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PostPosted: Thu Jan 04, 2007 6:32 pm 
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(Note: Click on the thumbnails for full-size pictures. Most of the pics were taken with poor disposable cameras, so I apologize for the quality.)

Many of you know that my sweetie, Beth, and I recently returned from almost two weeks on Kauai. Kauai is known as "the Garden Island" because it is so lush and green. It is the oldest of the Hawaiian islands. It has both the wettest spot on earth (Mt. Wai'ale'ale, which averages over 460 inches of rain a year) and one of the driest (Polihale State Park, which gets a mere 8 inches a rain per year). It is full of contrasts, from Waimea Canyon (the Grand Canyon of Hawaii) and the Alkalai Swamp to the famous Na Pali coastline in the north. One of our few complaints is that we simply had to do a lot of driving, because there is so many beautiful places to see.

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We flew in on December 20, arriving in the evening. We stayed in the town of Kalaheo, in the south of the island, in quaint little cottage.

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One of the first thing we noticed when we got there was two cute goats in the backyard.

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We fed Billy (pictured) and his momma-goat Honey-girl, all of the Pineapple rinds, banana peels and other leftovers the whole time we were there. They were very cute.

The first full day we were there we spent shopping. Woohoo! But Beth had to finish her Christmas shopping, so first things were first.

The next morning we had breakfast at Gaylord's restaurant, on the Kilohana plantation. It was a good buffet breakfast, complete with a Hawaiian troubadour, but we were disappointed to find that the special discount coupons that had been advertised were no longer available there, and that we would have had to go across town to the Hilton to get them. False advertising! Oh well. We got to do a fun Clydesdale carriage ride around the plantation, so that was cool.

We then drove around to the north side of the island for the first time, and did a short (3 mile) fairly steep hike on part of what is called the powerline trail. We didn't have a working camera then, though.

We then drove back to the Kilauea Point Wildlife Sanctuary, where we were treated to an incredible show by the Humpback Whales, who started breaching and headslapping like crazy and soon as we got there. One volunteer told us that it was the most whale action he has seen there in the seven years that he has been volunteering. Unfortunately we don't have any pictures, but it was a real highlight of our trip.

We then reversed course again and drove out the end of the road at Ke'e Beach, at the beginning of the famous Na Pali coast (under the peaks of Bali Hai, featured in the movie South Pacific, for a mellow sunset.

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We were going to go back to the cottage and make some pasta, but we knew it was going to be late by the time we drove back around the island, so we ended up stopping at the Dolphin restaurant in Hanalei, and I'm glad we did. The best scallops that I have ever had, bar none. Yum.

The next morning we drove out the Salt Pond State Park. Since Beth works with salt ponds here in California, she wanted to see what the Hawaiian version looked like. We also went down to beach and did some snorkeling. There wasn't much there, but at least we got our feet wet.

Then we drove up into Waimea Canyon to hike the Pihea Trail down in the Alakai Swamp, home the largest native bird population in Hawaii. We got to hear lots of birds, but we didn't actually see all that many. Still it was a beautiful hike, though it was extended from about five miles to about seven because the road to the trailhead was closed, adding an extra mile each way. We didn't get any good pictures of the swamp, but we did have one nice view from the top of the trail.

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We didn't make down the hill in time for the sunset (too much time looking for the birds), but we did get to go to an unusual Christmas parade in the town of Waimea, that consisted of dozens of big rigs emblazoned in Christmas lights and other decorations. Very bizarre.

The next day we made sure to get the snorkeling right, going to Poipu Beach in the south, which is the finest snorkeling spot on the island (and the most crowded). When we got there an endangered Monk Seal was crashed out on the beach, roped off by the trusty lifeguard. We saw tons of beautiful fish, and only swallowed a minimal amount of salt water. We also made our first of several visits to the nearby Spouting Horn State Park. The "Spouting Horn" blowhole shoots a large plume of sea water into the air with each incoming wave.

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After a long walk on the beach, we went back to Salt Pond State Park to watch the sunset.

