This is how I spent my spring break.
Day One: I arrived in Maui at 7:30 PM and was leid before the hour was through. Hawaiian girls really are that easy. I sat around for fifteen minutes waiting for them to assign a carousel to my flight before discovering my baggage had already come out. That’s just how they do things in Hawaii. After the 45 minute drive from Kahului to La Haina, Patricia and I decided to get a bite to eat in downtown La Haina. There is an incredible old Banyan tree in the center of downtown that I immediately fell in love with.
Day Two: Piti didn’t have work, so we woke up early and drove to the docks (how Wire season 2 am I?) to pick up her new bed. At the docks I had my first encounter with the strange local dialect. I don’t know how to capture it, but it sounds like a mixture of Jamaican and South African. They don’t conjugate all of their verbs, so you often hear sentences like, “Where be it?” They also have a hand gesture called the “shaka”, in which you extend your pinkie and thumb while tucking your three middle fingers. That’s how you ask, “how’s it going?”, and you respond by making the same hand gesture and shaking it side-to-side. After picking up the bed, we bought our weight in food at Costco, and a TV stand from Kmart before returning home to set it all up. Food, sunset, and Lost lasted until bedtime.
Day Three: Piti had work this day, so I spent the majority of the afternoon at the beach across the street from her apartment, reading Ender’s Game under the most incredible tree. You may have gotten an email from me on this day, bragging about how amazing my life was. I stand by it. That evening we went to pick up Alexia from the airport, and stopped at a scenic lookout on the way there to watch the sunset. I took a picture of a group of friends standing in the distance, and it’s one of my favorite pictures that I’ve taken. Then we climbed down the side of the lookout, and took some more great pictures of the landscape. We also drove around the ultra-rich Wailea in order to remind ourselves that we’ll never have that life. Everything closes super early in Hawaii, so we ended up eating at Fred’s Mexican restaurant before meeting Piti’s boss for a drink and heading to bed.
Day Four: Piti drove us west along Highway 30 (which makes Highway 1 look like a little bitch) to the Olvine Pools. These are a series of natural swimming pools that are formed by the splashing of gigantic waves against the volcanic rocks below. We hiked down to the pools, which were absolutely breathtaking. There were violent waves surrounding us on three sides, and we were able to climb around and explore the terrain at will. We weren’t really thinking, and our wet shoes made it infinitely harder to hike up the hill. Piti ended up slicing her toe, and we took a beer break to ease the pain.Until a few years ago, these pools were largely unkown, but Maui Revealed was kind enough to let us Haoles in on the secret. For those of you who aren’t in the know, a haole is any white person.You could have lived in Hawaii your entire life, but you’ll always be a haole. On the way back to La Haina we did a lot of exploring the terrain, because it’s almost impossible for me to see a hill worth climbing and fail to do so. We spent the majority of the afternoon at a local beach, teaching Alexia how to catch a wave all the way into shore. We also had a fabulous sunset dinner at the Westin, courtesy of Piti’s 50% discount.
Day Five: Snorkling at Black Rock. We only had two kits, so I went out by myself. There were tons of fish everywhere, and once I rounded the corner of the rock the seabed dropped to about 65 feet. There was an underwater cave that I swam over, right as a GIANT sea turtle decided to come out.It scared the shit out of me, and my body froze, but I soon stood mere feet from it. Unfortunately I didn’t have a camera, but it was a special moment.
Day Six: Alexia and I stayed near Piti’s apartment while she was at work, devouring an entire package of chocolate chip cookies, and dino-shaped chicken nuggets. We also watched about five hours of Project Runway. That night we went to pick up Taylor from the airport, and got to bed early in preparation for the juggernaut that was day seven.
Day Seven: Oh my gods, I don’t know how a day like this can really be topped. We woke up at 3:15 am in order to drive to the summit of Haleakala to watch the sunrise. The summit is over two miles up, and it was FREEZING cold when we arrived. Unfortunately, the clouds completely blocked out the sun, and we could barely see anything. After waiting around for thirty minutes, we went to take a nap in the car. It briefly cleared up for about twenty minutes, and I was able to get a single decent picture, but it definitely wasn’t “the best sunrise on the planet”. Oh well, it gives me an excuse to return to Maui. After Haleakala we had lunch in Paia, a hippy artist town known for its people more than its products. We then started on the Road to Hana, completely off the grid for the first time in months. The Hana Highway is one of the most amazing things I’ve ever seen in my life. It made the Olvine Pools look like the Friendswood Ghetto. Thankfully, Piti forced us to take our time exploring the sights and even made us camp out for the night.
