Island Revealed blue guidebook – can be found at any bookstores and libraries. Check out their website also at wizardpub.com.

2. This is a big island (as big as the all the other main islands put together), thus more driving is required between places. Plan on it.

3. Volcanoes National Park is worth a drive and a day visit. You may get lucky and see some flowing lava.

4. There is a nice bird refuge, Kipuka Puaulu Bird Park, on the west side of Volcanoes National park that offers a pretty mile loop walk.

4. Check out the nice Black Sand and Green Sand Beaches near Hawaii’s southern tip.

5. See the interesting, historic, and ancient Hawaiian Place of Refuge ,“Pu`uhonua o Honaunau”.

6. Great beaches include Hapuna Beach and Mauna Kea Beach.

7. Parker Ranch has beautiful countryside and horseback riding.

8. Great opportunities for snorkeling, scuba diving and sport fishing are in the Kona area.

9. The eastern shore is greener (and wetter), and has some great coastal views and waterfalls.  Great waterfalls to not miss include, Akaka, Rainbow, Pe'epe'e and Umauma.

10. Waipio Valley on the northeast (Hamakua Coast) is a beautiful spot of earth, with tours down into the valley, beach and the grand Hi'ilawe waterfall.


September 2014 Trip to O'ahu, Maui and Kaua'i

Wed 17th - This was my eighth trip to the islands. Crazy. I really did not expect to be going to Hawaii this year. Were it only for my own financial abilities, this would not have happened. Fate dished up this opportunity, through the passing of DeNeise's dad in July, followed by her mom's desire to spread some of his ashes on the islands at various locations they two had enjoyed together. At first only DeNeise was going to accompany her, and then Mom decided she wanted all her kids and their spouses together with her, visiting O'ahu, Maui and Kaua'i.


After meeting with my brother-in-law Richard and his family at their home in the Manoa Valley of Honolulu, we had a picnic at the Kapiolani Park near Waikiki, and then watched the sunset at the beach.

Thur 18th - In the early morning, I went with my other brother-in-law Dave on a walk through the Lyons Arboretum not far from Richard's house. It's a pretty mountainside park next to the Manoa Falls trail. It started raining on us towards the end, which added a nice touch to the tropical feel.

Later, Mom, DeNeise, Dave, my niece Chante and I all took a drive to the Pali Lookout which has a nice view of the Kaneohe and Kailua areas. From there we met Richard and drove to the Kailua area to get some picnic lunch and ate it at Kailua Beach. We spent some nice time in the water, and got scaredy-cat Mom in as well. It took DeNeise a bit to get used to, but she and we all ended up enjoying the water. Perfect water temperature.

Lanikai Beach was where we ended the day, with Richard releasing some of Dad's ashes in the sea water.

Fri 19th - We got up early and headed to the Airport to go to Maui. Everyone came initially, except for Richard's wife Natasha who joined us later that evening. Our first stop was the Iao Valley Park where we walked around and enjoyed the beauty. We really began feeling the heat here.

Afterwards, we drove to the Lahaina area where we ate lunch at Bubba Gumps over the water. On the way, we stopped at a fruit and juice stand, operated by the family of one of my neice Jessica's friend's family, and visited the remains of an old historic church on their property.

Since parking was scarce in Lahaina, we didn't stay long, but drove up to the Napili Point condos where Mom and Dad had stayed. It was an emotional visit for Mom, and ashes were spread in the water at the point as well as in some bushes. The day was very hot.

From there, we drove down to the Kihei area and checked into the condos at the Maui Banyan.

Sat 20th - I went out to the Kama'ole beaches in the morning while others got ready, and realized this was the same beach I had been to when I was here in 1985 on the old ladies tour, staying at the Kama'ole Sands resort just down the street.

From there, we all drove on the Road to Hana, stopping several times including on the Keanae Peninsula. I sorely missed returning to one of my favorite spots, Puohokamoa Falls, which they have now closed and gated. It was one of the prettiest, easily accessible falls on the road, with a great ledge to jump from into the pool. Some really great memories there. Because of
 a late start, we ran out of daylight before we got to Hana, driving some of the last bit of the winding road in the dark. 

We finally checked in to the Hana Kai condos for what would be one of the hottest nights of my life. Unusual heat mixed with no air conditioning made sleeping miserable. At 4:40 am, I gave up trying sleep inside and walked down to the lawn area near the rocky beach and star-gazed / snoozed a bit until dawn. There I was ready to take some great sunrise shots.

Sun 21st - Spending some time down by the water was nice, which was followed by more time on the condo Lanai with great views. 

After spreading some ashes down at the rocky shore, we got some food and ate a lunch at the Hana Bay Beach Park. Time was spent at the lovely Hamoa Beach, and then we got on the road to head back. Our first stop was at the Waianapanapa State Park and black sand beach. More ashes were spread here. Getting late, we finally got on the road again, and made a stop at the Waikani (3 Bears) Falls. The day ended back in Kihei at the Maui Banyan condo.

Mon 22nd - Catching a 9 am flight to Kaua'i, with a stop on Oahu, we made our first Garden Island stop at the Wailua Falls. Lunch at Brick Oven Pizza followed, and then we took a river boat tour to the Fern Grotto. The boat ride and trail walk was nice, but the actual grotto site was disappointing. They have built a big wooden deck before and in front of the grotto where you stop and look. Because of some rock falls, one can no longer walk up into the grotto. The look and feel of the area is just not as pretty or nice as it used to be. Shame.

We met and talked a bit with one of the dancers named Kela, who was very nice.


We drove then to the Princeville area on the north shore where the home we stayed at was located. Right on the golf course and adjacent to the Hanalei Bay Resort made this beautiful 4 bedroom house a great place to be for two nights.

Tues 23rd - I took advantage of some early morning time and took a walk through the resort and down to the beach. It was a pretty, quiet morning. I walked along the bay for a while where the koa trees hung over the water, and relaxed at the Princeville resort's beach chaise lounge area. On the way back, I found a great bay view area near the condos. Such a beautiful area. This area is where I would love to live, if only that were possible.

I later spent some time at the Hanalei Bay Resort swimming pool and laying in the sun. Quite a nicely landscaped area. I waited for the others to call and say they were ready while I enjoyed the water and some rays.

For lunch, we into town at Hanalei and ate some local food and got a yummy shave ice. Then driving along the coast towards Ke'e we stopped at Haena Beach. I would love to have had some serious beach time here, but the ladies in the group are not much into being at beaches. Our last stop was at Ke'e Beach at the end of the road (Mom had a hard time believing it was really the end of the road), which was literally the end of the road for the memorial to Dad and spreading his ashes in Hawaii. It was a nice memorial in the waters of Ke'e at sunset, and I believe we were all glad that it was finally the end.

Wed 24th - Dave and I went to see Queen's Bath and Pali Ke Kua Beach, leaving early, around 7 am. Queen's Bath was fun, but too overcast to get good pix until we left. Swimming in the pool was interesting with fish nipping on our backs. After that, I was excited to finally go to Pali Ke Kua beach, also known as Hideaways, which requires a steep, rope assisted hike down the cliff side to a nice little beach with clear ocean water in a beautiful setting. I had a good time doing things with Dave. 

Since Mom decided that she wanted to see the Hanalei Bay Beach and the time was getting late, we had an altered schedule that necessarily cut out the Kalalau Lookout, one of my favorite spots, and allowed us to have just a little time in the Poipu area. We ate a picnic lunch at Poipu Beach and then took a quick walk-through at the Grand Hyatt resort.

We flew back to Honolulu that evening, and stayed again with Richard for the next 5 nights.

Thur 25th - This day was dedicated to experiencing the Polynesian Cultural Center (PCC). Dave and I took a short trip to check out the Punchbowl World War II memorial, before we left to go to the PCC. Having arrived at the PCC about an hour and a half later than it opened, I was still determined to meet with Ed and Norm, two good college buddies that now live here and work at BYU. Partly, I wanted to just catch up with good, old friends, and partly I wanted to explore what possibilities existed for me to somehow join them. In the end, it was just a good social visit over lunch.

So, I didn't make it to the PCC until around 2:45, but joined up with the family then. The rest of the day was very nice being there, and I was pleasantly surprised with improvements in the Aotearoa (New Zealand) village show, the luau dinner and the evening show.

Fri 26th - Dave and I decided to start the day with a hike to the top of Diamond Head. We talked about going to Pearl Harbor, but determined an earlier start tomorrow morning would be better. It was a fun hike, in rather hot sun and up steep stairs following a good trail hike, but the reward was the views of Honolulu and surrounding areas. The was a first time activity for me.

The plan for this day was to drive up to the North Shore, with a flexible plan to make stops along the way on the east coast. We drove through the beautiful Ho’omaluhia Botanical Gardens, and after lunch, made a nice stop at the Macadamia Nut Farm. We made a brief stop to see the Laie Temple, and then continued on to the Turtle Bay resort.