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The next day we mostly took it easy. We did a little more snorkeling at Poipu (and saw another monk seal) and took short walk on the beach. We then took advantage of a two for one coupon for a hot stone massage. Aaaahhhhh!!!!11

The following day was Christmas, which was one of the few days that we had a planned event (a river ride on the Wailua River, followed by a Luau at Smith's Garden Paradise. Driving over to the east side, we stopped by at Wailua Falls, which was the falls used in Fantasy Island (Boss, de plane! de plane!).

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Since we had a few hours before the river ride, we decided to take a hike on the Kuilau Ridge Trail, one of the beautiful mountain trails on the east side. Here is a couple of the views we had.

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For some more, go here

Unfortunately, we don't have any pictures from either the river ride, or the luau, but both were great. The captain of the riverboat was a font of information about the history of the people who lived by the Wailua River, as well as the main movies that were filmed there (including Raiders of the Lost Ark). There was also Hawaiian music and hula dancing (they have got us to join in). Unfortunately, the "Fern Grotto" that we were looking forward to seeing was closed because of flood damage, so that is something that we continue to look forward to.

Then the Luau started out with a tram ride through the beautiful gardens (one highlight was a tiny baby goat). Then there was an "Imu Ceremony" in which the pig that was cooked all day in the earthen imu oven was removed and given thanks for. After cocktails and dinner (the Mahi Mahi was particularly delicious, as was the fresh fruit), there was a fantastic performance of music and dance from both Hawaii and other places that have influenced Hawaii, including Tahiti, New Zealand, Samoa, the Phillipines, China and Japan. Really fantastic stuff. Mele Kalikimaka!

The following day was the day that we decided to hike the Na Pali coast. When we went to Kauai 8 years ago we tried to do this trail, but it was so muddy and dangerous that we turned back after less then a mile. We were determined to do it this time. We wanted to hike out to Hanakapiai Falls, which is supposed to be an 8 and a half mile, very strenuous hike with many severe ups and downs, and some gnarly stream crossings, beginning from Ke'e Beach. When we got there, we found all the parking taken, and had to park a half mile down the road (adding another mile to our hike).

Here we are about a mile up the first part of the hike.

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That first part of the hike was one of the crowdedest hiking experiences that I have ever had, outside of Yosemite Falls. What a zoo! But finally after going up and down some slick, steep trails, we made it to Hanakapiai Beach, where we ate our lunch (lightening the load of my pack significantly, thank God).

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From this point, only the braver people set out to go the rest of the way to the falls. The trail is not well marked in some places, and some of the stream crossings are very difficult. We made a few diversions on the way and had to retrace out steps. In the back of my mind I was also thinking of the long, very steep uphill that I was going to have to from the beach. I'm not in the same kind of shape that I was 20 years ago! I was already getting tired, but I was determined to make it to those falls. One couple that we met on the way actually turned back less then a half mile from the end (of course that last half mile was pretty treacherous), but we made it.

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We didn't have a lot of time to hang out at the falls if we were going to get back before it got back, but we did take off our clothes and take a dip in the pool beneath them (sorry, no pictures of that ;)). It was very cold, but it felt great.

Hiking back, I must say, was a bit of a struggle. I slipped on one of the gnarly stream crossings and got my boots soaked, which made them much heavier. But I persevered, as I had to. When we reached the top of the long, steep uphill from the beach, we were rewarded with some nice views of the coast.

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But you can see those threatening rain clouds. The last downhill back to Ke'e Beach one have been very dangerous had it started to rain in earnest. Fortunately, we got no more then a light mist at that point. and were rewarded with this:

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We made it back down just as it was starting to really rain. We still got a nice sunset, though, even though we got soaked.

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This hike was probably more then I should have done, but I was determined not disappoint Beth. I was pretty exhausted, I must say, but what a great day.

