A Travellerspoint blog

USA

Maui

Where he finally put a ring on it ;)

While the world is experiencing a lockdown/quarantine/isolation due to a pandemic, I figure it's as good a time as ever to update the travel blog with the last opportunity we had to travel in a 'normal' world!

Brett and I have decided January is just the best time to get out of Edmonton. We also feel extremely lucky to have enjoyed one amazing trip in 2020 before things were basically turned upside down.

We stayed in Kihei, which was a great spot from which to start the beach hopping. On our first couple days, we hit up La Perouse Bay,

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Big Beach,

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Oneuli Beach,

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Palauea Beach,

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and Po'olenalena Beach.

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The first full day adventure was the Road to Hana... full of waterfalls,

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viewpoints,

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and of course.. beaches!!

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Our next big adventure was a helicopter ride.

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We took a route along the upper west coast of Maui, over to the island of Moloka'i,

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The vistas were incredible.

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And we finished off that amazing day with yet another beach! Charley Young Beach.

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Next up, a hike in the Iao Valley...

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And now, my favorite day! We made the drive up to the crater in Haleakala National Park. Skipping the absurdly early morning for a sunrise, we opted for a later start and stopped at a couple viewpoints on the way up,

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Then headed to the Sliding Sands Trail,

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Before returning to the crater for sunset,

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Turns out this is now my favorites sunset, as Brett proposed just as the crowd was dispersing. We had a beautiful moment together while the sunset lit up the sky <3

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We ended our trip with a drive up to Kapalua,

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A quick visit with my cousins Brendan and Sonja,

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Special thanks to Sonja for taking our Maui engagement photo!

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I even managed to get a couple photos with my traveling pineapple.

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Beautiful, lush, warm, sunny. Maui did not disappoint!

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Posted by elliehirch 15:31 Archived in USA Comments (0)

San Francisco!

After a year away from any extensive traveling... it was a successful week on a first ‘couple trip’ for Brett and I. We enjoyed the diverse and delicious food, plenty of wine and beer, surprisingly sunny days, and minimal arguments in our time in San Francisco and the Bay Area.
The first day was probably the most ‘trying’ as Brett realized once we had made it all the way to our AirBnb that the clothes in the suitcase were not in fact his. This led to a return to the airport and a runaround to finally locate the guy who had also walked away with identical, but incorrect suitcase. I think Mr. Kanuka will be checking his baggage tags a little more carefully in the future.. at least when he’s traveling with me!!
We made up for the delays in the first day with a full ‘tourist walking tour’ on the second day.
Starting at the ferry building...

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Along the Embarcadero..

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To Pier 39...

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And the seals...

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Fisherman’s wharf..

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Ghirardelli Square...

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Lombard Street and cable cars...

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The stairs up to Coit Tower...

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And finally, Chinatown and some delicious (and adorable) Dim Sum...

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Day 2 was all about the bridge.. we rented bikes to head across the Golden Gate Bridge...

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Then re-fueled with a chowder bread bowl..

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Before heading out to Alcatraz...

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The island has a great view of the city, and the prison tour was fantastic.

Our third day was arguably my favourite because it was focused on wine! We took a tour of Sonoma and Napa Valleys. The tour focused on smaller, family run wineries.. meaning a more refined wine making process. And you can only buy wine at the winery or in a wine club.. super exclusive, I know! Anyways, it was beautiful and delicious and we had a great time all day long. It also didn’t hurt that the majority of the rest of the group were fun Aussies!

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The next day we nursed our wine hangovers at the Giants game...

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We continued the sporting events with a Warriors game. Western conference finals game 3 against Houston! The arena was electric and the Warriors played a great game..

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We also took a walk in Golden Gate Park...

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And Alamo Square...

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And visited the Palace of Fine Arts..

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We spent the last couple days getting out of the city, first to the redwood forest at Muir Woods National Monument...

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And a hike out of the valley at the end of the day...

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And lastly, a drive south along the coast..

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All the way to Pebble Beach Golf Course and 17 Mile Drive in Monterey.

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This concludes the highlights of our first adventure together. San Francisco, it was a slice!

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Posted by elliehirch 15:47 Archived in USA Comments (0)

August Long Weekend


View 8 Month Adventure on elliehirch's travel map.

