I see boxes in my sleep! I've been unpacking, sorting, throwing out, and reinventing uses for various baskets and plastic tubs, almost daily now for 20 days. Really? Is that all? It feels like months of unpacking! Today Russ took the kids out of the house to the aquarium so I could set up our desk and sort through the craft items without any distractions. It was pure bliss! Plus I got to talk to Lori for a little while. :)
With much of our stuff unpacked it feels much more like home. The one things left to unpack are the school books... I've decided I'll only keep out the books we need for this year and leave the rest in boxes. Half of my bookshelves are now my 'pantry' in the garage. My kitchen is much smaller than the TX house so I've had to seriously downsize but loooove having less stuff! It is such a freeing feeling. I can see why people get caught up in being minimalists.
The last of our things arrived on Tuesday afternoon. I thought we were making progress at clearing out boxes - but after our 2nd load arrived... well, lets just say I was quite overwhelmed. I couldn't even get into the kitchen to open the fridge or cook that night! TO - MUCH - STUFF!!!
BUT - our bicycles had arrived! Hooray! First thing Wednesday morning we hopped on our bikes and went around the 3 mile loop here. I hadn't seen it yet and thought, "Hmph, 3 miles. That's nothing!" Well! When 3 miles consist of steep hills it ends up being a pretty great bike ride. Levi had a hard time with the hills but slowly made it. On the last hill Russ and I found a HUGE garden. It's probably for the restaurants in the Leo Palace hotel. We stopped and checked it out... found hot peppers, okra, baby tomatoes, purple eggplant, banana trees, cucumbers, and squash. It's encouraging to know we can grow all that here. I'll be starting green peppers, cucumbers, tomatoes, parsley, and basil soon. Maybe even onions - many of the fixin's for a greek salad. Green peppers are nearly $3/pepper here!
After our bike ride our friends, the Ceserani's, called to invite us to do some boonie stompin'. They choose a hike from The Best Tracks on Guam book. They have a 3 year old daughter, so Scott - the dad, wanted to be sure it wouldn't be too difficult for her. He choose Cetti Falls, which is a series of seven falls that drop a total of 350 feet. We had to hike 500 ft down along the bare ridge, marked by big hills of rock and dirt...
...then through another decent in the jungle using a rope to keep you from slipping down the soft, slippery mud. I fell and grabbed onto some sword grass to stop myself... OUCH! Sword grass gives nasty paper cuts. But my knight in shining armor ran to my aid and poured our precious drinking water on it to clean out the mud. :)
About halfway down we could see the first 4 falls. Another 250 feet to go... but now getting in more jungle like shrubs.
About an hour after starting out we got to the ravine forest where we followed the river upstream along the bank, walking in the water carefully steeping on mossy rocks and over various branches.
Well, the hike was NOT for a 3 year old walking alone. It was treacherous at times even for her dad carrying her. Some places in the descent required sliding down the rock on your 'bobo' (as Lori V. would say) and other times where it's so narrow and steep you sorta run/shuffle without stopping and then use a curve in the trail to slow down. I wish I'd had a video of Scott and Shane on the descent - I'm sure we could have submitted it to America's Funniest Home Video and won!
Did you know the mosquitoes in Gaum are 'noseums,' and live in shady river areas? I happened to grab the bug spray as a last minute thought on our way out the door and packed it in my hiking pouch. Thank goodness I had it!!! The kids got to the river 10 minutes before us... and had at least 10-20 bites each! By the end of the hike, between 2 families, we used up the entire can! I bought 4 cans of bug spray in TX and brought it here. Next time I'm on the mainland I will bring a suitcase of bug spray back!
Levi didn't have any trouble though - he led the pack! He's like a spring gazelle descending the rocking hills. Of course the girls did great too. On the way back up Jessica and I tag teamed getting Shane up the rocky hill. It ended up being a really good workout!
Cetti Falls was tall and narrow! We had a picnic at the bottom of the 7th fall. The swimming hole was not nearly as inviting to me as Sigua Falls. I got in and waded just because it's a pool at the base of a waterfall... and that's what you SHOULD do... right?! The day was overcast so I didn't feel too hot either - that makes a big difference. Along the right wall of the fall a rope was attached to ascend up the rocky, vertical cliff. When the adults finally arrived Jessica and Katlyn were at the top of the falls! I was not impressed with that judgement call. One slip and... well, we won't talk about that. They did make it back down safely. Of course the dads couldn't be showed up! So both Russ and Scott went up the rope. They were gone for about 15 minutes. Apparently they climbed the next falls too! Once they made it safely down Russ admitted it was foolish to climb up - and especially scary on the way down. Russ has a pretty good rope burn on his right arm to remind him of the trip. He said it looks worse than it feels.
Sorry, I didn't take any pictures at the falls. I was too worried about my family climbing up the cliff and thinking of all the terrible things that would happen if they slipped...
Once again, this hike was unlike any of the others we've taken. Different terrain. It was quite enjoyable and challenging at times. There are 44 hikes in the book. I'm hoping to hike them all before we move back to the mainland. I'm sure I'll do some more than once... but not this one. One time was enough. :) But Levi did say this was his favorite hike so far...
What was supposed to be a morning hike ended up taking until 3 pm. We stopped to refill our water jugs on the way home and went straight to the pool 6 houses down to clean off the red dirt. No point in making our washing machines work harder than necessary! LOL! Stella Ceserani brought a blender and made some margaritas to enjoy by the pool. What was supposed to be a day unpacking ended up being a day of fun. I must admit though, I was asleep at 8 pm that night. Margarita's in the hot sun after a day hiking relaxed me more than I thought! Staying up until 1 and 2 am the nights before probably had something to do with it as well. Regardless, I needed that break. I'm learning that life is much more relaxed on this island and you just go with the flow. So I'll hike when we have the chance - every time! :)
I'm feeling pretty spoiled living here for 5 weeks and already having made some friends, living close enough to walk to 3 swimming pools any time of day, and having all these great hikes to explore. Oh, and did I mention having Russ home every day? That has been really nice too! He's flown once... last month. I know it won't always be this way but I'm enjoying every minute of it to remember later when he's working more.