Our first stop was a little-known, unnamed waterfall mentioned in the guide book. I had to rock-jump up a stream for about fifteen minutes until I finally arrived at a beautiful, trickling, seventy-foot waterfall. Taylor joined me a few minutes later, and we enjoyed being the only people crazy enough to make the hike. The next waterfall we arrived at was the Upper Waikani Falls, which was raging after the morning’s rain. The rainfall was heavy enough throughout our trip that nearly every waterfall was flowing more heavily than Piti had ever seen. Next, we stopped at the side of the road in front of Wailua Iki Hunter’s Road, only to be greeted by a barrage of “no trespassing signs” that we happily ignored. Locals put these signs everywhere to scare the tourists away from the hidden treasures. After hiking up the trail a little bit, we arrived at the top of a huge valley staring at a series of waterfalls emptying into a river. It started raining as we made our way to the waterfall, but Taylor was able to get some great pictures in the process. The next stop was arguably the coolest of the entire drive, and we never would have known about it without the book. At a seemingly random spot on the highway we climbed into the base of a tree and found ourselves in an ancient lava tube! It was nearly impossible to see, and I almost turned back before Taylor discovered the exit (probably 80 feet from where we entered). In true Gandalf fashion she followed her senses and listened for birds. The exit was an AMAZING cave that deposited us in the middle of the rain forest. It’s probably the closest I’ll ever come to feeling like Batman, and single-handedly made the trip worth while.
A few waterfalls and nearly 600 turns later, we finally passed the city of Hana. The campsite was another 30 minutes away, but it was worth it. We were probably 50 feet from the rocky shore, camping out “Lost” style. After setting up the tent, we spent nearly an hour watching waves smash against the rocks, completely intranced. There was a crazy woman sitting in the grass about twenty feet from us, under an umbrella, muttering about the CIA. I can only assume she was left there by the Dharma Initiative. By nightfall we had been awake for nearly 19 hours (on maybe three hours of sleep), so we quickly fell asleep.
Day Eight: By 6:30 AM we had the tent completely packed, and watched the sun rise. Then Piti led us on another incredible adventure, this time a two-mile hike through the forest. The beginning of the trail rises quickly, leaving us with a phenomenal view of a “smaller” 200 foot waterfall. There’s also a massive banyan tree that I couldn’t help but climb (and which would be perfect for a tree house). We discussed the finer points of “The Real World” as we continued on to a bamboo forest!!It’s pretty much exactly as cool as it sounds. At the end of the forest, we found ourselves in the presence of a 400 foot waterfall to end all waterfalls. Taylor and I climbed a nearly hill in order to enjoy some lunch and admire the greatness of nature. Patricia said the last time she was there the water was mist by the time it hit the ground, but it was really flowing while we were there. On the way back Alexia slipped crossing a river, losing both her sunglasses and her dignity. We then drove straight back to La Haina, cooked dinner, and made a funfetti cake.
Day Nine: Taylor, Alexia, and I went to the appropriately named Big Beach, and then snorkled at Maluaka Beach. We had three snorkle sets this time, so we all went out together. Within a minute we were following two sea turtle through a coral maze. We were able to get right next to the turtles, and took dozens of pictures with our underwater cameras. I haven’t developed those yet, but hopefully they turned out well! After falling asleep on the beach from exhaustion, we all headed to “Da Kitchen”, a local Hawaiian restaurant that was delicious. Hawaaian cuisine is very asian inspired, with a dash of southern fried goodness and pineapple perfection. We ordered two family portions, and ate it all. That evening we went to Piti’s resort in order to watch the sunset, and saw the tradition in which a local sacrifices a lei and then dives into the ocean. I got another great picture of the man mid-dive.
Day Ten: We headed out to Iao Needle, an interesting natural formation, and then rounded the west side of the island, hitting a bunch of the sites we saw without Taylor on day four. I’m pretty sure I could do this drive daily without it getting old.It was still spectacular the second time around.We even got to see a natural blow hole, which even Piti hasn’t seen. It was quite a hike out there, and extremely windy, but climbing around acres of untouched volcanic rock was worth the trip for me.I climbed the formation overlooking the blow hole, and was nearly knocked back by the strong gusts of wind hitting me from each side. After getting back to the apartment, Taylor and I watched another sunset, and bitched about a tourist helicopter that kept ruining it for everyone.
Day Eleven: Bummed around the apartment before taking Alexia to the airport. We were all pretty beat, and just spent the day reading and laying out in the sun. We went to BJ’s for dinner to celebrate my then-approaching birthday, and got a pizookie!
Day Twelve: I woke up at 6 am to take Taylor to the airport, then watched movies and ate junk food all day with Piti. My flight was delayed two hours, so we had some extra time to lounge around before catching my final sunset in La Haina.We went to this old abandoned dock, which photographed beautifully. It was a gorgeous end to my stay in Maui, but I was so sad to leave. It was one of the best vacations of my life, and possibly one of the last for a few years.
Amazingly, these photographs don’t even begin to showcase the beauty of Maui. I have hundreds more that I’ll gladly show you if you ask me. For now, this should be a good indication of how I spent two weeks in March, and enough to make any rational person insanely jealous of my semester off.