this was photo was taken about an hour after marcus landed on oahu and met my parents for the first time.
pali puka is a quick hike that veers off from pali lookout, taking you through a small bamboo forrest, then a steep, exposed cliffside path with sheer drop-offs, loose dirt, lots of tree roots, and a couple ropes to keep you on the trail. once you’re on the ridge, all you’ll see is oahu’s windward coast. it’s a short, dodgy trail worth the second guessing. the views of the lush valleys and mountain ranges kind of engulf you.
something i thought was worth noting: this is the same ridge where the battle of nuuanu happened - a key event in hawaiian history and king kamemeha’s wars to unify the hawaiian islands.
the trail peaks at the puka, a hole in the mountain that peers out to nuuanu valley way down below. i didn’t get too many photos of it, but unreal hawaii has a bunch of cool shots, as well as other pictures from some hikes in the islands. pali notches is another bold, way gnarlier hike directly across pali puka. i can feel those cliff drops in my throat…
shot on olympus stylus epic
pali lookout, oahu, february 2016
the north shore’s foodland holds a pretty close place in my heart. whenever i leave town and head up for a day trip to haleiwa, foodland’s a mandatory pit stop. and not just for me, but for so many other locals and non-locals on that part of the island.
for those not familiar, foodland is a supermarket chain based in hawaii, well-known for its variety of poke, among other things. even their fish section’s slogan is hawaii’s home for poke. probably google “foodland poke bowl” and you’ll see what bomb.com-ness i’m referring to…
on any given day, foodland pupukea gets a packed mix of people. you’ll see people heading to the beach, coming from the beach, on a grocery run, or on a break from a drive along the coast. and on any given day, you can guarantee most folks are dressed light. board shorts, bikinis, slippers, etc etc, and yeah, tan. also, to put things in context, i have a friend who vouches for going on tinder while in this foodland.
a typical trip to foodland for me and my buds means loading up on the classics…poke, musubis, sushi. i think it was just on this trip home that i noticed foodland’s beer selection, a fairly impressive, wide selection of craft beers, some of them local. we pick up a few bottles of things too.
so, note this. before any trip to the beach, you gotta perfect da spread. a well-rounded mix of drinks, pupus, all kine grinds to keep you busy and full while cruising in the sun.
on this day, we had wailua wheat - which for some time used to only be sold in hawaii - gigantic ume, and a lanikai IPA to go with some sushi, poke, spam and red hotdog (gotta be redondos brand, easily) musubis, and boiled peanuts. (man, boiled peanuts never fail to remind me of my childhood, walking through chinatown with my mom while she did her own grocery shopping. she’d usually pick up a couple bags for me and my dad.)
between me, marcus, and carmela, we barely killed this spread. the beer was donezo but i think we were a little ambitious with everything else. but whatever, it was cool…because on this day, we had the whole right side of the beach to us. swimming and laying out and diving into and under waves. hanging out, catching up, talking story. at one point, a couple guys came outta nowhere from the bushes near us, they started scrapping, then the cops came to break it up, but after that, it was back to normal haha. at this point, i hadn’t seen carmela in almost a year, so we were just pickin up the conversation from where we last left it. those are the kinds of friendships i miss the most.
the whole day was all no worries. on this day, it was a monday. a really good case of the mondays.
shot on olympus stylus epic
waimea bay, oahu, february 2016
we headed to hike kuliouou…of course hung over from the previous night.
the hike is only four miles long, but the trip up catches up with you quick. the area is just one ridge of a handful on the east side of the island. the first half passes through a small forrest, and the second half welcomes you to an open area. a narrow dirt path, framed loosely by ferns, moss, and young trees. crawling up a half mile further, walls of rock merge with the dirt, and a couple ropes act as a limp rail guard to take you closer to the top. it’s unmaintained fun, and practical. we reached the summit to a panoramic view of the east side of oahu. sloping, lush cliffsides. smaller, more spaced out homes, even smaller islands in the distance, and more ocean.
it’s clear, warm, and super windy up here
shot on olympus stylus epic
kuliouou rige trail, oahu, february 2016
this a product of nostalgia.
sometimes you come up with ways to (tangibly) preserve really cool memories long past, so i made a little something of film photos from some of the favorite summers of my life. it’s kind of annoying how often i think of these times, usually because these kinds of flashbacks come when i’m most uncomfortable. like when it’s cold, when work’s hard, when i’m stuck inside. (so i put this all together while the weather’s still bad out.) this is kind of a reference book.
‘the simplest pleasure’ is a compilation of photos taken on oahu between 2009 and 2016. postcard pictures of my indulgence up mountains, in waterfalls and oceans. no cares, no worries
some of these pictures were shot on the first camera i bought for myself, a cheap plastic holga that lived through rainy, muddy hikes, salt water, and lots of sand and dirt. others were shot on disposable underwater fujifilms, and the rest on a olympus stylus epic.
here’s a peek:
i have a bunch to share…get in touch if you’re interested. $10 + every copy comes with a print of some place to be
i think i’ve had eleven blogs in my lifetime so far.
the first one was a xanga, for ranting about boys in the hopes said boys would read. another one was a daily photo diary i kept for a couple years in college. (tiring and funny). a couple other ones were a blend of swipe files and blog posts. another couple were/are writing portfolios i’ve gotten lazy about updating. there was also another one dedicated solely to yolks and jokes – egg-based recipes and jokes i wrote. none of them had a crazy number of followers or made me internet famous (haha i’m good), but they ended up being really cool places to revisit after some time to see what life was like back whenever. for what it’s worth, ages 18-21 were especially interesting.
so here comes #12, and it’s current purpose is to share some of my favorite past memories, and photos/memories to come. it’s also going to become a place i share what i’m thinking, working on, or feeling inspired by lately. it’s also going to mold itself. it’ll be interesting, boring, and probably goofy. 25 has been a year of highs and lows but my favorite thing so far is picking up where i left off in documenting life and making things. you may or may not care, and that is a-okay.
i’ve learned these days, free time is so hard to come by and with that, creating becomes less of a priority. i’m making this a pocket of my universe to show my work
i carry around this handy pink moleskine whenever i travel somewhere relatively far out of the city. i brought my travel notebook and camera with me last july on a backpacking trip to lassen volcanic national park for my 25th birthday. when i got this roll developed, i realized i had enough visual and written content to give you an idea of the journey, so here’s a bit of my captain’s log.
we left san francisco on july 1 to make it up to lassen, which is about an hour outside of redding, and at this time of year, a really hot place to be. on the last stretch of road before we turned into the park, the car thermometer read 98 degrees, and we watched it slowly come down 10 degrees just as we reached our destination.
we spent that first night at the summit lake south campground near manzanita lake to get a solid night’s rest before kicking off our trip. this was my first time backpacking…i was pretty stoked but also nervous about being prepared (food, gear, etc.). luckily, i read online that lassen was super doable for people like me who’d never gone backpacking before.
july 1, 2016. 10:12 pm
summit lake south campground
i’m with marcus sitting in front of a camp fire, settling down for the night, talking about a diary entry i just found that i’d written before we started goin steady. (it’s kinda funny how things work out.) marcus and i walked around the lake after setting up camp. tonight, we had dinner by actual candlelight since we forgot our lantern and needed to save the one we bought for the trip. hah that was pretty cool.
tomorrow, we are off on our 20+ miles, 2 night trip.
july 2, 2016. 6:12 pm
marcus and i just posted up at rainbow lake on our way to snag lake. we’ve really only traveled a little over 4 miles, but the first trek uphill was a matter of getting used to all the weight on our backs. i quickly realized the avocados, hard boiled eggs, and apples were basically rocks in my backpack…but fuck sometimes you just wanna eat clean on these kinds of trips. im just glad i wasnt holding the whiskey
anyway, we just got back from swimming in the lake. that was by far the most fun part of the day. we bought some floaties at target a few nights ago and made space in the pack. i think this is the first time i’ve ever swam in a lake. love you cali….
