August 30, 2014 | Posted in:Hawaii
I hadn’t seen my Portland friend Cameron for several years, so I was happy to find out she had moved to Maui a few months earlier. After remote Moloka’i, Maui was certainly a change. She picked us up at the airport and we went right out to a reggae concert in town. After spending the last couple weeks in some pretty remote places, we were suddenly dropped right back into the urban world.
Cameron’s boyfriend, Shane had a buddy in town too, so the five of us went up to Haleakala the next day to do a hike. Maui is shaped like a pair of boobs with two massive volcanoes separated by a large valley where most of the population lives. Haleakala is the larger and more sacred peak and you can drive all the way to the top at 10,000 feet and hike down into the crater. It is truly a breathtaking place both figuratively and literally as you are getting to the point where some people really start feeling the elevation.
The crater is 2,600 feet deep with an opening on the east side. The clouds come and go below you as you descend the slide into the hole. We didn’t seem to have any elevation problems, but could only hike part of the way in because Shane had a meeting. We strongly considered spending some time hiking down there but ended up spending that time out at Hana.
After we dropped Shane off, Cameron took Brandy, Andrew and I down a short hike to a jungle waterfall where we could swim in the splash pond. You have to be cautious with waterfalls in Hawai’i because the rock is not stable, so you can get clobbered by falling stones and some are more stable than others. This one was a gentle fall ensconced by the forest with a deep cavern you could swim in.
Another treat from our dear host, we finally got our first taste of poke (pronounced like Pokémon). This is a common Hawaiian dish of raw fish marinated in various sauces or citrus juices and is quite the treat.
The next day we all drove out to Red Sands Beach in Hana. The Road to Hana is a two-lane road that twists along the tight cliffs where Haleakala meets the sea. The road has a few beautiful vistas, but it is completely packed with slow tourists so it takes ages to get out Hana and to be honest, it doesn’t really open up to the sheer beauty I was expecting until after Hana.
We spent the rest of the day at Red Sands getting weird and swimming around. At one point I shook the water off my hands and my wedding band flew off into the sand at the bottom of about a foot of water. I knew it gone forever, but still spent about five minutes pulling up handfuls of sand. I had about given up when I suddenly saw the gleaming silver of metal. My precious had been found!
We had driven almost all the way back that evening when Shane found out that the concert we were returning to see was actually next week! He was kicking himself because we could have camped out at Hana, but we still had a nice time watching the sunset at another beach, plus we caught a QUAD rainbow on the drive back, which I didn’t even know was possible.
The next day we got in touch with the sister of another friend of ours who lives on Maui, and she invited us to go with her out to, yup, Hana. So once again we twisted our way all the way back out to Hana. We spent two chill nights out there doing a little hiking, beaching and catching up on the internet a bit. On the way back Alice took us around the long way instead of doubling back on the main Hana Highway. This is where things got really rugged and beautiful.
Our final days on Maui were relatively uneventful with much of our time spent internetting and one visit to a nude beach on the far southeast side of the island. If you have never done it before, buff is the only way to swim in the ocean!
We camped on the beach under kiawe trees the night before we left Maui. Of course that meant more thorns in the foot, but a steady breeze out to sea also meant another great fire!
Brandy loved Maui. I thought it was great and had fun with our friends, but after the other two islands it was feeling a bit large for me. It’s very car-oriented, which is not as much of a problem on the smaller islands, but it feels like it would be much more of a hassle to live without one on Maui, unless you lived in the crazy expensive areas.
A quick update about where we are now. Yesterday we got off of a 45-hour train ride from Wisconsin out to Seattle and are now about to set off from our WarmShowers host up to the San Juan Islands. We’ll spend some time on Vancouver Island before coming back down to Seattle for a few days. The plan is to cycle around the Olympic Peninsula and on to Portland. After that, we’re a little more foggy on the route.