#54 Go for a Romantic Horseback Ride on a Trail

June 1, 2011

I’m going to pick up from my last post about the cowboy culture of Hawaii with my next adventure!  Also taking place in Kauai, this adventure was completed on the South Shore of the island in a town called Poipu.  We really wanted to go for a horseback ride on our trip, and our local rodeo friend recommended that we head down to CJM Stables so that is exactly what we did.  Aside from beef production, another source of income for these ranches and stables are tourists coming through for horseback rides and tours.  Sorry again for being repetitive to those who took the time to read my entire Hawaii post, but I want to elaborate for those who only read the condensed version.  Before completing this bucket list item, I had only been on a horse twice in my life–once was on my 7th birthday when my parents threw my sister and I a carnival birthday party (still my favorite birthday party to date.)  They hired the neighbor who had a stable to come up with one of her horses for “pony rides” for all the kids.  We walked around the front yard a couple times with someone holding the reins from the front leading the horse around, and we called it a day.  The second time, I was about 10, and once again I didn’t have full control of my horse, as we were at the stable of a family friend, and she led the horse around the ring a couple times with me on it. 

Upon our arrival at CJM Stables, I was really excited as this would be my first time on a horse by myself without help controlling it (which also made me a little nervous!).  I was also really looking forward to a romantic experience of riding a horse down a trail with my new husband.  The best part was that the ride took place on both the beach and the mountain side; I really don’t think you can get any better than that!  My horse’s name was Hoppa, and while she listened to my commands fairly well, she was definitely a lazy one!  I think it was a good match for me though, because as a beginner, I may have freaked out with a rambunctious horse.  You know what happens when a horse feels your fear?  That’s right–they get scared, and could consequently buck you off.  Not my idea of romantic.  So Zack, the fearless one, got the spunkier horse named Dude who just ate grass the whole time on the trail (you weren’t supposed to let them eat the grass by the way–I hope this isn’t how Zack plans to discipline our future children.)  The ride was absolutely beautiful.  It was so amazing to be riding a horse right on the beach and then up through the mountainside.  We got caught in a couple rain showers, but even that couldn’t ruin the amazing scenery and experience we were having.  I picked up riding surprisingly quickly, and we had such a great time.  Our guide, Chaz, was a lot of fun, and we found out that he and his partner actually won the roping competition at the Waipa Rodeo from my previous post!  We took some photos which you will see below and enjoyed some delicious POG (Passion Fruit, Orange, Guava drink) on the trail.  At the end of the ride, I was sad that it was over and I had to say goodbye to my horse, but my legs and bum were certainly pleased that we were finished!  This is the last Hawaiian adventure I’ve completed on my bucket list to date, and I’m so grateful we were able to tick off SO many fun things while we were here!  Hawaii, especially Kauai, is definitely a must in terms of travel, so if you haven’t been there yet, make sure to plan a trip in the future!

CJM Stables

Me and Hoppa

#40 Go to a Rodeo

May 29, 2011

During my senior year of high school, my basketball team took a trip down to Disney World for a tournament.  There was a boys wrestling tournament and a boys basketball tournament also going on there at the same time we were there, and we all ended up staying at the All-Star Sports Resort during our stay.  Being the silly high school girls we were, of course we wanted to meet all the boys on our off time from the court.  One particular person I remember meeting on this trip was a boy from Texas.  I can’t remember his name, but my friends and I all thought he was a very sweet guy who portrayed the epitome of southern hospitality.  I had never been to Texas, but he told me that if I ever went I would HAVE to see a rodeo while I was there.  Well, I still haven’t made it to Texas, but I did get to see my first rodeo!  While on our honeymoon in Hawaii, Zack and I were able to check off yet another one of my bucket list items!  I know you are probably thinking “A rodeo?  In Hawaii?”  which is exactly what I thought at first too.  We met a local Hawaiian at a bar called Tahiti Nui the night before.  He was from the South Shore of Kauai, but he was up on the North Shore for the Waipa Rodeo.  At the time, we weren’t really sure if he was being serious, or if he was just “messing with the tourists,” but we decided to check it out since it wasn’t too far from where we were staying.  Turns out, he WAS being serious and you could smell the horses and cattle upon pulling into the Waipa Ranch.  We later found out that cowboy and ranch culture is a big part of the Hawaiian life.  More than a century ago, a man by the name of John Palmer Parker contracted Mexicans (called Paniolo by the Hawaiians) to come to Hawaii and teach the locals how to rope and ride a generation before their American counterparts in the “Wild West.”  The beef business boomed and the first ranch was born.  Since then, many other ranches have been born, and it still remains a part of culture today.  You have your surfers, and then you have your cowboys.  As strange as that sounds, it somehow works!  Upon our arrival, it was clear that we were among a crowd of locals who had gathered their families around to enjoy an entire day of rodeo.  Being that it was a small town rodeo, there were no huge grandstands; just one side of small bleachers, a ton of trucks pulled up, and lots of tailgating chairs to host the audience.  There was a grill to serve up some Kalua pig sandwiches and burgers and lots of kids running around.   To be honest, I really wanted to see some bull riding, but it was a little too small town for those big bulls.  However, there was lots of calf roping and mugging which was really cool to watch since neither of us had seen that before.  We chose our favorite cowboys (and one kickass cowgirl!) and cheered them on as they took off chasing the calves.  I have to admit I did feel bad for the little calves.  Although they weren’t hurt, they didn’t look like they were having too much fun.  Overall, it was a good day and a good learning experience to see a different part of the Hawaiian culture.  It also segues into my next completed adventure, so stay tuned!

#86 Turn Off My Cell Phone for a Week

May 24, 2011-June 7, 2011

With the rise in technology since I was a child, people have become more and more dependent on their gadgets…yeah I said gadgets.  At the age of 5, I would call my best friend Katie from my house to tell her I was coming over.  Then when I got there, I would call my Mom from Katie’s house phone to let her know I arrived.  If you said you were going to meet someone at the 7-11 over the phone…they just showed up.  You didn’t send them a text message or call their cell on the way, because those things didn’t exist!  You just went where you were supposed to go, and trusted the other person would do the same.

When it came to sending mail, you wrote a letter.  Remember my pen pal post?  You hand wrote a card, licked an envelope, put a stamp on it, and stuck it in the mailbox.  It usually took a couple days to arrive.  When the internet and e-mail was invented, you got your mail instantly.  People stopped using the postal service, and the term “snail mail” was created.  Most of the “snail mail” consisted of junk mail (aside from wedding invitations which are still sent the old fashioned way!)

Invention of the cell phone + invention of the internet and e-mail = the invention of the smart phone.  Our ticket to accessing anyone, anything, and everything we want at any time of day or night.  We make a phone call, send a text message, check our e-mail, update our Facebook status, take a photo and upload it to Twitter…all on this one device.  If we forget our smart phone at home before we leave the house, we freak out and think our life is over because we won’t be able to get that one e-mail or text message or phone call.  We have become so dependent and reliant on these gadgets to get us through our daily lives. 

My goal with this adventure was to shut down–turn my cell phone off for a week.  I decided that my honeymoon was probably the best time to try this considering I should be focusing my attention on my new hubby anyway right?  Who needs the rest of the world when you are on your honeymoon?  The first couple days of the trip, I needed to use my phone for small things like booking an excursion for our trip.  But two days in, I turned my cell phone off, and if we needed to make any more calls, it became my new husband’s job to call.  I ended up keeping my cell phone off for almost TWO full weeks instead of the one I had planned on!  I admit, I did check Facebook via laptop a few times to see new wedding photos people had posted (come on I couldn’t COMPLETELY shut down!), but I did not make any comments or postings of my own, and I kept that phone off for over 12 days. I made a call to my family our last day there, because I was dying to tell them all about our trip, but I had already made it well past a week by that point.

It was kind of amazing to shut myself from off from the rest of the world, and just ENJOY spending time with my new husband, and enjoy the beautiful island of Kauai.  I wasn’t worried about the latest Hollywood gossip or what everyone else what up to at home, and there were no distractions from work, family, friends, or the hustle and bustle of every day life.  I just took some time to sit back, relax, take in the ocean, the beautiful views, the amazing cliff hikes, the horseback ride, and everything else we enjoyed while we were there.  I seriously recommend that everyone should shut down from technology the next time you go on vacation, and just really enjoy this world we live on for what it is, and not the gadgets we have become glued to.

#61 Go on a Zip Cord

May 24, 2011

Being the avid thrill seeker that I am, I have always wanted to glide amongst the treetops on a zip cord!  Traveling to Hawaii was a great opportunity to try new things and experience some of these outdoorsy adventures that aren’t exactly abundant in my home of the concrete jungle–NYC.  This may be a little repetitive for those who read my entire Hawaii post, but for those who chose to read the slimmed down version, you may find it interesting.  While on the island of Kauai, we found a treetop tour in Lawai, which is on the south side of the island.  We were up bright and early to get there and meet a guy on an ATV who directed us into the forest to the start of the zip lining course.  This course had 7 lines ranging from long, medium, one mini zip, and a bunch of different rope bridges to cross as well.  We got all our gear on, and they took us up on our first zip.  I was a bit nervous at the start.  Although I enjoy scary adventures after they are over, I still get that huge pit in my stomach before partaking in them!  The scream from the woman in front of us on the first tour did not help my nerves!  We climbed to the top of this rope bridge to start the course, and WOW, was it high!  The first zip was a little freaky, but definitely fun, and I think I got the hang of zipping pretty quickly!  We continued along the tour taking photos, across bridges, and swinging on swings above the treetops.  We were pretty high up there, and luckily, Zack and I were able to get a couple cool videos of us on the zip line.  (although I was terrified I might drop my camera and lose all of our honeymoon photos haha.)  Our guides were all really nice and gave us great tips for the rest of our trip in Kauai.  At the end of the day, I felt like a pro, and zip cording was not nearly as scary as I thought it was going to be!  The monster swing we did at the end of our treetop tour ended up being the scariest part of the day, dropping you 60 feet in the air.  Definitely a rush!  I’m happy to have completed yet another adventure on the list!  Check out some photos and a video of the monster swing at the bottom of the post 🙂

Monster Swing Video: