Friday, August 09, 2013

My last days in Maui: Day 9 & 10

Waiting out tropical storm Flossie in Kihei, Maui
I did NOT get eaten by tropical storm Flossie.

I have a magic back-pocket solution called "my husband" who is obsessed with extreme weather. He told me it was coming and where I should stay to be most protected and when the worst should hit.

So the first thing I did was look at the sun-shine in the sky and go get a fish taco from Coconut's Fish Cafe in Kihei. Ya, um, totally worth it! $12 for two seriously amazing fish tacos that made a giant mess. What could be better? (Photo here.)

It was a good time to do some souvenir shopping, so that was my next stop(s). And then I got a Maui-blend iced coffee and sat in the covered outdoor patio, reading my book. I knew it was going to get a bit more serious, I stopped in at the grocery store and went home to bake bread, eat one entire freshly-baked french stick with butter, and make ravioli with roasted garlic sauce.

I mean, why not?

Even though it was still pouring out, my husband assured me it would die down the next day, so I packed with hope and went to bed early.

Up at 6am, I made myself some more of the glorious Hawaiian coffee and looked out the window. Dry. Well, that settled it. I packed up the car, forgetting pretty much everything but my purse and my clothes, and took off for the road to Hana. It wasn't until I was almost in Paia that I realized I'd forgotten my carefully-constructed lunch, snacks and chilled water bottle. Yep, I'm awesome. It just meant I had to stop in at Anthony's Cafe (good coffee, which I bought; bad food, which I also bought).

Road to Hana - Twin Falls
Twin Falls, Road to Hana
My first stop on the road was probably around 8am at Twin Falls. A short hike (15 mins) brought me to this pretty waterfall and pool. In theory I could have gone in, but it was still early in my trip and there was one other couple there and I did have my iPhone on me to take pics. I figured I'd have better opportunities later.

Then the road got crazy. Twists and turns, sure. But tiny lanes. One-lane bridges -- fine when you can see what's coming, a little more exhilarating when someone could come flying around that blind hairpin curve up ahead and the bridge and road have both seen better days in some parts. At no time did I go over 20mph on these roads. Usually it was more like 10-15mph. And there were just a few white-knuckle moments. However, I actually got used to it. It was a kind of zen that took over. Stick to my lane and speed -- trust that the Universe will take care of the rest. It did. No crashing and dying.

I stopped at a few lookout spots to take photos, but mostly I wanted to get to Waianapanapa State Park at mile marker 32, just on the outskirts of Hana: "shiny black-sand Waianapanapa Beach appears like a vivid dream, with bright-green jungle foliage on three sides and cobalt-blue water lapping at its feet. The 120-acre park on an ancient lava flow includes sea cliffs, lava tubes, arches, and the beach... and hiking trails." (Quoted.) Perfect - yes, please! Closed. Due to Flossie.

Road to Hana - Pīpīwai Trail - Waimoku Falls
Waimoku Falls, Pipiwai Trail
But other than that, and a few strewn branches (which was a problem on those roads, admittedly), Flossie caused me no grief. Instead, I soldiered on to Haleakala National Park (you may remember this as the volcano crater park -- this is the back-side of the same park and my park pass was valid for three days) where I arrived starving. I ate my lunch at a picnic table before setting out on my hike on the Pipiwai Trail. It's above a spot called the O'heo Gulch/Seven Sacred Pools. So, in short: beautiful. Waterfalls everywhere. Hike, waterfall, hike, waterfall, hike, banyan tree, hike, bamboo crazy forest, hike, waterfall. Seriously, amazing.

But I had a problem, I wanted to make sure I got off the road to Hana (or the road FROM Hana) well before nightfall. And I had calculated how long that would take. And how long the hike would take (without going the wrong way and doing side trails). Well, I did the side trails, went the wrong way, etc. So I basically ran back down the trail, stopping only to go swimming in a waterfall (at the top of a medium-sized one, at the bottom of a small one because the pool was a lot nicer that way) because I was HOT. And because why not?

So after jogging the rest of the way down, I figured I was OK for time and went on the second, smaller trail. Well, thank goddess I did that.  Because:

Road to Hana  - Kahakai Trail


And more beauty of the Seven Sacred Pools, but just go look at the pictures. It's insane.

Back to the parking lot/visitor's centre to gorge on some water and wipe myself down before beginning the harrowing drive back. I stopped at the Nahiku Gallery and coffee shop and there was a lady selling homemade roasted coconut. I thought I had gone to heaven: the raw sugar variety was not too sweet, but just enough, and the vanilla one tasted like chocolate. I bought two bags and I should have bought more, it was just SO good.

Kihei sunset
Sunset in Kihei
Thing is, I arrived back in Kihei before sunset. Well, I'm not complaining. Because, sunset in Kihei is amazing. Possibly even the best I saw. There is also a coastal trail there, so I walked that too.

And watched children with their boogie boards, playing in the surf. And kids looking at the tide pools with their grandparents. And I shared the sunset with a sand crab who disappeared in an instant if I moved too quickly.

And suddenly it was down and it was time for me to go.

The next morning instead of packing up, I awoke at 6am, drank my excellent coffee and walked across the street to the beach there. It was a different kind of beach - still and shallow. I took a quick dip and mostly just stood in the water, loathe to leave. It couldn't be put off forever, though.

I did eventually pack up the car and drive to the airport. It was a miserable trip home, marked by cancelled flights and "sleeping" in the airport. Fitting, I guess. I didn't want it to end. But all vacations do.

Unless we bring "vacation" mindset into our daily lives. I can think about what interesting, fun thing I could do today to explore or marvel or contemplate or learn. I remember this from my trip to Australia. Every day can be an adventure. You just have to look at it that way.

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