This is where the day took a turn for the bad.

At first, it was nice to walk around the resort, and even visit a room with a nice bay view. Since the day's schedule was late and slow again, the sun was setting as we were getting ready to leave. Although there were a lot of clouds, the sky was still very colorful.

And then it happened. As I went to go get the car to pick everyone up, I realized that I had lost the key to the rental car. This time, instead of an electronic door opener attached to a big plastic tag, Alamo had only given us a single regular key. Somehow, it must have flipped out of my pocket as I was reaching in for my phone, or something. I really don't know when or where this occurred. But because it was now getting dark, backtracking my steps and looking everywhere I could think of was fruitless. The next 5 nightmarish hours were all about trying to find the key, calling for help to open the car, calling and arranging help that went back and forth in a comedy of errors and frustration with the Alamo company, that finally got Mom, DeNeise and I back to the Alamo in Honolulu before 1:00 am. Since Jessica was with us and had school early in the morning, Richard drove up to get her and Dave and brought them back home earlier than us. Needless to say, emotions were running high. Oh, what fun.

Sat 27th - Since we got in so late the night before, we didn't try to wake up early and therefore cancelled going to Pearl Harbor. In the afternoon, we went to the Byodo-In Buddhist temple, which although very pretty, was on this visit very disappointing. Now they have an admission fee, a gift shop, more people, and luckily for us on this day, a jazz music concert that happens only once a month, but which entirely changes the feel of quiet and peaceful contemplation that has been there before. It really took away from the experience.

After a lunch in Kailua, we drove back to meet up with Richard's family in Waikiki. A bit of shopping was followed up by a nice time at the Royal Hawaiian's outdoor bar on the beach.

Sun 28th - As DeNeise and I had made plans to go to church in Kailua with Justin and Dave Bergon at 9:00 this morning, I was unable to join Richard's family and Dave on an activity that would have otherwise been lots of fun, going to Hanauma Bay and other coastal fun places. But, it was not to be. Mom came with us to church, and we enjoyed seeing the Bergons there. Although so much more could have been done / enjoyed afterwards, the activities for the remainder of the day included only eating out for lunch, a stop at Waikiki and then dinner. I missed going on a hike to Manoa Falls, which I would have had time for, but me and the girls didn't get home in time. That was something I have long wanted to do and put off doing with Dave earlier because I knew Richard wanted to take us. Oh well, something for a future visit.

Mon 29th - Homeward bound. Though it's always hard to leave the islands, several things about this trip made returning home a good thing.


The Freedom of Hawai'i: Free Trips, Blessings

As I anticipate an upcoming trip to Hawai'i, I reflect on the previo
us trips I have made, and the theme of freedom that has been associated with my journeys to the islands. Hawaii has meant freedom to me in many ways.

Let me explain.

The very word "freedom" has many meanings. One of the most important to me is "the power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint". Each time I have visited Hawai'i I have felt such freedom - the climate, the ocean, the mountains, the waterfalls, the tropical greenery, the people, etc. have participated in this great feeling of freedom. Freedom from the worries of home and everyday life and responsibilities have also played a huge role. Each time I have gone, it has always been for pleasure, though a bit of business has been mixed in on a couple of occasions.

The feeling of returning home each time I go is also very freeing. In an odd yet very natural way, Hawai’i feels very much like home to me. More so than any other place I have lived. My spirit resides there. When my body is not there, it yearns to return. I think, talk, eat, drink, dream and write of Hawai’i often. It is a part of me, I am a part of it. A Polynesian guy once said that I was an “inside out coconut” – I am brown on the inside and white on the outside. That makes total sense to me.

Freedom can also relate to having a good financial situation. Let’s face it. Having any kind of money concerns in life can be enslaving. That seems to be the theme of my adult life: always having money concerns. But for some strange and wonderful reason, despite my constant financial battles, I have been blessed time and again with being able to “return home” several times with very little to no cost. Sometimes for free.

A free trip to Hawai'i? Now that’s what I call true freedom. How about 5 free trips, including the upcoming one? So how did this happen? Always due to a different reason or circumstance. But 5 times? Well, the only answer I can offer that makes sense to me is that Hawai’i calls me home. Sounds corny, huh?

But I am beginning to believe it.

