Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Day one Po'Olu to Hapuna

We started our day early at our favorite coffee bar then walked the farm market for produce.  We drove as far north as the road takes you to Po' olu valley, then slowly made our way to the beach.
Po'Olu valley
Beach park

A small prefab home❤️

Day 3 Kona

Today we went to Kailua-Kona (my home 30 years ago for a spell.  I had never experience the museum Hulihe'e. The summer home of Hawaiian Royallty.  It's a simply home with beautiful Koa wood furnishings, and a magnificent view.  We did the tourist thing in Kona then ended on the beach to watch the sunset.
Ed wearing an UMT shirt❤️

The royal gate
Summer Palace
Queens bath
Happy hour at the Kona Inn
Rubber band fans

The desert of Hawaii
The small tide pools JD would swim in as a child.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Day 2. Hanging out with JD

Jeramiah has been busy with his friend from high school who now lives in Alaska teaching math at the University.  So we had a Kona coffee then got the tour of the farm he lives on.  So many beautiful fruit trees!  I was in Fauna and flora heaven!
We enjoyed some music in town during brunch and then hit the beach until the sun set.  A perfect Sunday.
Derick from Alaska

my son Jeramiah

The lane to his home

papaya tree


Banana blossom

The yurts

bread fruit

His friends playing at the local coffee mill (our favorite breakfast joint)

dinner at the Bamboo in Hawi

sunset at beach 69 with Jeramiah on the slack slackline

Christmas in Hawaii (the decoration at our hale)

Wednesday, November 18, 2015


Linda sold so much last August when I was the guest artist, that she invited me back for the Holiday Shopping Season.  I've been busy creating lots of new boho style jewelry and up cycled flannels.  Shop in a relaxing atmosphere and get a free fabric gift sack with your purchase.  Your wrapping will be done in elegant, sustainable style!  

Giving gifts that are one of a kind can make the recipiant feel like one in a million!
junk Evolution
528 East Colfax Avenue
South Bend, IN 46617

Corner of Hill and Colfax
with parking in the back
right next to CircaArts Gallery,
Inspire Me! 
and the Purple Porch (for a great healthy snack or meal)

10-6 Wed.-Fri.
10-4 Sat.

Jade beads with an Agate pendant

Asian style boho with jade beads.

natural stone beads from my travels

Show your heart with these up cycled flannels that are aged to perfection!

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Goldilocks Hikes the Appalachian Trail

The soul knows no age, and the older I get on the outside I realize that my innermost self remains about 25, Emilys age.  I'm just not as energetic as I once was.  We can see parts of ourselves in others and it draws us to them, or maybe its the person we always wanted to be, in this case....fearless.

Emily walked into junk Evolution, (a shop I once co-owned) a few years ago to tell me that she bought one of my quilts and how much she liked it.  We instantly bonded over a favorite band (The Avett Brothers), and our sense of wanderlust.  After I left junk Evolution last January I realized what I missed most were the people who had become like family to me.  I found Emily on Face book right when she had started her journey hiking the Appalachian trail.  She posted photos every few days capturing the  vast beauty of the mountains, that you can only see in photographs or by putting in the upward climb to summit a mountain.  I don't think anyone truly understands the feeling until you do it, and here she was doing it day after day.  I was captivated.  I couldn't wait until she finished so I could get the rest of the story.  She returned home in early October and we met up for a beer at a favorite local watering hold (The Brew Works).

Emily Swift is a 25 year old, bouncy haired blond with a smile that can light up a room  (not to mention perfect hair for backpacking because it always looks great). It was what earned her the nickname Goldilocks on the trail.  "Everyone has a nickname, and you don't usually find out their real names until miles into the hike", she confessed.   When asked why she wanted to do this, she said she really just wanted to get away from mainstream civilization, technology and live in Nature with as little as possible.   She has been contemplating lots of ideas for her life, one of which is living in a tiny house.  She thought this would be a great way to see if she could live with the basic needs.  Emily was at a point in her life where nothing was holding her back.   Years of research and planning did not happen, she just plumb did it.

She started her journey in Georgia on March 26, 2015 with two friends who wanted to share in a small part of her journey but could only stay for one week.    She met her "Squad" a group of 5 people whom would become like family and traveled with them for quite awhile "Friends I made on the trail are now part of my family.  Friends for life. You would be with a few for awhile, then you might meet up with them later on in another town".