As Auntie Virginia likes to say, if you do something twice it becomes a tradition. This was our second year of a Mak family reunion/get together down at the lake... so it's now a tradition! Though we were missing a few this time (Conor in Europe, Dayna at a course and Mike passport-less) it was a wonderful weekend!! Everyone made it down on Friday night and we had chilled beer waiting and wine ready to be poured. After lots of visiting, (cousin) Kevin and I were the last ones off to bed.
Saturday was a bit of a cloudy morning, after a late start and lazy few hours, (cousin) Sonja, Maddie, and I headed to town for a pedicure. Then Saturday evening's dinner was prepared by the Hirch family and Auntie Virginia and was delicious. We finished the day off with a big dance party lead by Auntie Clare (the queen of dance parties). This particular party saw almost the whole family requesting songs and staying up to dance and visit until about 2 am, once again Kevin and I being among those left standing :)
Sunday morning was a bit of rough one for this girl... I made the mistake of committing to an early morning to make pina colada cookie cups for Sunday's dessert. After two hours too long baking in the kitchen I managed to finish and grab a couple hours rest before an afternoon of suntanning. Sunday's dinner was made by the Hargrave family and was delicious as well! And thankfully the cookie cups that nearly killed me were a success. We finished the weekend evenings off with a games night, where once again, you guessed it, Kevin and I were the last ones standing (Maddie also made it this night, Liam was technically there but falling asleep on the couch).
Monday morning we had time for a croquet game, where I emerged victorious. I would just like to mention I was undefeated in lake beer pong, ladder ball and croquet. ;) Then a few of us finished the weekend off with a boat ride.
Lots of hugs later.. the annual lake family reunion came to an end.

Here's a couple photos of the family on the deck
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The hammock was a popular spot for both humans and animals. Mom and Cass were frequent fliers
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All the wine I chose to buy had a lake theme.. Including this Lakegirl Pontoon Red Wine
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Selfie stick came in handy for a group selfie from the boat in front of the cottage
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Ending this post off with a couple group shots!
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Posted by elliehirch 19:59 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Minneapolis

Mall of American and Twins Game

Hello everyone, the pre-adventure continued with a trip to Minneapolis for shopping and baseball. It was a long day! Apparently my body decided that I shouldn't get a good sleep before our one big outing, so I was up at 3:30am, laying there cursing anything I could think of to blame for lack of sleep. We were on our way to Park Rapids by 7am for some street sale Crazy Days shopping. Then continued with to the biggest mall in the US, Mall of America, for a solid 5 hours of shopping. Here's a sister shopping selfie:
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After a few years in edmonton navigating West Ed, this mall was a breeze and was a successful stop for all of us.

Then we were off to the ball game. Which ended up being more of a production than originally anticipated.. I guess that's what happens when you head to downtown Minneapolis for the first time ever with a less than ideal map, no phone service and a terrible sense of direction/poor navigational skills in general. After sitting in a line of cars which ended up exiting to the freeway, we managed to exit to downtown and find our parking garage. Which we then spent way too long trying to figure out how to get out of and walking out onto the street at a totally different place than we had driven into. Luckily Liam has a 'great' (his word not mine) sense of direction to steer us towards Target Field where we successfully found the entrance (on our second try). After a fiasco with getting our tickets scanned, we managed to find our seats, find some food and sit down to take in 7(/9) great innings of baseball; Minnesota Twins vs. Baltimore Orioles. Those of you out there who have been trying (minimally successfully) to turn me into a baseball fan will be happy to know how much I enjoyed the game. :) The Twins threw a few great outs at home plate, some double plays, hit a home run and some other close calls that had the crowd cheering and had me out of my seat along with them. After 4 runs in the 7th, they clinched the 6-2 victory!
Here's the 3 of us at the game (in our newly purchased Twins caps):
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Our seats were great, we had a good view of all the action.
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Thankfully, navigating out of the city and back to the lake was much easier than getting there. After some driving games, including 20 questions with Pokemon, and 3.5 hours in the car, we made it back safe and sound. And ready to rest up for the fun of the long weekend to come.

Posted by elliehirch 17:07 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Minnesota Pre-Adventure

Family vacay

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View 8 Month Adventure on elliehirch's travel map.

Hello everyone and welcome to my first blog entry, covering what I like to call my 'pre-adventure', which really means the week and a half vacation at the family cottage in Minnesota. (AKA my favourite place on earth). I've been at this cottage for 25 out of my 26 summers! I only missed one year when I was off adventuring in Europe. I was even here when I was approximately 2 months old.. sorry to say I can't tell you many details of that summer besides that I was probably an angelically behaved baby ;)
So far this week has consisted of sun, beer, food, and more sun. I managed to burn myself on just our second day here but that hasn't stopped me from further sun adventures. Thankfully I have a great gym instructor that has been sending me workouts, and Liam has joined me in these (though he hates them!) and we have gone golfing, walking, and out on the boat; so we are getting a little bit of activity! Today we set up beer pong on a float on the lake, just getting ready for all the family that will be here for our August long excitement.

Here's me in my 'Murica gear on our first day!
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This is our cottage..
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I'm pretty sure it's the cutest cottage on the planet.. but I may be slightly biased.

This is the view out on the water..
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We've had a lot of calm days like that this week.. just beautiful!

This the fam that's here right now (minus Grandpa, he's not big on photos)
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Mom, Maddie, Me and Liam.

Liam and I out golfing...
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Our beer pong creation..
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And lastly... Ellie and the lake!
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Stay tuned for our Minneapolis adventure happening tomorrow!

Posted by elliehirch 14:01 Archived in USA Comments (0)

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