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.

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Hanging with Locals

The best thing about having friends who live in the area is that they can take you to all the cool places that only the locals know about. Palmer is a friend of mine from way way back (as in grade school). He was stationed on Oahu while he was serving in the military. He’s been out for a few years now and is studying marine biology and geology at Hilo University on the BI where he met his partner, Emily. As you might imagine, given their majors, not only did they know about the local spots, they had a wealth of knowledge about the island’s geology and marine life. Staying with them was like having personal tour guides for ‘off the beaten track’ adventures. T & I can’t thank them enough for their generosity, but we can certainly try! Muchos gracias amigos!

T’s gratitude’s & highlights

Taking “controlled” risks by jumping off a bridge.

Jumping off bridges @leafitalone #CrazyTown #Hawaii #the big island

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Completing a rigorous 9 mile hike on the pu’u oo volcano trail (which we originally thought was only 5 miles).

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Tea tree oil application to the mite bites (we counted a total of 36 bites- ouch!)

Palmer chopping down a sugar cane stalk, stripping it and giving it to us to chew the raw sugar stick – that’s service!

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Seeing the sunset above the clouds at 9,000 ft elevation at the Mauna Kea Observatory

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R’s gratitude’s & highlights

Surviving the steep road that leads down into the Waipio valley. The road gains 800 vertical feet in 0.6 miles – if classified as a road, it would be the steepest road of its length in the United States and possibly the world. Also, of course, the exotic black sand beach in the valley.

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Gorgeous flora & sights at Akaka falls

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Also completing the 9 mile pu’u oo volcano trail hike!

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Handing out candy to the ridiculously cute trick or treaters (I haven’t had the opportunity to do this since I lived in VA, over 3 years ago, and I missed it!)

Acro show presented by Yoga Centered at the Black & White festival in Hilo, HI (and realizing that my & T’s acro abilty was on par with nearly all of the performers!)

And the Thorn

While completely sober, I tripped and fell down a small, outdoor, wooden staircase that was slippery with dew and had no railings. Luckily, I broke my fall; unfortunately, I broke it with only one finger…can you guess which one? T has been doing anything that involves dexterity (zippers, filling up camel packs, opening food packages, even tying my shoes) which he doesn’t mind at all but which makes me feel a bit like a little useless blob. Hopefully this sprain will heal quickly!

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Hello Hilo!

Hilo is a sleepy town on the east coast of the Big Island. T & I have been making our way through the Historic Downtown Hilo Walking Tour (if you’re curious about it, here’s the link).

T’s gratitudes & highlights

Exploring the inner ecosystem of the giant Banyan tree.

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Hiking down to the startlingly picturesque cove.

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Our (failed) attempt at taking a local’s advice to break into the Botanical Garden via a back entrance that only locals know about. We gave it a good shot, but the Gardens had posted a classical-music-listening sentry to bar our passage.

How connected he feels to me. Dawwww :).

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R’s gratitudes & highlights

T’s antics on the Banyan Tree didn’t get himself injured (or, at least, I hope he isn’t injured). 

@leafitalone climbing the giant #Banyan tree. #Daredevil

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Impromptu caving. It was pitch black and I was terribly anxious at the thought of exploring deep into the craggly lava tube which had created the cave. T’s comforting words didn’t do much to quell my fears, so he switched gears and began to make quiet, derisive comments in my direction, which did work ;). So motivated, we impressed the other tourists with how far and how fearlessly we explored the cave.

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How lush and green the world is here; every time I look out a window I am reminded that I am in the jungle.

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Thorn in my rose

Designated the ‘thorny’ section, this part of my blog will denote any things I may need to get off my chest or that is a particularly good piece of self depricating humor. The issue I face here, in Hilo, is a little bit of both!  The number of warning signs here borders on the ridiculous (and, in some places, steps right into it) and, paired with my neurotic nature, it has become a mental chore to convince myself to ignore the warnings, and dive right in. T, of course, has no hesitation when confronted with these signs.

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The Countdown Begins

While Tom & I are going to terribly miss so many people and things in NYC, it’s time for us to leave the city behind for greener pastures, (or, rather, bluer oceans). We feel incredibly lucky to have had the opportunity to live in the big apple and will never forget the many things we’ve learned in our time here.  We plan to (most likely) end our journey on the West Coast to put down roots in sunny SoCal after jet setting around the world for 2 + months. We take off in just 24 days, not that we’re counting or anything.

travel

It took us many months to put the trip itinerary together. In fact, we didn’t know all the details ourselves until just a few days ago (!) but we’ve got it all worked out now and here it is, in black & white =).

Hawaii: Oct. 26 to Dec. 14
Island hopping in this order: Big Island, Maui, Kauai, O’ahu
Celebrating Tom’s Birthday!

Belize: Dec. 15 to Dec. 25

Marseille, France: Dec. 25 – 28
Celebrating Rachael’s Birthday!

Mediterranean Cruise: Dec. 29 to Jan. 5
Docking in France, Spain, Tunisia, Italy
Celebrating our 1 year anniversary!!

Vermont: Jan. 6 to pick up Apollo Cat

California: Jan. 7 +