The following is a review of the trips I have made to Hawai’i and the blessings of cost freedoms I have experienced:

1st Trip, 1981:
[Makapu'u.jpg]It was not a free trip, yet quite inexpensive. A friend, Errol Foremaster, invited me to stay with him and others in a 4 bedroom home in Laie, Oahu that he rented from a BYU-Hawai'i professor for a month. For a 2-week stay, rent cost me $40. We had use of the family’s vehicle for very little cost. Another friend, Kelly Parker, and I went together on a low cost round trip flight from LA for $300. The entire trip of 2 weeks exploring much of Oahu with 2 days on Maui cost me a total of $700. Practically free. (See also 1st Trip 1981)

2nd Trip, 1984:
This trip was free. I helped recruit 30 college-aged kids to join a trip organized by Dave Wilkey at Dixie College. For that and acting as a driver, he paid all my expenses on a 10-day trip that included 2 days on Kaua’i and 3 days on the Big Island, as well as two scuba diving tours. (See also 1984 Trip)

[Hula+Show.jpg]3rd Trip, 1985:
Another free trip. Dave Wilkey again offered me an all-expenses paid trip, this time for leading a tour group of senior citizen ladies that he organized but was unable to lead. I even was able to invite a friend to go along free to help with the group management and driving. So, even though some work was involved, it was a great way to work, and even had fun with the old ladies. We visited Oahu, Kaua’i and Maui on a 9-day trip. (See also 1985 Trip)

4th Trip, 2000:
[Queen's+Bath.jpg]A mostly free trip. I, through great fortune, won the grand prize drawing at an employee party while working for the City of Orem, which included free airfare, a rental car and 1 week in a condo in Waikiki.  I decided to add 5 days on to visit Kaua’i and 1 day on Maui, since everything else was free.  It was a fantastic 12-day trip, and the first time for DeNeise, which cost us very little for all we were able to do. (See also 2000 Trip )

5th Trip, 2006:
[Maunawili+Falls.jpg]Free trip.  Struggling with job-finding after having been unemployed a couple of years from being laid off, my Elder’s Quorum president offered me the wonderful blessing of using some of his frequent flyer miles to go to a couple of interviews I had lined up on Oahu. I stayed with my brother-in-law Richard and his family for 5 days and mixed in some good pleasure with the business on this trip. Though nothing came of it job-wise, just being there for a bit was emotionally freeing for the struggle I had been under. (See also 2006 Trip)

6th Trip, 2007:
[Waioka+1.jpg]This trip was not free in any financial sense, but of course freeing in many other ways. I had been blessed over the last year with both a new full-time job plus a few good consulting jobs that afforded us the ability and freedom to take a 9-day anniversary trip to Maui and Oahu.  We spent 5 glorious days staying in and exploring the Hana area of Maui, where we enjoyed some of this earth’s most beautiful nature.  Money was well spent on this trip. (See also 2007 trip)

7th Trip, 2013:
Not free yet relatively inexpensive, this short 5-day journey to Kalalau on the island of Kaua’i was a solo trek fulfilling a long wished-for bucket list item.  No short description can give justice to the great blessing of freedom and personal fulfillment this journey was for me, so I invite the reader to see my three blog posts titled My Journey to Kalalau (in 3 posts).

8th Trip, 2014:
Yet another free trip. This one comes by way of a huge blessing offered by my mother-in-law who wants to include me in a family trip honoring and scattering the ashes of my recently deceased father-in-law. So, although not a regular vacation, but a family-purposed visit to the islands, this upcoming trip will include opportunities to enjoy the beauty and majesty of my island home. The 12-day planned trip includes a stay on Oahu with my brother-in-law and short visits to Kaua’i and Maui. (See trip report at 2014 Trip)

I have indeed been greatly blessed with so many opportunities to return home to Hawai’i over the years with rather small investments on my part. There really is no way I could have had so much if the free trips and inexpensive opportunities had not been granted. I like to think that, although my life has had many other challenges, this is one way that Heaven has recognized my spiritual and emotional needs and has blessed me with opportunities to have them met.

I may not ever be able to permanently, or even temporarily, physically live in Hawaii. I have dreamed of being able to do so, but it is a very challenging concept. If I don't get the chance to do that, then these trips and hopefully more in the future, are recognized as great blessings. 

For such blessings and freedom, I am truly thankful.  Mahalo nui loa.


