Cabin fever

This just in from meteorologists in the Midwest: After this week, this winter will be one of the 10 coldest on record in the past 140 years. This bitter cold forecast adds insult to injury after a foot of snow and ice fell over the past week. All weekend, officials have been warning drivers to stay off the roads. “We continue to advise no driving,” is the headline this morning. “The roads are still awful.”

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This was the view above the Mississippi yesterday morning. A frozen sea of white, but at least we have a brilliant blue sky to help us get through the predicted low of -2 on this Sunday.

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The snow, heavy and relentless, made for harrowing commutes and window-high drifts. We are running out of places to put our shoveled snow. Here, we have tools like roof rakes to deal with ice dams and roof leaks from the melting and freezing.

Perhaps the most difficult part of our winter is that it’s only February. Last year we had snow in May.

IMG_0225Meanwhile, it’s comforting to know that elsewhere in the world, brilliant blue means something else. For example, on Hapuna Beach on the Big Island.

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Or, the stunning Kohala Coast of the Big Island.

Cabin fever has officially set it. This is when we find ourselves on vrbo.com, searching for a warm getaway. If someone has been lucky enough to escape the cold, this is not the welcome back you hoped for. Somewhere, under all of that, daffodils and tulips are waiting for spring.

On a Sunday morning, dreams of Hawaii get me through winter. We have Hawaiian music playing in the house. I may find some mac nuts and Hawaiian spices in the cupboard for creative cooking. Oh, and if anyone living on one of the Hawaiian Islands needs a gardener next winter, drop me a line.

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Beach bliss

South Kohala-20130304-00559It’s a common misperception that the Big Island is not the island to visit if you are looking for the quintessential Hawaiian beach experience. The picture perfect, fine, soft sand beach you would expect to see on a postcard.

Yes, the island’s landscape is filled with lava and there are many gray and black sand beaches, and even a green sand beach at the island’s southernmost point. These beaches are uniquely gorgeous and you should visit as many as possible. This could be a good lifelong goal to set.

Head north, however, and you will discover one of the world’s top rated beaches on the Kohala Coast side of the island—Hapuna Beach.

I took this photo with an antiquated cell phone camera on a whim. You could point and shoot anywhere near this gorgeous beach and your photo would turn out beautifully.

Although I am not too much of a spend-all-day-at-the-beach person, a visit to Hapuna Beach is a must when visiting the Big Island. It’s one of the most peaceful, calming places you could imagine. Give me my 50 SPF, a place in the shade, a good book and I am set.

Parking is a breeze as the beach is part of the Hapuna Beach State Recreation Area and there is no entrance fee. The entrance is on Queen Ka’ahumanu Highway (Highway 19), 2.3 miles south of Kawaihae.

This place is a gem. It’s April 10 and in the Midwest we are in the middle of a major spring snow and sleet storm. Hawaii, how I miss you.