Ahhh… Hawai’i. How I love it so!
I have been banking my Alaska Airline Air Miles for a few years now and had decided several months ago that 2 tickets to Maui in the winter would be the perfect break from the cold. And we timed our trip perfectly – we just happened to miss the worst snowstorm of the season (thus far) back home. Don’t get me wrong, I do like snow. But it has its place – up on mountains, where it can be snowboarded on.
January 14, 2012 – Kihei
After our flight and picking up our sweet minivan (or swagger wagon), we settled into our apartment in South Kihei and walked (or hobbled, in Chuck’s case) down to Kama’ole Beach III to watch the sunset.
January 15, 2012
We headed over to Big Beach to relax in the sun, then hiked over the hill to Little Beach, where clothing is optional. The waves were calmer on this side so the swimming was better – plus it’s always an interesting scene…hula hoops, frisbee, Maui wowie…
I rarely get sick but I came down with a sore throat and runny nose that morning. The ocean is the perfect cure for a cold – a natural neti pot, if you will. It seems like the sand and warm weather was the perfect therapy for Chuck’s ankle as well; he was walking sans cane by Day 2.
January 16, 2012
Our day was fairly uneventful – just more relaxing beach time, this time at Po’olenalena Beach.
January 17, 2012 – Moloka’i
We took a ferry from Lahaina (“cruel sun” in Hawaiian) to the island of Moloka’i, which is 8 miles west of Maui. The trip over was a lot of fun – we saw over a dozen humpback whales spouting and breaching.
Once we arrived on Moloka’i, we picked up our rental car at Hotel Moloka’i.
Side story – the island of Moloka’i has a population of only around 7,500 people – and I just happened to find that I know the lady that owns and runs the Local Store gift shop at Hotel Moloka’i – we used to work together at the Bon Marche in Bellingham! We caught up a bit then Chuck and I took off to explore the island.
We determined that several hours wasn’t enough time to really see as much as we wanted to see, so Moloka’i is now on our list of ‘to visit’ places. The scenery is stunning and we both felt an amazing sense of peace while we were there – it felt like another world.
Little bit of trivia: Kalaupapa, Moloka’i was the site of Hawai’i's quarantined leprosy (or Hansen’s Disease, as it’s now called) settlement in the 1800s. Kalaupapa is beautiful but from what I read, it sure doesn’t sound like it was a nice place to be back then. Father Damien (statue below) came to care for the lepers and later contracted and died of the disease (only 5% of the population isn’t immune to leprosy) – he was recognized later as a saint by the Catholic Church.
January 18, 2012 – Wailuku
Early that morning, I took a drive to ‘Iao Valley.
More trivia: This was the location of one of the bloodiest battles in Hawai’ian history when Kamehameha the Great invaded Maui in 1790 – the Battle of Kepaniwai (which means “damming of the waters” – as in bodies. Bad visual). But it sure is a pretty place!
January 19, 2012 – Backroad to Hana
On our way to Hana, we took the ‘Maui Backroads’ route – through upcountry and around the island.
January 20, 2012 – Heavenly Hana
I was up before sunrise to check out some more amazing sights near Kipahulu…
Hiking the Pipiwai trail was AMAZING! If I lived in Hana (pending lucky lottery tickets), I’d hike it every single morning.
January 21, 2012
Another sunrise adventure… a hike down to Waioka a.k.a. Venus Pool.
I took the hike less traveled and got pretty scratched up but it was worth it! I had the freshwater Pool to myself…
If you’re wondering… due to the state of Chuck’s ankle, he couldn’t accompany me on my sunrise hiking adventures but I don’t think he minded too much – he seemed quite content sleeping in. Plus it gives us an excuse to come back and revisit these amazing places.
We spent another day at Hamoa Beach…
And walked Koki Beach before we went home…
January 22, 2012 – Hana Highway
We weren’t ready to leave Hana so we took our time before we got on the road. We spent the morning at Hamoa Beach and then picked up some treats before we headed up the Hana Highway – a guava smoothie and banana bread at our favorite roadside fruit stand for me; chili dog for Chuck (don’t ask).
A little bit of trivia: the Hana Highway has 617 curves and 56 bridges (per Google).
We stopped in Paia (a.k.a. Maui’s Coolest Little Town) on our way back to Kihei and had a great time wandering around – what a cute place!
January 23, 2012 – Kihei
We spent our last full day on Maui at Makena Beach (where my dear friends Jeremy and Steph were married years ago).
The pictures below are of Chuck on Maui then… and now…I tried to get him to strike the same pose but it didn’t turn out so well. Chuck was quite reminiscent throughout our trip of visiting Maui as a child – his grandpa K was a lover of Hawai’i like I am so he visited often.
That evening, we picked up some beers and our cribbage board and headed back to Kama’ole Beach to watch the sunset. While the sun was setting, I just happened to get the HIGHEST possible cribbage hand that you can get – 29 points! It may not sound like a big deal but Chuck has been playing crib for years and has never seen it. You should have heard the excitement – you would have thought that I was proposing to him or telling him that I was pregnant (I’m not). He even had to call his dad (who has been playing crib longer that we’ve been alive) and he hadn’t seen it either. I looked it up online and the odds of getting this hand are 1 in 216,580.
Trip Details -
Where we stayed:
Kihei – I was contacted a few months ago by a fellow hiker (Loren) who had questions on our Kalalau Trail hiking experience. He was so appreciative of the advice that he gave us an incredible deal on our stay in Kihei - it was perfect. He even had us over for a BBQ to exchange Kaua’i stories. Check out their website here for rental information and great tips on visiting Maui.
Hana – We stayed at the absolutely fantastic Hana Paradise Bamboo Cottage. LOVED it! Super tranquilo – and it had the best shower ever.
Where we ate:
Foodland, Kihei – Because we had a kitchen in our rental, we kept it cheap (or cheaper) by using our trusty Maika’i Card for groceries.
Pita Paradise, Kihei – This place came highly recommended by our sister-in-law Jess (who had missed not 1 but 2 flights off of Maui because of this place). We visited a couple times – LOVED the Kalua Pork, Mediterranean, and the Mahi pitas.
Fred’s Mexican Cafe, Kihei – Tasty pork carnitas and burritos
Kihei Caffe, Kihei – Great (albeit heavy) breakfasts
Moloka’i Pizza Cafe, Kuanakaki on Molokai – there weren’t a ton of dining options on Molokai but I think we picked a good one! The pizza reminded me of Milt’s in Lynden.
Braddah Hutts Roadside BBQ Grill, Hana – The ‘last place’ for food outside of Hana – huge portions of BBQ goodness
Thai Food by Pranee, Hana – Another roadside place with fantastic authentic Thai food
Hana Ranch Store – I can’t believe I’m putting this in here but Chuck LOVED their chili dogs. I’ve rarely seen him so thrilled.
Flatbread Company, Pai’a – We tried the sausage and Kalua Pork flatbread pizzas – YUM
What we read:
Maui Revealed – I love the Wizard Publications ‘Ultimate’ Hawai’i guides – they are the BEST
Unfamiliar Fishes by Sarah Vowell – I read this book when we visited Kaua’i last May and Chuck picked it up for this trip. It’s a great read on the Americanization of Hawai’i.
National Geographic magazines – While Chuck does a lot of his NG reading in the bathroom (TMI?), I like to catch up on past issues while on vacation. This trip, I learned about the teenage brain, what our world would (or will) be without ice, whale sharks, and the ongoing conflict in Africa’s Albertine Rift – among many other things…
Some images available for purchase here.
A hui hou kakou Maui!