snag lake was our original destination, but that would’ve been a little too far for where we are now. we decided to post up so we’d have some time and sunlight to set up camp and swim. tomorrow, snag lake. our tent is posted up directly in front of the lake. this is beautiful and insane to me!
july 3, 2016 - morning.
i woke up to the view of rainbow lake that i fell asleep to. i didn’t fall asleep for a few hours since marcus started freaking out while the sun set – scared we were gonna get eaten by bears or attacked by raccoons. instead, a few rangers gave us a warning for setting up camp too close to the water. haha! i’m glad we made it through the night. today is my birthday.
our tent was (again) set up on a hill, so marcus and i kept rolling left and right, and instead of sliding up and down as we did last night. tonight we’ll get it right – or just find a flat spot. my phone’s dead so i’m not sure what time it is.
today, our trek takes us through snag lake - a couple miles from here. where we’ve set up camp, there are dozens of dragonflies, flies, mosquitos, and other flying bugs. it was kind of gnarly the other day seeing a bunch of dragonflies, all hovering around the same area of water. right now, there are a few bees and flies traveling all around, getting their morning catch. they sound like mini airplanes – buzz.
the sun is slowly making its way across the lake but it probably won’t be a few hours until it hits our camp. bees and birds and all that stuff in the distance, i can hear them. there are also a few other camps set up a little far out. it’s really cool to be immersed in all this.
earlier i was thinking about how bummed i used to get about how i was surfing as much as i used to, and i started getting very nostalgic for those summers in college. but luckily, i’ve found an adventure buddy. this summer has been great so far
a recap: after packing up at rainbow lake, we decided to head to cinder cone, about 3 miles away, and end the night at snag lake. after we passed through fields of burnt trees, we entered an area of pure lava rock grounds.
with our packs, the climb up to cinder cone (only about .6 mile) was one of the toughest climbs yet! the sun was beaming from above and the ground beneath us was mostly loose rock – kinda like walking uphill in sand.
when we finally got to the top, we bumped into a few people who decided to take their packs off before going up cinder cone. smart. we also ran into crowds from the butte lake campground nearby. i remember coming downhill and seeing lots of people headed uphill with a lonely, already empty plastic bottle of water. it must have been at least 90 degrees.
this area near cinder cone is called the “fantastic lava beds”. it was like something out of a movie. mad max or planet of the apes.
we hiked another 3 miles to snag lake, where we set up our next camp. marcus and i swam for a bit, took out our floaties again and then made some dinner. he taught me how to skip rocks…i’ve never done it before. this place is quiet, serene, and i get a high feeling so small. we are 2 of 4 people at this site - a whole lot of land around this lake - and its a little scary but also hard to wrap my head around.
today marcus and i realized this is the longest amount of time we’ve spent alone together. we’re getting quieter and quieter but i honestly don’t mind the silence sometimes. we’re posted up a bit further from water, on flat ground in the trees. there’s a couple to the left of us – feels a little more secure having someone else nearby. off to rest now. long day tomorrow.
july 4, 2016. 10:43 pm
parking lot, summit lake south
finally home after an early morning, and a full day of hiking through lassen in the final stretch to summit lake. got up around 6 this morning and packed up camp, had some breakfast then we hit the path. as mad as i was with marcus for making us hike 3 miles into snag lake yesterday, where the road split to rainbow/horseshoe, i’m so glad we were able to shave off that distance for this AM. we beat the sun, so the first few miles weren’t too gnarly.
we got through about 2 miles before 9 am, and ended up at rainbow lake. hitting lower and upper twin lake (1.5-2 miles) took no time, then getting to echo lake (another 2.6 miles) was challenging, though that was way easier than doing cinder cone yesterday with our packs on. hiking from echo lake back to summit/the ranger station felt the sweetest. i’ll always remember the feeling of my feet marching on the wooden board path that crossed over some creek, and then on pavement. my feet and body have never felt so thankful for pavement. it was also satisfying to know a bowl of pho was gonna be waiting for us in the sunset (many hours later). the things you crave after a long day…
we got to the car around 11 and cruised for a few minutes. it took some time to get used to not having that much weight on our legs. the first thing i did was open up the cooler in the trunk, grab the salsa, and bust out the tostadas. after that, we drove over to the manzanita lake campground and showered off the grime.
it’s crazy being back to this reality, especially since i’m going to work tomorrow but now i feel recharged to get closer to the weekend. life’s cool! giants game friday, bonfire saturday. im so stoked, and ready to sleep in my own bed.
for reference, here is the amazing guide i used to plan this trip
if you’ve ever applied for a raffle ticket to hike half dome in the summertime, you understand how it’s practically impossible (at least now) to do so. i applied not once, but three times, and got turned away all the way up to the night before the hike. at that point, we (me, marcus, and cody) had already driven a handful of hours to yosemite, and were already posted up in a cabin near the valley, ready to go somewhere.
plan a: half dome. plan b: cloud’s rest.
at 11:30 the night before, i received the third and last rejection email. so we went to bed, woke up the next day at 5 am, and drove two hours to the cloud’s rest trailhead near tenaya lake.
cloud’s rest is one of the gnarliest hikes i’ve ever done, primarily because of the varied, unpredictable terrain and altitude. 14 miles roundtrip, ~10,000 feet in elevation, bushwhacking and trekking through water, snow, trees, dirt, and marsh.
at 7:30 am and 30 feet into the start of our hike, we had to wade through cold, cold tenaya lake to continue on our trail. okay….coolio.
it was thigh high for me, knee deep for the guys. we hopped on a makeshift stone path someone carefully laid out once the lake was dried up, kinda like a video game.
despite being surrounded by snow and sleet, we were pretty warmed up in the 60, 70° light.
during the first ascent, we managed to lose site of our trail and hiked up an untouched, snowy side of the mountain, walking across snow banks and fallen logs. what looked sturdy on the surface, was hollow or just about to break beneath. cody fell through a few boulders while crossing on a questionable log and cut up his leg pretty bad. a few minutes later, he fell through a snow bank.
getting to the top was surreal. mountain ranges as far as my eyes could see. snow capped hills, trees, and countless tiny trails in the distance. this was it!!
here we were, at cloud’s rest summit, staring out at half dome. arguably, i’ll say it was the better view. ;) we ran into a handful of people at the top. fellow half dome rejects + fucking crazies like us…but nothing in comparison to another breed of runner we met who was running peak to peak. the mountain that took us a few hours to scale took him maybe one (or less). we met him again later…us walking briskly, making our way back, him running more, like a maniac.
i’ve been on many hikes that have ended with sandwiches, but none compare to the sandwich i ate up here. partly because by the time i got to the top, i was ready to eat five of these. simply: a couple of turkey slices smothered between two slices of now soggy wheat bread, very wet spinach, and a generous dollop of yellow mustard. i brought a tomato, avocado, and a knife to slice the two at the top (can’t afford to smush those, too), and some banana peppers for a kick because i’m a brat hahah
on the way back down, we needed to refill our packs, so we found a lake and brought out the water filter. it was the first time i tasted glacier water – pure, delicious, mountain liquid. i’ve never knew granite could taste so damn good. the melting snow caps offered a rushing river down each peak, so i got as much as i could to quench my thirst then and much, much later. i wouldn’t end up drinking the rest of my water pack for another few months after this trip. still very good.
further and further down, we sped through what we spent a while navigating through. at one point, we were blazing down the snowy mountains, feeling high on reaching the summit, knowing we’d eventually make our way back to home base.
the sun started peaking out and it was barely 2 pm when we made it back to the trailhead, where i forgot about/happily agreed to drive the two hours back to the cabin. we all came out with these funny tans…kinda like battle scars from a day that’s pleasantly burned in my brain