She only really spent one night totally alone in the dark, pouring rain (while listening to a scary book on tape).  There was an area in the Shenandoah River Valley where they canoed from Waynesburo, Virginia to Harpers Ferry, WV (called Aqua Blazing in hiker terms).  You can take off  40 quick miles of hiking by canoeing while giving your legs and back a break. The rivers were high, it was pouring down rain and one of her friends canoes crashed into a rock.  The crash resulted in their belongings being scattered not to mention their nerves.  While the guys were trying to get their belongings together on private property, the land owner started shooting his gun telling them to get off his property.  We all got separated and that's the night Emily spent alone along the river.  

The river was one of her biggest disappointments, not because of the tragedy of the day, but because of the pollution by animal waste and trash.  Some parts of the river were very low.  There were areas that were so low cows would be standing in the water doing their "business".

Emily camped without a tent.  She used a hammock system which is basically a hammock with a little cover to keep you dry.  When she got above tree level in New Hampshire she was invited to share a friends tent because without trees, there is no place for a hammock.  

Emily's mom, Mary Swift and brother Troy, came to visit her about halfway into the trip in Harpers Ferry. Mary treated Emily and seven of her hiking friends to a rib dinner and all the fixings.  She also set up a table with drinks and snacks on the trail the next day to treat all the hikers who passed by that day.  Emily said there is an abundance of kindness associated with this trail similar to what her mother did. She hopes to continue the tradition.
 "Once you are on the trail, you don't think in terms of miles really, it's more about places and landmarks."  When the hikers were sitting around and talking at dinner Emily's mom could barely understand the conversations,  "Hikers kind of have their very own lingo".  
On the trail the little things  and people are
the only things that matter!

Once a week Emily and her "Squad", as they referred to themselves,  would go into a town and stay at a hostile.  There they would get a hot shower and go out for the evening for dinner or see a movie.  It was a great way to learn about the towns other than being on the trail.  After miles of  hiking through Connecticut past some beautiful mansions, they  stopped in a cafe.  When they were about ready to leave, a lady having lunch close by came over and sat down to talk to them.  By the end of the conversation, she invited eight hikers to come home with her.  They were treated to warm beds, bubble baths, showers and steak dinners.  "The kindness of strangers was really unbelievable", Emily said.  At the stopping/starting points there are hikers boxes, where if you are done with your hike you donate any food supplies into the boxes so others along the way can use what they need.  "There is so much giving along the way, it's a really wonderful community of like-minded people".
2000 Mile Marker

The whole trip cost Emily around $5,000.  When Emily was low on funds, she took a few days off from hiking in Damascus (a town at the very southern end of Virginia) and got a job cleaning and painting at a restaraunt called Bobo McFarlands.  The couple fed her three awesome meals a day and paid her a fair wage, looked after her well-being and almost convinced her to stay on.  Emily hopes to visit them next year at Trail days, an annual festival in the town that celebrates the Appalachian trail. 
Vanessa and Joel of Bobo McFarlands with Emily

When I asked what state was her favorite, she said that New Jersey was such a surprisingly beautiful state with so many lakes, but her favorite spot of all was Franconia Ridge in New Hampshire.  Pennsylvania was her least favorite, kind of boring in comparison except for the rattlesnake she saw on the trail!  In all the miles hiked she never saw any large animals (bears) just the small ones and that to Emily was a little disappointing .
Maine was a disappointment as well, Emily said that they don't seem to believe in bridges or movie theaters.  The last leg of the trip is 100 miles of pure wilderness so you are suppose to pack food and provisions for 10 days because there is no towns to stop at.  After all the rain fall, the rivers were pretty much flooded.  You still had to get to the other side to continue on the trail.  There were some very scary times trying to cross where she would have been swept away if it had not been for a rope around her waist.  Emily and all belongings got wet.  She spent the night shivering and cold.   They had had enough of that so they finished the last 100 miles in five days.

Goldilocks, Downhill and Toasty
Now that she's back well toned and 40 pounds lighter, I asked what she missed most? "Mainly just the freedom and not having that end goal to work towards".  
What hike is next on your list? " Colorado, there is  a 400 mile hike that I would like to do." 
That should be a piece of cake Emily!  

In mainstream life what's next?  "I realized I really missed cooking.  Bonding over a meal, sharing stories and getting to know people made me realize that I would like to go back to school for culinary.  Food is the very essence of what brings people together wherever you are".