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Adventures in a Dormant Volcano

On a nice summer weekend, I presumably lost my wits, thereby consenting to a 20-mile backpacking trip with a group of friends through a dormant volcano on the tropical island of Maui. Haleakalā crater has been dormant since the late 1700’s. For those of you who may not know, a “dormant” volcano is one that is sleeping, but not dead. Yes, that means it can awaken at any moment. Thank God it decided to continue sleeping while I was hiking through it.

Our adventure started with a treacherous descent from an elevation of 10,000 feet through loose cinder and sharp lava rocks, through an area referred to as “Sliding Sands.” It’s not typically what people envision when they think of Maui, as it is more reminiscent of another planet entirely. We weren’t wearing Sharon Stone-like bikinis and sipping mai tais on the beach (sorry to disappoint you Paul Turney at Woggins Writings): we were wearing incredibly un-sexy G.I. Jane-like hiking gear and sucking liters of water down, while focusing on not spraining an ankle. All I had in my emergency kit was baby wipes, a tweezer, and some band-aids, so a rolled ankle would have constituted a major disaster, considering I am no MacGyver.


Above the clouds, hiking into Haleakalā crater through Sliding Sands.


Hiking the trail into Haleakalā crater through Sliding Sands.


Hiking through lava rocks at Sliding Sands.

After Sliding Sands leveled off, we enjoyed the unique terrain and started to see quite a few amazing, native silversword plants. To our surprise, many of them were in bloom, which is a rare sight to see. I know this is one of the favorite places of Liza Pierce at A Maui Blog, so I’m sure she’ll enjoy these photos.


Gorgeous silversword plant in bloom.

Being about 5 miles into our adventure at that point, it was time to stop for lunch. I unwrapped my sandwich and peeled a banana. As I began devouring my meal, a huge wasp started doing laps around me like a shark circling a wounded seal. I froze and watched in horror as the gigantic bee got closer and closer. At one point, it looked like it was going to land on my arm, and I screamed and started flailing my arms around like a back up dancer for Justin Bieber.

One of my fellow hikers shouted to me “They are attracted to moisture! Drop your banana and stay still!”

Since I’m so good at following instructions while panicking, I chucked my sunglasses, sandwich and the banana into the cinder and started running in the opposite direction as the bee. Hey, at least it worked. The bee began to hover over the banana peel, and I was able to get away. Phew. FYI- the crater was full of wasps, so although I dodged a bullet that time, bee mania was pretty much an ongoing theme. I know Michelle Gillies at Silk Purse Productions would completely empathize.

The journey continued. We made the rest of the trek down to the Palikū cabin, where we were greeted by lush mountain ranges and a nene goose (a friendly, native bird that inhabits the crater).


The rugged ranges at Palikū.


Palikū, where the clouds come up Kaupo Gap and meet the steep cliffs.


Beautiful sunset at Palikū.


Greetings from a nene goose.

We were just so excited to finally arrive at the cabin. Our legs and feet were ready to give out, and muscles were hurting in areas we didn’t even know existed and could feel pain. Unfortunately, there were no hot showers or mineral baths awaiting us. The cabin had fresh running water and bunk beds, but that was about it with regard to amenities. The Ritz Carlton it wasn’t, but after hiking for 10 miles, we were just thankful we had a place to sit down and stretch out.

If you look closely at the picture below, you can see our tiny Palikū cabin toward the middle left of the photo. It’s that miniscule white dot at the edge of the open meadow at the base of the mountain range. Yeah, that thing. That was home sweet home for a few days. And the lovely outhouse next to it that smelled like a freshly baked manure cake was ours to call home for a few days too.


Looking down on Palikū and Kaupo Gap.

Our luxurious Palikū cabin.

Our luxurious Palikū cabin.

The nights in the wilderness at Palikū were definitely an interesting experience, where being the city slicker that I am, the others had a good laugh at my expense. I used at least 30 antibacterial towelettes and baby wipes to scour the outhouse toilet seat, my mattress cover, and parts of my body which inevitably got coated in cinder dust. I also found myself highly skilled in holding my bladder for hours at a time. There was no way I was going to get up at 2 o’clock in the morning in the pitch black for a long haul to that dreadful outhouse.

And truthfully, we wouldn’t have traded the experience for anything. We felt fortunate to get the opportunity to go on this trip. The experience forced us to get out of our comfort zones and abandon modern conveniences like technology and electricity. After spending a few relaxing days gaining appreciation for the natural world, and being able to bond and socialize with others without interruption, we mentally prepared ourselves for what lay ahead: the 10-mile hike out of Haleakalā crater… uphill. We had to go 7 miles steadily uphill, and then finish with another strenuous 3 miles up a steep and narrow trail called the “Switchbacks.”


Lava fields that made us feel like we were on Mars.


Our friends making their way up the Switchbacks.

Surprisingly, we made it, and all in good time. We survived our adventure in a dormant volcano, despite not having pack mules, internet access, or hot tubs. Shoot, my friend didn’t even have soles on her shoes, as they separated and fell off before she even made it to the Switchbacks.

All things considered, we hiked like champs out of that crater, setting our minds on the frosty beers that awaited us in the cooler in the car. Nothing motivates parched and exhausted hikers like ice cold beers. I motored out of that crater like a Clydesdale going after a dangling carrot. As if I was Wyle E. Coyote chasing The Road Runner with my newest ACME gadget. When I got to the car, I slumped into an Eddie Bauer camping chair and popped open a brewski. And that was all, folks! Until next time, Haleakalā!



Filed under Best Things We Learned, We Learned from..., Uncategorized

Weekend of Champions

This could be me!
Photo courtesy of: kpopstarz.com

Holy crap on a cracker! The Silva Gang was honored with another award! Gosh, I’m so giddy right now, I feel like the little Korean dude in that Gangnam Style video!

Thank you to Cassie Behle for the One Lovely Blog Award! Cassie is hilarious, an awesome writer, and my blogger bestie who continues to redefine life’s perceptions… one glass of wine at a time.

As a recipient of this award, I’m supposed to share something about myself. Since I’m incredibly thankful that you read my extremely sarcastic blog on a regular basis, and I want you to come back, I’ll keep it brief so as not to lull you into a deep sleep. Besides, there isn’t much I can tell you that you probably don’t already know.

One random fact that I will share with you is that my ancestors hail from the Planet Goo Gone in the majestic spiral galaxy called NGC 4414. I’d tell you more about it, but I want to avoid any sticky situations related to a full disclosure. Ha, just kidding (but how cool would that be?!).

What I was going to say is that I absolutely despise camping. Yes, despise. I pretty much avoid anything with the word “camping” in it. I’ll be writing all about it in my next blog post, so stay tuned! I also dislike artsy fartsy films, overly emotional films, or films with exceedingly cryptic plots. I’m more of a Lord of the Rings and Gladiator kind of gal, and not so much a Memento or Crying Game kind of gal.

As for another blogger I’d like to pass this One Lovely Blog Award to…

…I love you all (I really do)!

This time around, please join me in congratulating Harper Faulkner over at All Write! HF is a super funny guy, and I’d like to thank him for all the laughs!

Lady Antebellum performing in Hawaii.

In other news, I saw Lady Antebellum in concert in Hawaii this weekend, and they were fabulous! The only thing that wasn’t fabulous was that Darius Rucker and Thompson Square didn’t bother to show up! I know! How rude! The hubby and I were looking forward to seeing them on tour with Lady Antebellum, but they just didn’t have any aloha for us.

Neither did the middle-aged couple sitting next to us at the concert apparently, as they didn’t even hesitate to park their overweight derrières in our seats before we got there. As they stuffed their faces with nachos, we literally had to point out the seat numbers and show them our tickets to motivate them to budge. To make matters worse, they reverted to ignorance as an excuse, and they gruffly remarked: “Well, we didn’t know! It’s so dark, we couldn’t see!”

As I stood there pondering life’s pressing questions, particularly why these people’s parents didn’t use birth control, they started packing up their belongings and vacating our seats. It made the whole experience that much more worth it when I squeezed by them and managed to whack the lady in the face with my gigantic purse (yes, that would be the purse that the hubby refers to as a feed bag). She gave me a dirty look, and I said to her “Oh, whoops! Did my bag hit you? Gosh, it’s so dark, I couldn’t see!”

And that, my friends, is how the game of karma is played.


Filed under Silva Nuggets (Random)

5 Signs You’re a Crazy Cat Person

1- You have a ton of cats and cat toys. Unfortunately, your cats choose to ignore all those wonderful toys, and they play with empty toilet paper rolls and your shoelaces instead.

2- Your best friend gives you a bag of treats as a gift for your cats, and after letting them eat most of the bag, you realize that they’re from Walmart (and made in China) which fuels a sort of Kim-Kardashian-Kanye-West combination meltdown (which means that you attempt to maintain your composure, but in the end, you can’t control yourself from freaking out like a Drama King/Queen and voicing your concerns inappropriately). You grab your cell phone, call your best friend, and exclaim “Oh. My. God. I can’t believe you gave me Chinese cat treats from Walmart! If I didn’t know any better, I’d think you were trying to kill my babies!”

3- You get excited… no, more like ecstatic and hysterical… over pet care items such as a special miniature hand brush and dust pan to sweep up fine granules of kitty litter. When you find items like this in the store, you actually jump for joy, raising them in the air victoriously as Rafiki did with Simba in the first Lion King movie.