Finding Peace and Meditation in Hawai'i

This is a partial list of places that I have enjoyed peace and meditation in Hawai'i:

Kipuka Puaulu Bird Park Trail, Big Island


Honopu Beach
Having to swim here from Kalalau Beach and finding my self alone for a while, I greatly enjoyed some thoughtful moments on Honopu, regarded as the most beautiful beach in the Pacific.  This was a Mecca of sorts for me, a bucket list item I never thought I'd actually achieve.  What a place to enjoy God's beautiful creations and the wonder of nature. I was in awe.

Kalalau Trail and Beach
I had several moments sitting on the beach enjoying the beauty of the vast, blue pacific, and then turning around and gaping at the tremendous majesty of the Na Pali cliffs. That I had taken a long, arduous hike to get here made such moments all the sweeter. There's really no other place like it.

Kalalau Valley Big Pool:
To soak in a mountain stream and pool near a nice cascade, all by myself, is a favorite thing to do. This is a paradisiacal place, which epitomizes for me the spiritual meaning of water.  I have often marveled about the power and joy that water brings, and here was a great place to soak in such thoughts.

Pihea Vista:
Following a nice hike along the top rim of the Kalalau Valley, 
a great reward comes at the Pihea Vista.  The first time here, I had a deeply spiritual, quiet moment pondering my life and the blessings of seeing and being a part of such beauty.  

Ke’e Beach Sunset:
The beach "at the end of the road" is a great place to close the day and enjoy the beauty of an ocean sunset. Cuddling with my sweetheart made this experience a special life moment.

Moloa'a Bay:
A quiet, serene little bay not overrun with people, Moloa'a gave me the chance to sit in the shade of a tree not far from water's edge and reflect on the beauty of Hawai'i and the beauty of blessings in my life.

Kapa'a Beach Sunrise:
The windward, or east side of the island has many great places to see a beach sunrise.  I had a few awesome mornings watching the sun rise through clouds, close to my room in Kapa'a. Never and nowhere else have I witnessed more beautiful sunrises, which gave a great start to the day.  Had the day ended after that, it would have still been 
completely perfect. 


Hale’iwa Beach Sunset
On the famed North Shore of Oahu, the town of Hale'iwa has a nice beach perfect for viewing a beautiful sunset. Here my sweetheart and I
 enjoyed the view together as canoes paddled by, making a peaceful, beautiful ending to a wonderful day in Paradise.

Ka’a’awa Valley:
Taking a horseback ride into this lovely valley, where parts of "Jurrasic Park" was filmed, allowed me to enter into another world mentally.  Imagination took me further into this valley and into a world of unspoiled tropical island countryside and living. If only...

Kailua Beach:
Great moments of "ahhhh" and peaceful relaxation were granted to me on the soft, white sands of Kailua, one of Oahu's best beaches. Certainly a bit of heaven was touched for me here.

Laie LDS Temple:
Believing this to be holy place of God gave extra meaning to my moments of quietude and heaven-ward thoughts on the grounds of this beautiful structure.

Laie Point:
Pondering the meaning and future of my life occurred on this rocky point on my first visit to the islands. Watching waves hit a rocky shore has always been fascinating to me.


Makahiku Falls:
Part way up the Pipiwai Trail on the way to the Waimoku Falls is in my estimation the best of the falls on the trail.  This tall waterfall has abeautiful setting in the gorge, and has easy access to the top where an infinity pool at the edge allows for some great soaking with a fantastic view.  45 minutes of my life were spent here, all to myself, basking in the beauty and paradise of my situation.

Waioka Black Sand Beach:
Relatively unknown and not easily accessed is this small cove with a paradise setting, near the Waioka (Venus) Pool.  I dreamed that I was a willing and satisfied Robinson Crusoe on this beach, wishing never to have to leave.

Waioka (Venus) Pool:
At the mouth of this cove I found a nice rock to sit on and enjoy the waves on the rocky shoreline. It became a favorite early morning spot to sit, watch the sunrise and contemplate life over a 5 day stay in the Hana area.

Wailua Overlook:
On the road to Hana, this captivating small settlement beckoned to both my sweetheart and I as we viewed it from the highway overlook.  We could imagine the sweet and simple life that might be lived here. Later a ride through the village confirmed its beautiful setting up close.

Big Island

Kipuka Puaulu Bird Park Trail:
On a solo journey through areas of the southern part of the Big Island I found this 1 mile loop trail through the Bird Park.  How enchanting and beautiful!  I decided this was a spot for two to enjoy and thought of how someday I'd love to come back with my sweetheart, who I didn't at that time yet know.  Still have not yet returned...