Maui Wowie

T and I spent 3 weeks on Maui, the Valley Isle, which is the 2nd largest island in the Hawaiian chain. Maui is known for long stretches of beautiful beaches and the landmark Haleakala Crater, the House of the Sun, which is a now dormant volcano (the only active volcano in the islands is on the big island, Hawaii). The summit depression is 21 miles across, and 4,000 feet deep, large enough to hold the island of Manhattan! Tom and I hiked to the top (Maui’s highest point) via the Crater Rim Trail, which is a 5 mile hike with 1,600ft gain in elevation.

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We stayed overnight at a total of 7 different places through couchsurfing, camping and AirBnB’ing spending only $1,254 total for  accomodations (which is proportionately much less than our rent in NYC) and nearly completed a circuit around the island. Each place offered uniquely pleasant experiences and surprises. A few of the highlights are the fresh pineapple waiting in the room for us when we arrived at the Tiny Cabin located in the quaint upcountry town of Makawao, enjoying Garrett & Crystal’s company in their beautiful home in Pukalani, meeting Jamie & her daughter, Kaya, who taught us how to properly open, drink and nom on a coconut and last, but not least, sharing a 2 bedroom condo with our ‘frainds’ Laci & John at the Grand Champions Resort in Wailea (more on that in another post!)

 T’s highlights & gratitude’s

The three miles of white sand and crystal clear water at Ka’anapali beach offered T & me a playground for acro & snorkeling as well as a canvas for our sand sculpture – the green sea turtle! People all along the beach hiked over to check it out – we were so proud :3.

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Sneaking into the Hyatt regency resort hot tub & dining at Mala Ocean tavern with Jon, a friend we made through paragliding and an amazing guy with tons of great ideas on how to make the world a better place.

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Exploring the Iao Valley, aka “cloud supreme”, a lush, stream-cut valley in West Maui where T picked passion fruit from the trees along the unofficial  hiking trail which crested the ridge, giving us spectacular views of the 1200-foot Iao Needle.

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The cerulean blue water of the many beaches, this short vid is from Big Beach….

#Sunset #Romantic #Maui

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and here’s Red Sand beach!

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R’s highlights & gratitude’s

Sunning, swimming & hot-tubbing at Grand Champions resort villa (our paragliding friend, Vin, broke his ribs (while mountain biking not flying) so he and his gf, Lauren, joined us for a few nights of hot-tubbin’ – so much good times).

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Hiking the waihou spring trail (moderate, 1.7 miles). Along the trail there were monterey cypress and eucalyptus trees, as well as the native tree species `ala`a, halapepe, and koa. The trail ended on a ridge top offering views of the Central Valley.

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Pineapple upside down cake at Hali’imaile & Pineapple wine tasting at Tedeschi Winery

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Visit to Paia, which is a reflection of Maui’s history as a booming sugar cane plantation town with its old plantation style wooden buildings still intact, T & I  stopped at Ono Gelato for their infamous (and very yummy) sandy beach gelato.

Taking the ‘Road to Hana’ which has 620 curves and 59 bridges, most of which are single-lane bridges – along which we played in the waterfalls, sniffed the tropical flowers, hiked through bamboo forests, and marveled at the spectacular scenery. Waimoku Falls, this gigantic waterfall drops 400-feet down a sheer lava rock wall into a boulder-strewn pool.

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We found a heart :3

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Hiking the Pipiwai trail (this name delighted T)

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We stayed overnight in Hana camping on the front lawn of a friendly yet ‘tuned out’ couch surfing host who nearly left us to sleep in our car on Thanksgiving.  Keeping the tent up in the rainstorm (and ignoring the creepy screaming noises that kept waking us up) proved to make the night spent camping there a bit of a harrowing experience (and probably the closest thing to a thorn that we experienced during the time period this post covers!). Thankfully, things worked out (sorta) and T & I had scrumptious shrimp for our T-giving dinner while enjoying live music and hula dancing.

Stepping into Paradise

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Maintaining a daily log for a little over two months, while also fitting in all the exploring T & I want to do, would be a daunting task. Instead, I’m going to focus on blogging highlights and gratitudes from the day’s journeys. T & I initially got the idea for recording gratitudes from a TED talk we saw on happiness (if you’re interested in ways to improve your quality of life or just curious, here is the talk, I highly recommend it). We’ve been sharing our daily gratitudes with each other for a few months now and really enjoy reliving these happy moments together.

I think it’s also a good idea to use this blog as a way to let off a little steam by recording things that don’t go so well. I think a little self-depricating humor can go a long way in a blog and, anyway, who wants to read only about the good times? I know well enough that people go to the track not just to watch a race but also see a car wreck ;).  T & I are treating this travel as a journey, rather than the luxurious vacation people tend to associate with tropical places. We are camping on the beach; sleeping on strangers’ couches; exploiting our friends’ generosity by staying in their guest rooms; when we feel like living the good life, renting bedrooms from AirBnB and for some nights, nothing is planned, we’re just going to wing it! For this reason, there will be numerous opportunities for things to, well, screw up – producing more fodder for this cannon.

R’s gratitudes & highlights:

The long nap we took during the hottest part of the day, which helped tremendously with the terrible case of jetlag I’m struggling to get over.

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The warm and muggy climate, from dawn ’til dusk perfect shorts weather. Stepping off the plane felt like someone wrapping me up in a warm, slightly wet, blanket. To some, this may sound unappealing, but it is my ideal climate, and after the 30 degree weather in NYC that we left, it was exactly what I needed.

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Lounging on Coconut Island with the locals. We read, did some acro, swam and had our first taste of jumping off rocks into water. Hopefully, there is more of that to come. Tom jumping from the highest rock:

@leafitalone high jump!

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T’s gratitudes & highlights:

Seeing the Banyan trees, they’re just so beautiful.

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The little goofy birds.

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Getting local fruits at the Farmer’s market.

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Waking up at 4:00AM (it felt like 10:00AM to us), basking in the sounds of the wildlife outside and enjoying our (what we thought was) privacy. We found out later we were sharing the little house with another couple, asleep in the bedroom upstairs – I hope they didn’t mind the early wake up call!