Image courtesy of arthursclipart.org

4- You talk to your cats. And, I don’t mean the occasional “Here kitty, kitty!” kind of talk. I mean the kind of talking that ends up being a dialogue of sorts between you and your cat.

Crazy Cat Person: How’s my sweet girl? How was your day?

Cat: Meow.

Crazy Cat Person: Oh, I know you missed me, sweet pea! Are you hungry?

Cat: Meow.

Crazy Cat Person: Let’s see what we can do about that. Do you want your favorite catnip treats?

Cat: Meow.

5- Your cats have a first and last name… sometimes even a middle name. And, you’ve been known to use their full names when you’re angry at them, to which they consistently respond with verbal opposition.

Crazy Cat Person: Punky Mewster Miller, get down from that shelf right now!

Cat: Mrrrreeeeoooooow! Mrrrreeeeoooooow!

Crazy Cat Person: I don’t want to hear it! Get down here right now! I mean it!

Cat: Mrrrreeeeoooooow! Mrrrreeeeoooooow!

After this goes on for a while, the crazy cat person ultimately gives up and retrieves the cat from the shelf on his/her own, since the cat simply refuses to cooperate (and there’s no winning an argument with an angry cat).

Image by designer-brain courtesy of deviantart.com


Filed under Furry Tales

Shark Bite Media Mayhem

One of the best things we learned, we learned from all the shark bite media mayhem. We learned that the media regularly blows shark attacks out of proportion, thereby resulting in mass panic.

Recently, a California girl was standing in shallow water offshore at one of Hawaii’s beaches, and a small, 4-foot reef shark swam up and bit her calf (it was like a 4-inch bite mark). After the incident, one of the news stations reported this blurb:

Reef sharks are normally timid, but are known to mistake human legs for food.

Then, they featured a photo like this to go with their story:

I’m no expert, but that’s no timid reef shark.
Courtesy of: dailymail.co.uk

We can imagine that it was a very traumatic and scary experience for that poor girl, but it’s even more scary how the media comes up with this stuff.

How is a 20-foot great white synonymous with an itty bitty reef shark? And, how does the media know enough about a shark’s behaviors and choices to make generalizations?

Did an anchorman actually go out into the deep blue ocean to interview this elusive creature for information on its food preferences and personal life?

Anchorman: Um, yes Mr. Shark. What do you like to do in your spare time?

Shark: I swim around all day. I scare people. I eat a bunch of crap. I swim around some more. I scare more people. I eat some more crap.

Anchorman: That’s fascinating. What type of crap do you like to eat?

Shark: Personally, I love old license plates and car tires. When I can’t find any of those, I go after whatever I can get. Sometimes I mistake human legs for food. My bad.

Anchorman (biting his fingernails): Are you serious? You mistake human legs for food? How is that even possible?

Shark: It’s murky out there. Gimme a break. Sometimes I think it’s a seal, and it just ends up being some unappetizing, gristly human leg. By the way, quit biting your nails. Watching you chew on your fingers like that is making me hungry.

Anchorman (nervously): Okay, I think this interview is over. Camera crew, let’s wrap up here. I said let’s go, people! Chop, chop!


Filed under Best Things We Learned, We Learned from...

What’s Your Interest in Pinterest?

In a feeble attempt to understand the magical and mysterious world of Pinterest, I joined the site last week, and to-date I have zero followers. Buh-bam.

While virtually twiddling my thumbs over there, I’ve had some time to reflect on the situation, during which a couple of thoughts have occurred to me:

1)      What exactly is the purpose of Pinterest?

2)      Why doesn’t Pinterest give members at least one default friend, so no one feels insignificant? Perhaps someone like Myspace Tom, but he could be Pinterest Jim.

From what I’ve been able to gather in the past week, it appears that people pick photos that they consider pin-worthy from the internet to add to their online pin boards. The end result is a virtual collage of sorts.

The most significant thing I’ve learned from Pinterest so far (which is actually pretty awesome) is that you can soak watermelon in tequila, and then dip each slice in margarita salt for what is seemingly the most mind-blowing fruit experience.

Mmmm. Margarita watermelon.

What was I saying? Oh yeah. After a week of research, I’ve come to the conclusion that to become a dedicated pinner, you really can’t have a demanding career. By process of elimination, the majority of Pinterest users must either be disgruntled employees at Initech, full-time students, housewives, or retired members of AARP.

To my amazement, Pinterest aficionados can spend an entire day pinning photos of knitted doilies, vegan goulash recipes, and other totally random things that I would never think anyone would ever be interested in… like a macramé skirt with a jellyfish on it, for instance. Yet, for some reason, it works, and there are other people out there who get it.

As for me, right now I’d regard myself a Silva pin: a beginner with minimal Pinterest interest and no followers.

What’s your interest in Pinterest, and what type of enthusiast are you?


Filed under Silva Nuggets (Random)