Sunday, June 2, 2013

Saturday Samoan Family Adventure

Woke up, relaxed in my bed for a while, and enjoyed an orange and an apple for breakfast. Planned adventure for my last Saturday on the island involved taking my Samoan family down one of my favorite trails in the National Park. I decided to wear my new National Park of American Samoa i'e :-) Look for my green fabric of a skirt in some of the photos below, and that's it.

Louisa (Isa), Nina, and Ioanne picked me up this morning, we headed to town and switched to Auntie Tai's truck as Lolo, Angel, and Adah joined us.  This was my first time meeting Adah, who is Lolo's mom. She lives in Hawaii, as does Angel. I met Angel at our family brunch Monday morning. Truck loaded and ready, we headed East then up over the mountain, down through the village of Afono, and then back up to the Lower Sauma Trail within the National Park.

Many of them had never even come up and over the mountain this way and were loving the views just as we went up and over. It's quite the trip. Getting some of the locals to see more of their island, watching them enjoy it, and enjoying it with them. :-) This is absolutely one of my favorite places. I love the views from the trailhead. This first one is looking toward the East(ish) back toward Afono.

This second one is looking toward the West(ish) toward Vatia. Pola Island and Vai'ava Strait. If this place was closer to where I lived I probably would have spent many a days sitting here reading, perhaps, and simply enjoying the beauty.

Then, a hiking we went. Down the Lower Sauma Trail. (The favorite trail of my friend Ranger Pa'i, by the way). Took us to the beautiful tide pool at the bottom. Went swimming for a bit. I jumped in three times, twice from a spot I had before, and once from a new spot. Ioanne, Angel, and Adah also jumped in from ledges. Nice and deep, so it's the perfect spot for it! Fun every time. The water is so clear in this spot. They all kept telling me how cool this was and were thankful I brought them here. I was so excited that they wanted to come. Getting more locals to check out the National Park trails.

Then, we all made the climb back up. Many of them said they felt like rock climbers heading back up - especially Angel. Lolo thought it was quite fun climbing back up. I let her lead the way back out. (She just graduated from 8th grade.) I warned them before we had even left home that it was a bit steep heading back up, but most of the way involved nice steps the Maintenance Division keeps up. We made pretty good time. Here is a photo of most of the group standing near the trailhead after our successful hike. A few scrapes, a whole lot of smiles, and a great adventure.

Here is one I took of Angel showing her muscles after the great hike. I saw some posts of hers on Facebook talking up this spot so much and recommending it to friends! Yay! Spreading the word about what the National Park of American Samoa has to offer.

After we all hydrated a bit more and relaxed in the fale a bit, we decided to head out about noon. Isa had mentioned when we were down at the tide pool that she was thinking we should go to De Tama Lelei for lunch, as we were already partway there on the East side. Not every day you head toward the East side of the island. So, back down the mountain, through the village of Afono, and up the mountain we went. Isa pulled over at the nice scenic overlook of Pago Harbor with Matafoa Peak in the background for a few photo opps.

Down our last stretch of mountain and then further East we went to the village of Alofau. Qutie the drive. Enjoyed our lunch on the nice seaside picnic table. I learned that Miss Joyce who is a member of the family that owns the place was one of Isa's teachers. Everyone was nice and hungry by the time we made it here. I think that helped push us all back up the trail - knowing we had a fun and yummy lunch to eat ahead of us. Malo lava, Isa! I thoroughly enjoyed the delicious macaroni salad, veggie vinegar coleslaw-like salad, and fries. Others enjoyed some monster burgers, chicken katsu, and Spam rolls. Spam rolls... a sushi roll with Spam in the middle instead of fish... that was something I had never seen before. Also, this monster burger was loaded. Two patties, cheese, two fried eggs, onions, cucumbers, Spam, and usually has lettuce. Boy gee wiz.

Back home we went. Made it back to Malaeimi around 3pm. I had a great time with my Samoan family and am so glad they joined me on my last Saturday for an adventure to one of my favorite places. Thankful for each of them. We had a blast. We may have some battle wounds, but it was well worth it. :-)

Showered off the salt water, cleaned up some of my scrapes, and headed to the laundromat for the last time. I picked up a few brownie cookies from the coffee shop/Internet cafe and enjoyed a cup of coffee. The brownies seemed like the perfect thing to have with the jello cubes Hannah and I had made. One thing that had come in with one of her care packages was a boxed jello mix we had yet to make. We whipped it up Friday afternoon and decided to pour it into our ice cube trays attempting to make little cubes. Quite scrumptious. The jello cubes look orange, but... Surprise! They taste like grape. That brownie cookie was quite yummy, too.

Another day here and gone. Another mighty fine one at that. At first I thought I would maybe go to sleep a little earlier tonight, and maybe I still will. It's 9:30pm as I finish this post on Saturday night in American Samoa. I have been trying to take advantage of almost every single minute of the day this week. Have another full day planned for Sunday. Don't worry I've thrown a little lay around and do nothing time almost every day, too. ;-) Have a great day, everyone!

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