40 Miles from Aspen

Aspen is definitely a popular destination for sighting celebrities and where the rich and famous live and play. It boasts of infamous restaurants, high-end shops, and great skiing. It wasn’t really about Aspen. We were there for the starting point of an adventure.

We started off from Glenwood Springs where we got on a bus with our bikes. A 30-minute bus ride that took us straight into downtown Aspen.

Lifesize bear made from thousands of nails.

We took some time walking around and looking at the shops and restaurants. We even bought some T-Shirts to commemorate our bike ride.

What’s this adventure? Well, from downtown Aspen, we planned to ride the bike trail 40 miles back to Glenwood Springs. That’s the reason we put our bikes on the bus. This trip had been done by our friends several times. So I had faith I could do it.

Ready or not we were on our way.

There were some interesting things to see along the bike trail.

Steel Bridge over the river.

We rode on the trail that ran parallel to the Colorado River. We stopped for a rest a few times. I sure needed it. The terrain was flat most of the way and made it for a fairly easy ride.

Waterfall down the side of the hill.

Bear signs everywhere. I was happy we didn’t see any real bears. Just the big naily one in Aspen.

Beautiful view of the Colorado River.
Goat labor

These goats were surrounded by an electric fence. They were put there to eat the shrub. I guess it’s cheaper than hiring people to do the landscaping.

4 hours later and we made it back to Glenwood Springs without incident. Not including the lunch stop before our last 10 miles home. That was the hardest part of the trip. Riding your bike in headwinds after already riding for 3+ hours. Ouch! It truly was an adventure.

Colorado and Friends 2018

Our travels are a highlight of our life experiences. My husband and I have fond memories of all the places we’ve traveled to. This year Colorado was a special time away. We were fortunate to be invited by our longtime and dearest friends to stay at their vacation home. It was a trip full of adventure and wonderful times of fellowship. Bill and Donna were the perfect hosts and knowledgeable guides for our fabulous week in Glenwood Springs.

A short train ride from Denver International airport to the Denver Union train station. I just love train stations with its history and nostalgia. We then hopped on another train to the Jefferson County Government Center where our friends parked their car. We drove a few miles north to the quaint town of Golden.

Golden Colorado-

Home of the School of Mines

Coors Brewery

Adolf Coors, founder of Coors Brewery

The town of Golden is a fun place to browse and spend a few hours. We saw the Coors brewery amidst beautiful landscape and the river rushing alongside. The landscape will take your breath away. And it did.

Glenwood Springs

We climbed up a trail to see the view of beautiful downton Glenwood Springs.

Hotel Colorado

Glenwood Springs is also famous for the Hotel Colorado. This is where President Theodore Roosevelt stayed when he visited. A tribute to the President and the Teddy bear that was named after him is cased in the hotel lobby.

My friend Donna actualy saw her great aunt’s name on the people who first stayed at the Hotel Coloradowhen it first opened in 1893.

It’s a great place to sit at the bar and look out at the beautiful landscape. They also make great margharitas.

The bike trails around Glenwood Springs is a good way to see the beautiful landscape.

Spending time in the jacuzzi was one of our highlights of the trip.

There were so many more places and activities we experienced during our stay in Colorado:

  • Air Force Academy Football game
  • 40 mile bike ride from Aspen
  • Grand Junction visit with family
  • The Monument drive
  • hike to Hanging Lake

Hike Maui – Pt 2

I’ve often looked at the West Maui mountains and seen the windmills lining up to the top of that mountain. I had heard about the trail Lahaina Pali Trail. It’s a hike that can be done on either side of the mountain and done halfway up or go completely to the other side of the mountain. The Lahaina Pali Trail is accessible from either side of the mountain. The trail is 5.5 miles long one way. It is strenuous and slow going. The east entrance is from Maalaea and the west entrance is on the same highway on the way to Lahaina. Most people park their car on either side and hike halfway til they reach the windmills. If you decide to cross over the mountain you will need a ride to get back to your car, unless you hitchhike or go back over the mountain to your car. Leave lots of time for stopping and taking breaks.

A tip when planning this hike from either side is to start as early in the morning as possible. It can get extremely hot from the sun coming over from the east Haleakala mountain and there are no trees along the trail to provide shade. Clouds can form and rain could happen at any time over the West Maui Mountains especially during the winter months. As always wear good hiking shoes or athletic shoes for this hike. The trail is rocky and there are deep ravines in certain spots. Bring water, some snacks, and wear a hat.

I’ve accomplished 3 hikes so far and have 7 more to go to complete my goal of 10 in a year.  You can read about it my previous post  Hike Maui Pt 1.

Difficult Hike – Lahaina Pali Hike-Maalaea East Entrance

We decided to do the Maalaea entrance to the Lahaina Pali trail and not do the whole hike over the mountain. I would save the west entrance of the Lahaina Pali trail for another day. I am glad we did.

Horses, mules and foot traffic was the only way to travel this trail before roads were built. I read about my Hawaiian ancestors walking this trail in woven sandals or barefoot. I felt guilty as I complained about how hard it was while wearing my expensive athletic shoes. Traveling short distances for them were long and arduous and often dangerous. The hardship they must have endured. I get to walk the same trail my ancestors traveled and experience their journey. Well almost.

A huge feeling of accomplishment after reaching the top and taking in the view of Maalaea, Kihei and Haleakala Mountain.

Difficult Hike – Lahaina Pali Trail – West Entrance

I love a challenge but I probably would not do this hike again. This side of the trail was much more difficult and it took us longer to reach the windmill. The steep, strenuous trail makes this my most difficult hike so far. It’s not a good feeling when you see people pass by and then see the same people come back down. It’s also a reminder to stay focused on my own journey and not someone else’s.

Panoramic views from the west side of the Lahaina Pali Trail. A beautiful bird’s eye view of Lana’i island.

Until the next hike! A hui hou. until next time…..

Hike Maui – Part 1

Hiking was never my thing

As a kid growing up on Maui I did what all local kids did. We created our playgrounds or activities in whatever the environment allowed. We made up our own hikes. Climbed mango trees, played in the cane fields and swam in the stream. There was never a lack of places for us kids to explore and get lost in our own imaginations.

And then you grow up. No more climbing trees or swimming in streams. Life gets in the way with having to make a living. Even when you live in paradise locals aren’t always at the beach or taking advantage of our beautiful island home. Then in 2016, I wanted to do something different. A challenge or resolution that was exciting, fun and be outdoors. I felt I was missing out on areas of the island that only visitors get to see. I came up with a goal to do 10 hikes by the end of the year. Hiking would accomplish a few things: exercise, being outside and exploring new places on the island. Of course, this would include my husband and it would be something fun for us to do together.

There are definitely more than 10 hiking trails on Maui. I was not an avid hiker and only knew of a few trails, but I was confident I could do at least 10 different trails.  There wasn’t any method to how we selected the trails. Whatever trail I had heard of or knew of is what we went with. Most of the trails were close by and easy to get to. If and when I get to 10 they’ll all be posted. For now here are my 3 hikes so far.

What I learned about myself

  1. I am a tortoise and not a hare
  2. I am a finisher – no matter how difficult the trail
  3. I want to explore more trails

 

Easy Hike Maui – Kahakapao Trail Loop

The Kahakapao Trail Loop is located in the Makawao Forest Reserve near the town of Makawao. It’s 5.9 miles forms a loop and is shaded by a canopy of trees. I particularly like this hike for its shade. The elevation reaches up to 3600+ feet and the temperatures can be slightly cooler depending on the time of year. A little warning about this trail. This area gets wet and muddy after a heavy rain. That also makes this trail popular with dirt bikers. Check the weather before heading out to this trail under a canopy. There’s lots of free parking.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Medium Hike Maui – Olowalu Valley

The Olowalu Valley trail is a beautiful hike which involves a lot of stream crossing. Olowalu is on the west side of Maui on the way to Lahaina. This is actually two separate hikes: Petroglyph hike and the Olowalu Valley. To get to the Petroglyphs it’s about 1 mile from the Olowalu general store. We passed by this historic site and headed straight to the Olowalu trail. The Olowalu trail is approximately 4 miles. The terrain is varied, but not impossible. There are about 9 stream crossings. I particularly remembered this hike because we didn’t know exactly where we were going. As a kid, I remembered taking school field trips to visit the petroglyphs and I hadn’t been back since then. Just passing the petroglyphs you can park outside the gate at the cultural center. Warning please don’t park inside the gate if it is open. It is locked after a certain time and you might get locked in. Note: most of the petroglyphs have been vandalized with graffiti along with weather and time has eroded most of the historic drawings.

 

 

 

Difficult Hike Maui – Waihe’e Ridge

What can I say about this hike? It’s HARD!!! If you are not in good physical health please do not attempt this beautiful but challenging trail in Waihee, Maui. It’s not a far hike just about 2.5 miles one way. The deceiving part is the ascending steep trail. I found out quickly how out of shape I was.  It amazed me how many people were coming down from the trail with flip flops and even carrying newborn babies. What were they thinking?  There’s a lot of free parking, but the park does close at 7 pm. Also check the weather. This is not a place to be when it’s raining.

 

It starts off difficult. A steep concrete driveway leads up to the trail. We found walking backward made it easier.

 

 

 

 

Amazing waterfalls that can only be seen from this trail.

We are only halfway to the top at this point. We took a picture just in case we didn’t make it. Eventually, we did make it all the way. Yahoo!

It felt good to make it all the way to the top of Waihe’e Ridge. The views alone are worth all the pain and effort. The air was crisp and clean. I had a bird’s eye view of Kahului harbor, Waihe’e, Waiehu, and Kahului.  If you are up for a challenge and if the weather permits accept the journey.  We’ll see you on the next hike on Maui.

Portland: The City for Coffee, Tea and Walking

 

 

Portland is a great place for a weekend getaway. We chose Portland because we enjoy a walkable city. The weather was comfortable with warm temps and sunny clear skies just perfect for walking.

We always make it a point when visiting a city to check if there’s a  Free Walking Tour.  Portland does have a free walking tour and we highly recommend it.  This tour is worth the 2 hours. Eric was our guide and we thoroughly enjoyed his humor and knowledge about all things Portland. He also recommended a few of his favorite restaurants and coffee shops. After our lunch at the Adler St. Food Cart Pod, we decided to check out the coffee shop he recommended.

 

He prefers coffee and I prefer tea

Spellas Caffee is a tiny cafe that could easily be missed if you didn’t know it was there. There are 2 cafe tables outside and a pretty small retail space inside. There’s only space enough for 2 -3 people inside. But don’t let the size deter you. The aroma of freshly ground coffee beans permeated the cafe. I loved the beautiful chandelier creating a warm and inviting atmosphere. I felt I was in an Italian cafe. My husband is the coffee drinker in the family. He ordered his usual cafe mocha while I quickly noticed the gelato case. I decided to pass on the coffee and order a scoop of gelato. The barista suggested I order an affogato. Oh. Ok, but I went with it. I am so glad I took her suggestion.  The strong espresso combined with a scoop of gelato was a delicious combination. Instead of adding milk or cream to my coffee I had a scoop of luscious creamy vanilla gelato.  From now on it will be hard to drink coffee any other way.

affogato: an Italian dessert of vanilla ice cream over which espresso has been poured. The affogato can be sipped slowly or eaten with a spoon and is a great way to enjoy dessert, coffee, and an after-dinner drink all in one.  wikipedia

Spella Caffe owner, Mr. Spella has crafted the art of preparing espresso. He has spent his life acquiring techniques in bringing the best cup of espresso to his customers. The next time you’re in downtown Portland get the tastiest espresso and treat yourself to an affogato.

Spella Caffe -Downtown Portland OR

 

Sometimes the location isn’t everything

Yelp is a great app to search for anything I’m looking for. We searched for a tea shop and I was surprised there were several choices for tea shops. We decided on a tea shop just outside the downtown area.  We were lead to an obscure industrial area.  I was a little skeptical until we drove by and saw the outside of the shop. Don’t judge a shop by its location. I immediately loved the way the exterior looked with its brick walls and all the greenery surrounding it. It looked very English. I walked in and knew I was going to have a great cup of tea.

Steven Smith Storefront

Steven Smith’s Teamaker is a small and quaint tea shop.  The decor was simple with shelves neatly lined with a wide choice of teas. There were a few tables where people were enjoying a pot of tea and reading the newspaper. We sat down at the counter and looked over the menu to select our tea. Green, Black, Oolong in every variety you could imagine. All the teas blends have numbers and a name. I selected an imported tea, #47 called Bungalow. It’s a Darjeeling tea. The black full leaf tea is grown in the Himalayan mountains. The teamaker prepared my pot of tea and served it in a simple teapot with a large porcelain cup and a tea biscuit. It was a soothing and flavorful tea. I imagined I was in England somewhere having afternoon tea.

 

This tea shop has more than meets the eye

The building is a 100-year-old blacksmith shop. The founder, Steven Smith, was a native of Portland and a leading tea entrepreneur. They have a second location where they hold tours, classes, and events surrounding tea. I love that this shop sees tea as more than a beverage. It’s a culture.

My favorite part of traveling is finding local shops such as these in seemingly hidden places.

What obscure shop or place did you find on your travels?

High Tea with a Purpose

Directions for brewing the perfect pot of tea.

Boil a pot of water. Pour it over a spoonful of tea leaves in a beautiful teapot. Then steep for 5 minutes. Pour it carefully into a china teacup. Serve it with baked biscuits and muffins along with freshly made lemon curd. It’s time for high tea.

One of my pleasures in life is having friends over for tea. It’s always a relaxing time sipping tea and doing what girls do best – share their stories. Or as we say here in Hawaii, talk story. My guest for this tea party was my friend Trudy who just returned from her travels to Europe.

Trudy brought back tea from London in a beautiful commemorative tea tin. With a wedding picture of Prince Harry and Megan on the front. It was almost like having high tea with them both. I wish that were true.

Royal tea from Prince Harry and Meghan Markel

High Tea with a purpose

I purposely planned this high tea time for Trudy. I wanted to hear all about her travels this summer and I love a good travel tale.

We ate biscuits smothered with lemon curd and drank our special royal tea. I listened and imagined I was there with her. From London to Prague to Budapest to Rome and not in that order. And did I skip a few countries?  She shared many wonderful stories and lots of photos.  Another pot of tea, more biscuits and more travel stories. Where did the time go? We needed more time. There were many adventures she still hadn’t shared. We would have to get together again to hear the rest of the stories.

After several hours we found out we had more in common than our love for traveling. We both had blogs, but we weren’t blogging.  Trudy just returned from a blogging conference in Prague and it encouraged her to get active with her blog. That got me excited to get serious about my blog. We decided to meet again the following week to work on our blogs. And we continue to meet every week to encourage each other and share our challenges and triumphs with our blogs and our lives. Here’s Trudy’s blog site www.travelboomers.com

Do you have a blogging buddy that can encourage and urge you to keep blogging?

 

My love for baking

I went on a gluten-free diet several years ago. And that changed how I cooked. Especially my baking. I don’t have any gluten issues. It’s just a choice I made after researching the effects of gluten on your digestive system and overall health.  Since then I have collected and made recipes using gluten-free flours and natural unprocessed sweeteners.  It’s been fun experimenting with coconut, almond, rice, buckwheat, and tapioca flour and the list goes on. I hope you will make some of these gluten-free recipes we enjoyed at our high tea party.

Daryl's tea table with Trudy
Homemade gluten-free lemon curd, biscuits, and muffins.

Menu*

Black English Tea

Gluten Free Biscuits

Meyer Lemon Curd

Gluten-Free Blueberry Muffins

Gluten-Free Chocolate Zucchini Muffins

Fresh Raspberries and Blueberries

*Click on the links for the recipes. Thank you to the creators of these tasty recipes.

Starting from Scratch

I’ve been called the “complicated” chef because I make almost everything from scratch. I believe creating good food starts with learning the basics and using quality ingredients.

I decided to create this blog even though I already have another one. Starting from scratch has its complications and feelings of frustration. I realize it is just like my cooking. I’m having to learn the basics and how every everything interacts with each other. I press on with each mistake and error in this new blog.

I am hoping “Spoons of Wisdom”  will evolve into something inspiring, helpful and always with a bit of wisdom.

“Achievement is not always defined by victory. Sometimes achievement lies in the honest endeavor to do your best under all circumstances, knowing that on any given day, intense personal effort may be the only thing that separates you from your competition. To be your best, grab your paddle and get moving.” 

from the book Guide Coaching, by Monique Honaman, Ellen Dotts, Stacy Sollenberger