Manoa Falls: Birding for the Win!

After my successful hike to Diamond Head, I was totally ready to tackle the Manoa Falls hike. It sounded do-able, but the trail was way harder than I expected.

Ready to go!

It all started out just fine. I had brought my trusty hiking poles, and was enjoying the tropical rainforest around us. We heard many birds but didn’t see any yet.

Tropical rainforest

The scenery reminded me of the tree walk in Singapore, which I attempted and couldn’t do, so that should have forewarned me 🙂


For now I was still optimistic about my capabilities and enjoying the hike, expecting to reach the water fall at the end.

We met some other hikers who told us that some of the scenes in Jurassic Park were filmed here. Very cool! The trail was getting harder though, but I was in no way or shape ready to give up.

Until I was. My energy and my walking ability was rapidly decreasing and I started questioning people who were on the way down. Hoping for a ‘sure, you’re almost there!’ but instead getting mostly ‘it’s getting steeper and harder and you’re not even halfway and there be dragons!’

Darn! I was so convinced I would make it up. But MS reality convinced me otherwise. Convinced me that it’s not about the destination but about the journey. That not even trying would be the real failure. But still, darn!

At least there were big trees.

Deep breath, Carpe Diem, and admit that reality not always matches with ability. So I told Tom he should go up to the waterfall, while I slowly started making my way down.

Manoa Falls! Not the Niagara Falls, but would have liked to see them.

I took my time. Waiting for my body to catch up with my desires. Waiting for no spectators to be around when I got down stairs sitting down, because I ‘knew’ people would think I was weird. And a loser. Which might be true, but I didn’t want ‘people’ to know 🙂

Red-whiskered Bulbul. Just who I needed.

After a while I made it to a more open part of the trail where I decided to switch from hiking and beating myself up to bird watching. I sat, I meditated, I was, I observed, I became a living breathing part of the tropical rainforest. My frustrations melted away to nothingness, and instead I became a bird watcher, a nature observer, a go-with-the-flow person.

Common Waxbill.

I rested, relaxed, took pictures, and relished the reality of being in the rain forest. In Hawaii! How much better can life get?

Another bulbul?

Tom came back down and confirmed that I had made the right decision. The hike was hard and slippery, even for him. We watched birds together for a bit and then made our way back down.

No idea what this is, but they are pretty.

We called an Uber, even although Tom’s phone ran out of battery immediately after calling it, but everything worked out anyway. It was a good hike, even if much harder than expected. I am glad we did it and that I got to watch many birds 🙂


And I might or might not have another MS challenge to beat one day. Or not 🙂

First Travel with MS

Technically I have been traveling with MS for many years, just had no clue I had it. Yesterday was the first time I had to manage travel in my new MS reality.

Insulated kit to carry copaxone medication

I had contacted Shared Solutions for a travel kit for my Copaxone, so I felt confident about that. But I hit a snatch when I found out my hiking poles didn’t fit in my suitcase. Oops. Desperate web surfing disclosed that I might be able to get them through TSA if they were needed for mobility aides. I decided to go for that, but still was worried.

We started out trying to get an Uber or a cab from our home, and found out yet again that we live in the sticks. Eventually we did find an Uber, but then found out that he couldn’t make it up our icy driveway. Twice. Which means we had to slide and slither down our driveway. Not fun .

We arrived at the airport and I held my breath while going through the TSA checkpoint. I took my Copaxone kit out and said this is medication. The TSA guy asked whether it had any needles. Yup. He opened it, looked at it, closed it again and that was it. The other two TSA checkpoints this trip so far no one opened anything, they just accepted my medication explanation.

The hiking poles were no problem at all, they had to go through x-ray but no one gave me a hard time about them. Phew.

Carpe Diem, even with meds!

Today I gave myself a copaxone injection in Los Angeles in our hotel. Maybe I should keep track of all the locations where I used my Copaxone, just to show that MS does not need to limit travel opportunities 🙂

The flights to Hawai’i were long, more than six hours yesterday, more than six hours today. But we finally are in our hotel, and I am happy that we arrived and will be ready to explore tomorrow. My goal this vacation is learning to surf, since I have so many balance issues. I will either succeed and help my balance or fail gloriously and have great stories to tell.

When we arrived at Honolulu airport and I was all tired and cranky and we had to hike 5,000 miles to the Uber pickup spot, I saw a majestic egret fly over. Welcoming us to her island with her aloha. Telling me ‘you are ok’ . And I felt calm and reassured .

Later we saw sparrows, rock pigeons and birds I still have to identify. Looking forward to getting to know the local bird species. But first I will sleep. I can already tell that I will feel the five hours time difference.

Very Early Robins!

robins way early in new Hampshire!

Last Sunday (Feb 4th!) I was driving home from my caregiving job when magic happened. I saw birds, a whole group of them. And as always I tried to identify who they were.

The mystery soon was solved when one of them was a very clear robin and I realized that this whole group must be robins.


Never seen robins here in New Hampshire that early. It makes me wonder whether they ever left.

Meanwhile I am happy that spring must be on its way if robins are already here.

Cardinals Are Back!

Today was a dreary and wintery day which suddenly got brightened when three cardinals appeared! I don’t remember whether we usually see them in the middle of winter, but am happy to report that they are here this winter, eating our bird seeds. I love how brightly coloured they are.