I like how the Coastal Trail cuts through the steep, Pacific-facing hillsides of Mt Tam State Park. As of last weekend, the hills were still spring-green and dense with flora. In a short while they’ll return to their natually golden state—which I like to think is where California gets its nickname. It was on our last hike here that I started to feel at home after a year abroad. It was nice to return again.
On our last full day in Hawaii, Stephanie and I woke up at 4:30am so that we could get to Haleakalā in time for sunrise. Not only was the drive to the top one of the shortest drives with the highest elevation gains in the world (from sea level to 10,000ft in a mere 38 miles) the temperature also dropped from a tropical 70°F to an alpine 40°F. Brrr.
Once the sun was officially up, we began to hike down into the volcanic crater, an awe-inspiring landscape that made us feel like we’d been transported to another planet. We’ve been on some great hikes and seen some amazing things together, but this was a whole ‘nother level of expansive desolation. Our minds were blown at every turn. We hiked down to the rim of Ka Luʻu O ka ʻŌʻō, one of many “smaller” cinder cones within the crater, and then began the long, slow process of climbing back out.
I couldn’t imagine traveling to Hawaii solely for work. Luckily Stephanie was able to take some time off to join me for a few days after my workation. We drove the infamous “road to Hana” down to the Kipahulu section of Haleakalā National Park in order to hike the Pīpīwai trail to Waimoku Falls. The falls were spectacular, but I was more entranced by the bamboo forest we passed through on our way there. It was like nothing I’d ever experienced. Otherworldly. And it just went on and on.
Just after the New Year I traveled with Sincerely to Maui on a workation—sort of a working holiday/retreat. It was surreal to spend what was then only my third week of the new job, not to mention my first time, in Hawaii. By the end, the trip proved to be an invaluable bonding experience, and jumpstarted my acclimation to the team.