Monday, December 1, 2014

A Lot to Be Thankful for

 Waimea Canyon

Thanksgiving marks the beginning of the holiday season; delicious food, family, and, hopefully, a time to be grateful.  This year, I have an extraordinary amount to be thankful for, and I'm taking the opportunity to soak up the gratitude.  It's so easy to lose sight of how lucky we are to be healthy. Even at nine months post operation, I find myself slipping back into taking my health and the ability to move for granted, but there are certain landmarks that give me clarity.  The day before I left for Kauai, I was able to go for a nordic ski in Smuggler's Notch in Vermont.  Smuggler's Notch is a paved hill climb through a notch in between two mountains.  This road is at a higher elevation so it's usually the first place to get snow.  It's also closed in the winter, and it's the first place snowmobilers go to ride or 'groom' the trails.  This is a beautiful spot, and it was so great to be able to sneak in a ski before going tropical.  It was also the first time I was able to ski since hip surgery in January, and I missed out on a lot of skiing last year.  Snow is one of my favorite things.  
Smuggler's Notch
Then, I flew to Kauai to meet Jojo and her family to kick off our annual Kauai adventures.  It's been especially wonderful this year because we have our own place to live and a car to drive around.  This is way easier said than done (the rental market is completely flooded here), but we found a great spot with a big wave surfer as our landlord.  It was really meant to be.  We have been really squeezing all the life out of every Kauai day that we can.  We are full into our strength training block and have been spending a lot of time at the gym.  I even discovered a hip hop dance class at the Kauai Athletic Club every week, and I LOVE hip hop dancing.  I love it.  We've been bike riding around Kapaa, cruising our usual routes and saying hello to the island.  We spent Black Friday surfing kinda choppy, small waves which I still managed to get housed on and knock the wind out of myself twice.  But, it was still so much fun to get out in the water and catch some waves in a bikini.  A sea turtle even came to say hello to me.  We've been indulging in the usual tropical fruit; star fruit, papayas, and pineapple.  It's been awesome, and I've been so excited to get back in my groove on the island and with training. 

Today was the best day on the island yet, and it really made me appreciate being on this island. Jojo and I rode up Waimea Canyon on the west side of the island.  This is a 2.5 hour, seventeen mile climb that ascends up the side of a canyon, much like the Grand Canyon of Kauai.  It is spectacular.  We were even treated to perfect, new pavement.  After that epic ride, we drove to one of the most remote beaches on the island, Polihale.  The last time we were there was two years ago when we slept on the beach under a full moon.  It was as beautiful as I remember.  Jojo became superwoman, we tried to save a couple of water soaked bees, and generally frolicked around until sunset.  On the way back home, we went to the best saimen house I've ever been to, Hamura Saimen.  It's very local and authentic.  We took today by storm, and I'm loving life.  Kauai adventures are to be continued.  

Take advantage of the ability to move and fill up your days!  Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving. 


 Waimea Canyon Overlook from the top


 I'm grateful for my Superwoman, Jojo