A Week in Paradise: Maui Part I

I'm not quite sure where to begin... except with maybe an honest but cliché phrase that we had one of the most memorable times of our lives in the land of palm trees, sun, and sea turtles: Hawaii.

Bron's work through Progessive Dairy Solutions holds an annual conference every spring.  This year, it was held in Maui.  So naturally, we flew out a few days early to get a head start on all the adventuring and fun!    

Jumping off the plane our first evening there, we grabbed some crepes for dinner at a restaurant recommended to us in Paia.  Then we grabbed some groceries and were off to the coast to witness our first Hawaiian sunset of the week.  So romantic, right?  Yes, actually.  We were totally counting this as our 12th anniversary celebration!

The next morning, after sleeping like a rock at our Airbnb in Kula, we were on the Road to Hana bright and early.  I'm glad we got a head start on the traffic because it made the drive so much more enjoyable.  The road is narrow and winding and peppered with old but quaint one lane bridges.  The road winds through some of the most gorgeous coastline I've ever seen.  It was raining that morning, but Hawaiian rain is relatively warm and it rarely lasts all day.  We rolled down the windows and hopped out to explore from time to time, but mostly we just enjoyed the scenery and the fact that we were in paradise!

Our first official adventure of the trip: Haleakala National Park to hike into the Bamboo Forest!  The hike was simply eye candy from bottom to top!  We got glimpses of the mountainous Maui coastline, counted waterfalls, and were always craning our necks up to see the tops of the incredible trees.

^^We stopped for a few minutes to take in this fascinating gigantic tree!^^

It was interesting to witness all of the ecosystems that Maui boasted all on one hike!  The Bamboo Forest was just unreal growing tall, thick and green.  It was surprisingly noisy!  We could hear the bamboo swaying in the breeze, creaking and breaking.  

After our hike, we explored Haleakala National Park some more.  The coastline was just gorgeous!

^^I had so much fun figuring out how my new little GoPro worked on this trip.  The extra wide angle lens is great for landscapes and selfies!^^

Next, we hit up Red Sands Beach where we found a little trail that led back into some pretty private areas.  Bron and I found what we dubbed Pirate's Cove.  The waves came crashing into rocks on our right and the waves on our left were a bit dangerous as well, but smack in the middle was this clear calm area.  So we jumped in!  We climbed up some other rocks to explore and were sprayed by the sea.  It was so fun!  Too bad I didn't bring a camera.

After that little adventure, we stopped at Waianapanapa State Park to see the famous Black Sands Beach.  It was a drop-my-jaw-to-the-floor beautiful coastal area.  See for yourself!  Bron jumped into the waves there to claim he went swimming at the black sand beach.  Later, he was sitting on top of some rocks when a couple of giant waves came in.  The splash soaked him clear through!  Even though I was sopping wet too, I couldn't stop laughing.  I was standing a few feet behind him when he took the brunt of all that salt water.  Hehe.

Throughout the whole day I thought about how much our boys would enjoy all of this.  But at the same time, I was grateful to not have to parent any fights or meltdowns or worry about losing a child, etc.  Such a Catch-22.  I hope to bring them to Hawaii one day anyway.         

^^The above pictures were all taken with my GoPro.  Awesome little point and shoot camera, isn't it?  Plus, it's waterproof!^^

A few pictures to remember our cozy stay at our Airbnb in Kula.  We rented an apartment (the lower half of a home) from a woman who makes this a business.  I'm so glad we stayed there.  I think we got to experience a bit of what real local Maui life is like partway up the volcano, away from the major tourist sites. 

^^Such pretty flowers everywhere!^^
^^View from the hot tub.  We could actually see the ocean!^^
^^Bron made himself some fresh squeezed lemonade from this lemon tree in the yard.^^

Our second full day in Maui, we rented mountain bikes and took on the trails at the Makawao Forest Reserve.  First, I have no words for the giant eucalyptus trees with the colorful bark.  Whoa!  I love you.  Second, the trails were in phenomenal shape.  It was a grind to get to the top, but I don't think I have ever ridden such an epic and flowy downhill trail.  Wow!  So. Much. Fun.  However, I only ate pineapple for breakfast (not a good choice, but such a good choice) so I petered out earlier than both of us would have liked.  No matter, though.  Bron still rode the downhill portion again.  

^^Only one picture from our biking adventure.  The rest is all video!^^

That afternoon, we showered and dressed into something slightly warmer to make our trek to the top of Haleakala (Maui's 10,000+ foot elevation volcano) to see the sun set!  I am so happy I brought my puffy jacket.  The weather was 45 degrees and whipping wind.  But oh my goodness, was it breathtaking to sit above the clouds.  We sat on the lava rock (it's as poky and uncomfortable as it sounds) sheltered from the wind to watch the sun set.  Then we waited in the car for the stars to come out.  There's actually an observatory station up there, and for good reason!  Wow!!!  I felt like we could go home after seeing those incredible views.  Trip complete.  (Except it was only beginning!)
^^Views of the crater.^^

I need to take a minute to honor Spam Musubi.  Yes, your read that right: canned meat on rice wrapped in seaweed.  It's a gas station delicacy that brought me right back to my childhood.  (My family lived in Hawaii for three years.)  I ate it every chance I got this trip!  Yummm.  Bron just shook his head and laughed at me.   

^^On top of the world!^^
^^I can't stop laughing at Bron's face in this!  It tells the story of Bron's feelings as he impatiently waited for the sun to set over the clouds and listened to a neighboring five year old manipulate her mother.  Good times!^^
^^Long exposure above the clouds.  I thought it was so neat that we could see the city lights illuminating the clouds, the sun on the horizon, and the stars in the sky.  Wow!  Have I even said that enough this blog post?  Wow!!!^^

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