For the rest of the pictures from the hike, go here

The next day, we mostly took it easy :sunny: We did drive out an isolated beach with our drums and played for a while while watching the ocean. That was fun! And we took advantage of another 2 for 1 coupon for a much needed Hawaiian Lomi Lomi massage. Aaaahhhhh!!!!!11

The next day, we did some more snorkeling at Poipu. In addition to more beautiful fish, we both saw and eel, and Beth got to see a Sea Turtle in the water! Then we drove back out to Waimea Canyon. We were going to do a fairly light six mile hike, but a couple of diversions increased to about 9 miles. But even though there were a couple of fairly steep uphills, it seemed like nothing after the Na Pali hike. We didn't really get much in the way of good pictures, though we did hike down to a nice little waterfall.

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For the rest of the pictures from that hike, go here

This time we did make it down the hill in time to watch the sunset, from Kekaha beach on the west side.

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The next day, Friday, was the other day that we had a "planned event". We were going horseback riding! I had not been on a horse for over 30 years, so I was a bit apprehensive about it, but also looking forward to it. Originally we had arranged it for Wednesday, but the long term forecast for that day was calling for rain so we changed to to Friday. Of course, then the forecast changed, Wednesday was beautiful, and they were calling for rain on Friday. Still, we were going to do it, rain or shine.

On our way back up to the North Shore, we stopped off for a nice walk on the beach at Moloaa Bay.

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The ride turned out great. It rained the morning before our ride, and in the afternoon afterwards, but it was dry during our "ocean bluff ride". And it was cooler then it had been too, which was nice wearing long pants and all. I had a very even-tempered horse named Tom who treated me very well, and we had a lovely guide from the Czech republic named Lucy. I really began to understand we people think that riding horses can be so special (and yes, before anyone asks, I did think about my friend Anthy when I got on the horse).

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For the rest of the pictures from our ride, go here

After our ride, we went back the Kilauea Point Wildlife Sanctuary. We didn't see any whales this time, but we did see a turtle in the water. And lots of birds, including this family of Nene, the endangered Hawaiian goose which is the state bird.

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For more pictures, go here (Let me know if anyone got spot the turtles)

Then we drove back down the south side to watch the sunset at Spouting Horn. Despite the rain on the North Side, it was beautiful down there.

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For more pics, go here

The next day we took it easy again. We did go on a guided stroll through the National Tropical Botanical Gardens Allerton Gardens, which was very cool. We learned a lot about the native (and not so native) plants of the island, and some more about the movies that were filmed there.

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For the rest of the pics, go here (The tree with the big roots, which is fig tree, was used in Jurassic Park, and we also learned that the storm scene was not CGI but was actually filmed during Hurricane Inniki on 9/11/92)

The gardens are right across the street from Spouting Horn, so we went back there for the sunset, since I wanted to try to get a picture of the sunset through a spout.

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For the rest of the pics, go here

The next day was our last day, so we decided to do one last snorkle trip. When we got to Poipu, we found to our surprise then instead of a monk seal being on the beach, there was a sea turtle!

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When we our the beach we were talking to a woman who was saying that she saw another turtle in the water. We went in around where she pointed. After a couple of minutes of the usual rainbow of fish, Beth tapped me on the shoulder and pointed, and I turned around. OH. MY. GOD. It was not a turtle. It was a monk seal, not ten feet away from me! What an incredible experience! After a little while, it became clear that he was heading for shore, so I got out to go get the camera, to see if we could get a picture of him emerging from the water. Alas, the car was too far away, and he was already out on the beach by the time we got back. I did get a couple of nice shots of him, though.

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For the rest of the pics of the turtle and the seal, go here

Then we decided to drive back out to Waimea Canyon, since we hadn't really gotten any good shots of the canyon. It's hard to take good pictures of the canyon without a wide angle lens (which we don't have), but here are a couple of decent views.

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For the rest of the canyon pics, go here

Then, since we had never made it on this trip to Polihale State Park, the beautiful, isolated beach on the far west side, we decided to drive out there, despite the long, poorly graded dirt road. We found when we got out there, though, that it was a popular New Years Even hangout. So instead staying for the sunset, we took a couple of pics and left.

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For a couple more pics, go here (It's interesting that this is just a few miles from the Na Pali coast, but you actually have to drive all the way around the island to get there, because there is no road that goes through the cliffs)

Finally, we drove back to Kehaha Beach for one final sunset.

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And for more pics, go here

The next day, we were back on the plane and on our way home. There is so much that I did not talk about, but this probably still the longest post I have ever made. I wonder if anyone actually followed it all the way to the end?

We had a wonderful time.

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Last edited by Voronwë the Faithful on Mon Jan 08, 2007 9:01 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 04, 2007 7:13 pm 
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I read it! :love:

What a wonderful trip. I'm so glad you made it all the way to the waterfall—that hike sounds fierce!

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 04, 2007 7:18 pm 
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I almost wrote "I wonder if anyone other then Prim will make it all the way to the end."

:hug:

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 04, 2007 7:22 pm 
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Um. Wow. :D


What a gorgeous place. Thanks for sharing those pictures, Voronwë....


*adds this to the must see list*



ttbk

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 04, 2007 8:16 pm 
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wow. wow. wow. Sounds so heavenly
And I read it too. :D Though I might have skipped a few sentences in between... :oops:

So you stayed in that cottage all the time and drove to various places, right? Sounds cool, should be more reasonable than a hotel, too. How do you find out about such places??

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 04, 2007 8:44 pm 
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Well, I read it all, too, but I regret it, because obviously I wasn't expected to. :roll:


Very nicely done with all the pics in between. Sounds like you had so many activities you could've filled three weeks with them. And a lot of exercise! :D
(Was that 9 miles each way for the waterfalls? :shock: )

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 04, 2007 8:48 pm 
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Nice! It sounds a lot like what we did at Barbados, only better. :) Isn't staying in a house great? I loved that about our vacation, having a temporary "home" to come back to each day. Were the goats tied out in the back yard, or fenced in? It looks like you had a lovely time.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 04, 2007 9:03 pm 
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What a lovely post, Voronwë!!!

I printed out the picture of you and Beth on the trail and now it's up on the wall with Anthy and her family, and the pics from SF and a few others (Jude with Sam and Anna). Quite the rogue's gallery I'm getting ..... :D

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 04, 2007 9:28 pm 
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TheTennisBallKid wrote:
*adds this to the must see list*


:suspicious:

I saw that!

V, sounds like a great trip. I looked at every picture... no need to apologize for the quality! They were great!

And I also read the whole thing. :P

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 04, 2007 9:42 pm 
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I mostly just checked out the pics with that have that one hippie looking dude and that gal that seems to always be hanging about him.



8)

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 04, 2007 10:13 pm 
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I'm glad ya'll enjoyed it (and that I got the stamp of approval of our resident photographers :)).

Quote:
So you stayed in that cottage all the time and drove to various places, right? Sounds cool, should be more reasonable than a hotel, too. How do you find out about such places??


Yup, that's what we did. It wasn't cheap, but it wasn't any more then a good hotel would have been. And we saved quite a bit of money because we had a kitchen. We had breakfast at home every day but one, made sandwhiches for lunch, and cooked dinner at home about half the time.

Beth found it online.

hobby wrote:
Was that 9 miles each way for the waterfalls?


:shock: I would be dead.

Maria wrote:
Were the goats tied out in the back yard, or fenced in? It looks like you had a lovely time.


The goats were fenced in, with a good amount of space to wander around it and graze. I would not have been happy if they were tied up.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 05, 2007 1:52 am 
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What I have seen of your pictures looks great so far. I still have more to see.

BTW One of your links is bad. The thumbnail of you two on horses goes to the same picture as the thumbnail above.

-----------------

My younger brother and his wife went to the island before they had kids.

They want to retire there.

A frend of their's who used to live in the apartment below them (but who has since moved to San Francisco) owns a very small piece of land there, like 1/8th acre or something, in an area that was coverd by a lava flow, but is now clear land. (And he actually owns it fee-simple, not lease-hold like most of the land on the islands.)

He has built anything on his land yet except for a small structure, not a complete house, but maybe more like an garage or large shed. He let them stay there while they were at the island (since they were going on the cheap) and this was a way to avoid hotel bills.

He also has a friend who house sits--a rather flamboyant "queen", who shared the quarters with them during the trip.
--------------

Sounds like you had a great time!

BrianIs :) AtYou

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 05, 2007 2:47 am 
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Quote:
BTW One of your links is bad. The thumbnail of you two on horses goes to the same picture as the thumbnail above.


Thanks, Brian. It's fixed now. If anyone else spots any problems, please let me know.

I can definitely understand wanting to retire there.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 05, 2007 3:34 am 
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Voronwë_the_Faithful wrote:
Quote:
So you stayed in that cottage all the time and drove to various places, right? Sounds cool, should be more reasonable than a hotel, too. How do you find out about such places??


Yup, that's what we did. It wasn't cheap, but it wasn't any more then a good hotel would have been. And we saved quite a bit of money because we had a kitchen. We had breakfast at home every day but one, made sandwhiches for lunch, and cooked dinner at home about half the time.

Beth found it online.


GREAT. Eating out costs do add up.... and its nice to stay in a house as opposed to one small hotel room. :)

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 05, 2007 9:51 pm 
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I definitely want to visit Hawaii some day. 8)

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 05, 2007 10:31 pm 
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yeah, me too. And South Africa and NZ.

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'You just said "your getting shorter": you've obviously been drinking too much ent-draught and not enough Prim's.' - Jude (as Merry)


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 05, 2007 11:42 pm 
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Voronwë_the_Faithful wrote:

hobby wrote:
Was that 9 miles each way for the waterfalls?


:shock: I would be dead.



That's why I went :shock: , too.
9 miles in difficult terrain is a lot! (In fact, I think 9 miles is a lot in each sort of terrain. I'm not the fittest of hobbits. :blackeye: )

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 06, 2007 3:36 pm 
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I read it all, too. :halo:

My first thought is: I am SOOO calling you and Beth whenever the Anthrettes go on vacation! You guys are GREAT planners... you really did so many absolutely wonderful things, and the home you stayed in was perfect.

We had tentatively planned to go to Hawaii in 2006, and then 2006 took a lot of unexpected turns for us. We will go, though! And I am NOT kidding when I say I am going to bug you guys for help whenever we start trying to make plans. I want to do JUST what you did (including the whale show and swimming with the seal :)).

Well, except perhaps we can plan a SEMI-marathon hike or two for the Anthrettes. You guys must be far more fit than we are. :shock:

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 06, 2007 5:00 pm 
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truehobbit wrote:
I'm not the fittest of hobbits.


Well, you certainly look fit. :love:

Anthriel wrote:
And I am NOT kidding when I say I am going to bug you guys for help whenever we start trying to make plans.


Anth, please do! But don't be offended if I have you talk to Beth. She is the real planner of the family.

Quote:
You guys must be far more fit than we are


That may be true about Beth. As for me, I'm just too stubborn to admit when something is more then I can handle. :blackeye:

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Voronwë_the_Faithful wrote:

Anthriel wrote:
And I am NOT kidding when I say I am going to bug you guys for help whenever we start trying to make plans.


Anth, please do! But don't be offended if I have you talk to Beth. She is the real planner of the family.


Offended? I would LOVE to talk to Beth! I talked to her for 1.2 minutes at Teremia's and thought: what a cool girl. :) I'd like another chance!

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Quote:
You guys must be far more fit than we are


That may be true about Beth. As for me, I'm just too stubborn to admit when something is more then I can handle. :blackeye:


Ah. A kindred soul. ;)

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"A cage," Éowyn said. "To stay behind bars, until use and old age accept them, and all chance of doing great deeds is gone beyond recall or desire.”
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