Saturday, September 27, 2014

Saturday, September 20, 2014

exploring Maui: the road to Hana

Friday morning in Hawaii we set out to do the famous Road to Hana. 
We left our hotel early to avoid the crowds....
 Maybe that's what everyone else was thinking too.  
But, just look at that jungle!  Literally every surface, horizontal or vertical, had something green on it. Every time we slowed down (lots of one-way bridges and curves,) I felt like whipping out the camera. Just look at the green! So much green!

We took one road down to the edge of the ocean, off the main road, and found bathrooms for the pregnant lady (hooray!), banana bread, and this spectacular "beach."

 Because we were so early, this little shop had just barely opened, and the banana bread was still hot out of the oven. So hot, in fact, it actually melted the plastic wrap around it. And yes, we ate the whole loaf right then and there, standing next to the open trunk of our subcompact rental car.
It was hot out of the oven. How could we not?

 Water just bursts out of the hills here. I took this shot from the window of the car as we drove past.

We ventured off the main road again, drove way way down into a residential neighborhood. I'm pretty sure there were more rusted out dead cars than people in this neighborhood. 
And, we found a cave.
 If we'd had a flashlight, we would have ventured farther. But notice how all the rocks in the cave are green?  I wasn't kidding: growing stuff is everywhere!
 These gorgeous flowers are so abundant that the residents try to make a little money by selling the, just $1 a stem!  
And yes, I bought some.

We found this place online before our trip, and Kent had been looking forward to visiting Coconut Glen's ice cream shack. We drove up, still rather early in the morning, and the shack was closed.
We were so bummed that we sat in the car there for a while, then we noticed some people (with dreadlocks) and mangy dogs wandering around.
Kent got out to ask if they knew what time the ice cream shack opened. 
The looked at each other and said, "Oh, how about right now?"

So we got our coconut ice cream.

Hawaii is just awesome.

The highlight of the trip for us was the chance to hike through a bamboo forest. 
This hike was only a couple of miles, but it was really, really hot, and I just don't have the stamina I used to. So we took it slow, hiking up the mountain, stopping when we got to shade, dodging cows in the jungle (at least we think it was a cow...), and we finally made it to the bamboo.
 It was so worth it.  Just beautiful.

 At this point, you either turn back the way you came from, on a pretty well-traveled but very windy road, or you go forward, around the back side of the island.
We'd already seen where we came from, so we went forward.  
And it was crazy.
One lane, unpaved road, cliff (with boulders just begging to fall) on one side, and pure ocean on the other.  
And it was then we were grateful for our subcompact teeny tiny rental car.  
Once we got past the cliffs, we drove through the most spectacular landscapes--windswept desert, red rocks, herds of goats, then green rolling hills, dense forests, and so much rain we could barely see the road.   
It was beautiful, so beautiful. 
But I was tired, so tired.  I think the whole day of traveling (12 hours on bumpy, twisty roads), no lunch, and the hike were probably more than I should have done. After spending the last three months sick and too tired to do anything but lay on the couch, I just don't have the stamina I used to.
I took a nap in the car as Kent drove us home, 
then we stopped at Leoda's for pies (again). After the nap and a mini key lime pie, I felt much better, naturally.

It was a long day of exploring, 

but so worth it.

Monday, September 15, 2014

exploring maui: the blowhole

 The second or third day of our trip (it all kinda blurs together now...) we drove North from our hotel, 
to find some neat beaches, cliffs, and a blowhole.

The parking lot is just a little dirt pullout on the side of the road, and here's the "trail."

And you gotta love the official signs posted along the hillside: 

Thoroughly warned, we made our way down the rocks.

 The way the ocean spray has eaten away at these rocks was fascinating. It looked like an alien landscape of some sort.

 And then, we found the blowhole. And it was awesome.
Water from the ocean gets forced up into lava tubes below the surface and it comes blasting out of this hole at the top.
It took some patience, but we did get to see it really shoot out a few times.

I liked standing on this side best: the spray from the water was great for cooling me off. 

 As we started our hike back up the hill, I noticed a couple of people off to the left. 
The best part about traveling without kids is that you have time (and energy!) to explore--no where to be, no one whining, or needing to use the potty...
I clambered around the corner and found this:
 A perfect heart shaped hole in the rock! I couldn't believe it! (I'm still not 100% convinced this is entirely naturally made....)

We didn't have any water left after this little hike. It was 92 degrees that day and humid. So as we drove back home, when we saw a man selling ice cold coconuts,
we just had to stop.
 And crossed off something from Kent's bucket list: drink from a coconut.
We paid for one coconut to share, and as the (huge!) Hawaiian man was chopping it open with his machete, he asked us where we were from. 
When we told him Utah, he asked if we are Mormon.
He got so excited about that. He told us his parents are active members, and then he gave us another coconut and a big bunch of apple bananas for free.
I'm pretty sure that was the first time I've received a gift just for being LDS. 

When we got home, we spent the afternoon swimming at our beach, then
we ended the night with a massive slice of Hula Pie and a sunset.