In March 2014, Natali and I decided to take a trip to Oahu while Kirk and Kari and their boys were still living there. Sadly, it's been soo long that we are not 100% sure on the names of the different hikes and places we went, but we do know that we had an awesome time and saw some awesome things. Natali has to have beautiful pictures to really make a vacation great, and Hawaii is the perfect place for amazing pictures.
One of the first places we went to was the Pali lookout which had some amazing views. Everything was so green everywhere you looked, I can see why Kari never wanted to leave.
We love going and looking at waterfalls. There is just something special about seeing and hearing water rushing over a cliff in the middle of beautiful scenery. Kari gave us some great tips of places to go and we headed off to find a couple waterfalls. This first one was pretty hidden, and we took the wrong trail a few times and our shoes were caked in mud by the end, but the scenery was worth it.
We continued to Waimea Falls Park. Natali found out that this is one of the places that the jungle scenes in the Hunger Games was filmed, so we had to check it out. If you have seen the Hunger Games series, you probably recognize the stream in the third picture below. The whole park is beautiful and definitely worth visiting.
We were able to spend some time with Kari and the boys which was really great. We decided to head to a little beach and play in the water. Rivers was a little fish splashing in the water, while Kari and Natali enjoyed working on their tans. Kari knew all the best places to go and was an awesome host/travel agent.
Of course you cannot go to Oahu without heading over to the Polynesian Cultural Center. We caught a few shows and then stayed for dinner. It is awesome to see all the different cultures of the different islands. Each one is very unique and amazing. The boat shows were awesome, and then we were able to go and see some of the different areas around to learn more about each culture.
We also stayed and enjoyed the dinner. It was great to watch some more shows, dancing, and of course, eat some great Kalua Pork!
We were looking for something a little different to do and decided to go take pictures at the Byodo-In Temple. They had ponds full of fish surrounding the temple and some friendly peacocks that were just posing for pictures it seemed.
And look, we found another waterfall!
And what vacation is complete without food? Kirk and Kari went out with us to a great restaurant right on the beach. Yes, those are real palm trees in the background even though it looks like a painted backdrop. we had great scenery, a great ocean breeze, great company, and some great food.
The next day Kari took us all around to different places around Oahu. We took a hike with Rivers and Eli up to the Makapu'u Point Lighthouse trail where we saw some beautiful views and got some exercise while we were at it.
It was fun being able to go out with Kari and her kids. They kept us laughing and entertained whenever we were around them. We bribed Rivers with Pringles to take this picture. He gave us an extra big smile for extra chips! We figured someone has to corrupt those kids with junk food every once in a while! ;-)
On our last day, Natali and I booked a whale-watching tour. While we didn't see as many whales as we had hoped, we did end up seeing a few fins, and somewhat of a breach. Below you can see the mom and baby whale we found.
We then walked around Honolulu and enjoyed some (incredible) Ramen at this place called "Lucky Belly." I mostly walked around and enjoyed how beautiful my wife looked.
We were sad to leave, and it was an amazing break from work. Kari and Kirk were great hosts and it was so fun seeing them and their kids. Here's to hoping we have this view again soon: