Hawaii Top 10 List (As Promised):
1. Surfing lessons----> We woke early Tuesday morning (our 2nd morning in Maui) and had Anderson's parents take us to the surf shop for our group lesson. After signing in we immediately were outfitted with water shoes and rub gear (rub gear is just the cool way of describing a water/swim shirt and board shorts). After a quick snapshot next to a surfboard (which we could have purchased for a reasonable $10) we were ready! Our instructors, two young surfers with a decent summer job, first demonstrated (on land) how to paddle and where to lay and position yourself on the board. We also learned the theroy behind standing up. Once in the water, Liz was frightened by the fact that she would have to go under water without plugging her nose. It may have hindered her performance, except that the water never seemed too deep and the falls all happened in slow motion. The waves were a decent 4 feet in size (big for a beginner) and the water as salty as ever. Liz managed to get up on the first try and rode the wave ALL the way to shore; she paid for it by eating rocks and a surfboard. Anderson was a bit more graceful in the overall sport and rode a good 6 waves in just over a hour. Liz also rode a few more good ones before our muscles gave way and the lesson was over. We had the boards for a few more hours but we were so exhausted that we didn't get back in that day. In was a great feeling to be riding the wave that you waited so long for.
2. Golfing at Wailea-----> All the Muth men able to awake early enough (sorry Sterling) played the beautiful Wailea Gold Course on Maui. Anderson, Cousin Geoff, Aaron, Uncle Greg, and Randy (a groomsman) played while Dudley & Rodney drove carts. Randy was the big winner of the modified-skins game that we played, but everyone played well, and with the georgeous views it was impossible not to have fun. Anderson managed (a miracle amongst miracles) to win 2 holes, even shooting par on one hole. Not bad for a 10-year-layoff from the sport!
3. Honolulu Zoo-----> Our final day in O'ahu we spent at the Honolulu Zoo. It was within two blocks from our hotel and, after a breif delay due to a downpour, we leisurely walked there. The zoo houses over 1,000 animals and we saw most of them. At both the elephant pen and the chimpanzee cage our timing was such that we saw snacktime with the zookeepers. After the snack, the zookeepers discuss the animals and answer questions. Muy informativa! After 4 hours of walking and viewing, Liz and Marcia were ready to move on to dinner.
4. Beaches as far as one can drive------> Obviously, there are beaches everywhere (hint: they're islands) but the color of the water, the temperature of the water, and all the tiny islands off the coast are a constant picture of beauty. It is almost warming to the soul to look out at the ocean while driving (or walking) the shore. Each beach and side of the islands have their differences and they are often quite noticeable; Large, crashing waves and a rocky shore in one spot and a sandy, prestine beach in another make the ocean never seem dull.
5. Plenty of Muths-----> For the first time during adulthood every Muth cousin was in the same place at the same time, which resulted in much catching-up as well as partying and general fun-having. We represented Iowa, Sterling & Reannon New York, Marion & Geoff California, and Aaron (obviously) Hawaii. No wonder we don't all hang out very often...
6. Biking 10,000 ft. down Mt. Haleakala-----> This excursion was a true adventure. It started with a 2:30 a.m.! pick-up time in front of our hotel the morning after the Old Lahina Luau (which the whole Muth family attended...oh...and there was an open bar). From the hotel we pit stopped at the bike garage to watch a 10 minute saftey video and meet our leader, Uncle Russ. Uncle Russ was rearing to go but we all wanted to sleep during the two hour ride to the 10,000 ft. crater of the dormant Haleakala. We selected the sunrise ride so we were at the top with our camera by 5:30. We instantly put on our full windsuit as the temp. was below 50 degrees with a high wind chill. It was cold, to say the least, but the windsuits made it tolerable to stand out in. The sunrise was awesome and a true reward for our ungodly wake up time. After a brief measurement and ride around the lot, the train of 12 was ready to go. The beginning of the ride was the most exilerating. We reached speeds of 30 mph and it was lightly raining when we rode through the clouds. All one could hear was the sound of their own breathing and the bike wheels spinning on the wet pavement. After the clouds, we rode through the cool showers for another 5ish miles. We rode through an open range and the cows were pretty funny (we learned that later that day someone hit a cow). After the rain we saw a rainbow, which took our breath away.
7. Snorkeling at Hanauma Bay-----> We saw over 50 species of fish, in clear, comfortable water, without ever having to venture more than 100 feet into the ocean, at what is regarded as O'ahu's premiere snorkeling location. We arrived before 7, so we got in for free, and were able to take advantage of some prime snorkeling before the crowds (and then the cloudy water) arrived. In between rounds of snorkeling we got some nice tanning and reading in.
8. Hotel view of Waikiki Beach-----> While we weren't able to surf it too successfully at all, we did have a great view of most of Waikiki from our 24th-floor hotel room. Regarded as one of the world's premiere beaches, Waikiki didn't disappoint, as it was constantly sunny, and constantly packed with surfers, swimmers, sun-tanners, and general beach-goers.
9. Absolutely perfect weather-----> When it rains in Hawaii, it does for 5 minutes, simply to cool everyone off. Then it's back to being perfectly sunny, with less humidity than Iowa. So while most people were suffering, we thought it was a great change of pace from Iowa's 99% humidity!
10. Aaron & Jackie's wedding-----> Obviously the primary reason we were even in Hawaii, the rehearsal dinner, ceremony, and reception were all lovely. The rehearsal and ceremony were both held right next to the ocean, and the reception at Stella Blues was fabulous, with tons of good food and delicious drinks, as well as some fun slide shows and a late, Muth-dominated dance. Congratulations are definitely due to Aaron & Jackie, as well everyone who helped make their day so spectacular!
We're currently still in Denver (our apologies Chris & Katie), because we decided to spend one last real day with Anderson's parents, but we'll be leaving Colorado early tomorrow morning, see Dan & Brya in Boulder for brunch, and then arrive in Laramie, WY to spend the remainder of the weekend with C & K.