Cloud Forest Trail much more pleasant!

Trip Start Jul 02, 2013
Trip End Jul 09, 2013

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Where I stayed
VRBO, Pukalani
What I did
Hosmer Grove Cloud Forest Trail
Mana Foods, Paia

Flag of United States  , Hawaii
Monday, July 8, 2013

Met our ranger Michelle at Hosmer Grove parking lot.  Misty, cool, the way I like to start my day.  Michelle has binoculars for us to borrow, after going through a bin full of binoculars (most of fairly good ones), Curtis and I are "suited" to start our trek with fellow hikers.

We entered Waikamoi Preserve (6,800 ft) area usually closed to public, as it's on private land.  The Nat'l Park has a special agreement with the land owners/ranchers to get access for the special hike.  Were introduced quite a few flora species, though much weren't retained.

Curtis learned how to ID 'I'iwi, the red bird, and one other type of olive green bird.  As I learned from one veteran birder at EV, set goal low to learn "ONE bird a trip".  That's how he became a experienced birder, 30 years of trips.  We found it an achievable goal :-)

There're two fellow young guys in our trip, in their 20s, graduates of Berkeley.  Pretty impressed that they even signed up the ranger-led hike.  Where were we when we were in our 20s?  definitely didn't have much interests in any flora/fauna species.  They came with a big group, being dropped off at the Park and be by themselves.  Camped at Hosmer Grove, hiked down the Sliding Sand trail (there's a better way doing the hike) the day before. 

Had packed lunch sitting by the creek, trying to follow the birds flying among trees.  There're lots of colorful birds in Hawaii.  Red, green, yellow.  The island is full of color by itself.  Not like back to mainland, at least Bay Area, most birds are so dull-colored.  Probably except the noisy aggressive Steller Jays.

After the hike, we decide to stop by Paia, the hippy surfing town, where lots of Europeans hangout.  Traffic to Paia downtown was very congested.  Curtis bypassed all the congestion by accident by taking an right turn onto something we were sure where it led to.  The bypass went around to the back of the downtown where parking were a bit easier to find.  Luckily we found a spot in no time.  Cars lined up right after we pulled in our lot. 

Stepping out of the car, taking a short stroll in downtown, which is very small.  We stumbled upon a store with a small size door, Curtis told me its a grocery store.  With question marks in my head, we went in.  Ah, found FOOD PARADISE!  It's the Mana Foods

Once in the store, it's a whole different world.  Deep, reminded me of some of the stores in NYC.  Well stocked with all the non-mainstream stuff one could ever dream of.  It reminded me so much of Ithaca.  Fresh produce, with varieties that even we N. Californians  envy.  There's limu (the edible seaweed), fern (which one can make salad with), and many varieties of kales/chards.  Everything looks divine in the deli section.  And there's smoothies of all kinds.  We had couscous cake, scallion & ginger miso fish, and something else very yummy (sorry, it took me so long to write this blog that the memory started to fade.....).  I can go to Mana Foods everyday if the vacation is longer.  Can't be happier!!!  Good food is all it matters for great vacation!

Oh, a side note about Paia.  It's a good place people watching.  There're some gorgeous bodies there with good looking tanned faces (obviously not American, most likely Europeans).  Even shopping at Mana Foods, there're a couple of very good looking women, strolling their shopping carts with their young children.  Water at Paia is turquoise, so beautiful and inviting.  Would love to swim there next time we've a chance in the area.

Thankful of the homey vacation rental we have at Pukalani.  It's cool, quiet, away from all tourists.  And the best part, we get to take out all kinds of food from local grocery store and have a peaceful dinner by ourselves, with Hawaiian beer in hands.

Oh, we sleep much better after Curtis and I flipped the mattress upside down.  The initial setting was just too soft with too much cushion for our backs.  Great that Curtis suggested flipping over the mattress.  I wasn't sure if I was able to survive 5 nights after the first two nights!

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