This rather incomplete narrative of the trip is from emails I sent home using a computer in the motel office. We stayed at the Best Western Maui Oceanfront Inn, 2980 S Kihei Road on the shore in Kehei. The room was small - nothing much more than a bedroom with a small table and a bathroom.
It is Sunday morning, 9:30. Happy Mother's Day!
Yesterday we drove "The Road to Hana", a trip around 1/2 of the island. Probably less than 100 miles, but it took 12 hours, at least 8 hours driving. It circles a mountain. Lots of waterfalls and beautiful remote rocky coast. But the road wound constantly and was very narrow in places. There was about 7 miles of gravel road and another 10 of rough payment. There was one tense moment when going down a hill, I shifted into reverse instead of to a lower gear, but fortunately all it did is turn off the engine. Which is not good when you have power steering, but I got it restarted quickly. It nearly gave Carol a heart attack. The far end of the island is not a good place to break down with a rental car. At one point, we had to wait for a big old bull to stagger out of our lane. Maui is a big beef producer, and some of the cattle ranches are on really remote parts of the island.
Nothing planned for today. Maybe I'll do some snorkeling off the little beach in back of the hotel.
Yesterday, Carol came down with a touch of diarrhea, so we stayed close to home. I did some snorkeling in back of our hotel, went again this morning. We've postponed a snorkeling trip to a submerged crater from Tuesday to Thursday. I've booked a guided hiking trip into the crater for Friday.
We've been here almost a week, and Carol has yet to get in the water.
I booked another hike for tomorrow. This one goes into the rain forest to find some waterfalls. Not as long and strenuous as the crater hike Friday. That also is a guided trip - costs about $140. But otherwise I'd have to do it alone, which is probably pretty dangerous.
It's sad when you have to rent people to play with.
Today I went on a guided trip into the rainforest to see waterfalls and such. The guide was a German woman who has lived here for 20 years. She is part of a community of conservationist who are trying to restore the natural, native rainforest. Sounds like a losing battle. Everybody who lives here seems to have multiple jobs. Our guide said she teaches in addition to working for the guide service. They are at www.hikemaui.com. At that site, you can see pictures of their various trips. Today I declined the opportunity to jump off a waterfall into a pool, but I did swim up to the waterfall in the pool. It was a short trip, from 9:00 to 2:00, 2 hours getting there in their van. They provided a sandwich for lunch and lots of fruit - papaya, mandarin orange, organically grown pineapple, mango, and dragon's eye (or something like that).
The rainforest tour was short and leisurely and the guide took a lot of time pointing out and naming plants and providing background. She was a trained naturalist, I think. Tomorrow's hike will be 8 miles in the crater, and the pace will probably be faster just because it is a long trek and less variety. We will see. I just hope the trip doesn't get rained out. We meet up at 8:00 and we are instructed to call before we leave to make sure the trip is still on.
Went to a luau tonight. I was too cautious. Didn't eat and drink enough to get sick. I did enjoy the local foods. The entertainment I didn't care about, but Carol liked it.
This morning we took a boat trip to the Molokini Crater, a submerged crater off the coast here. I took a lot of pictures of fish with my disposable underwater camera. Then we went to another spot where we saw sea turtles. Now we are back at the hotel and it is only 11:00. Tonight is the luau and tomorrow is my hike in the big crater (weather permitting). Carol tried, but gave up on snorkeling. Instead, she used a boogie board with a little glass window.
It is in the 80's here most of the time and sometimes humid. We are on the dry side of the island.
Yesterday we toured a plantation that had a big variety of stuff, probably for the benefit of the tourists. Star fruit, papaya, mango, coconut, pineapple, macadamia nuts, and others I don't remember.
I think the best thing about the island is the beauty - the mountains and the ocean beaches. I think we will spend much of the rest of our time just riding around.
There are a bunch of standard, popular "activities" here. The snorkeling trip to Molokini crater and the sea turtles, watching the sunrise at the top of the crater, bicycling down the crater, driving to Hana (or taking a tour bus). On just about every block there is a shop that books any of these activities for you. Kayaking - in the ocean, not rivers - is also big here.
Carol was having trouble with her stomach yesterday, so we took her to the doctor. He gave her something for nausea and she is better. He thought she might have a virus. She goes back to the doctor Friday, while I am hiking the crater. He's got her on a grilled cheese diet.
Yesterday I took a guided hike into the Haleakala Crater. There were just 4 of us - the guide, who was a botanist, and a young couple (late thirties?) from Florida. He is a urologist. They were trying to get in shape for another trip, scaling Mt. Rainier. And they said that eventually they want to climb Mt. Everest. Then again, they could just be trying to impress. They seemed to have plenty of money.
There is a winding, but smooth, 2-lane blacktop all the way to the top - 10,000 feet. We drove up there and took a few pictures, then went back down to 6,000 feet to begin the hike. We descended to the floor of the crater, which is at 3,000 feet. It was a rocky trail, forcing me to concentrate mostly on where I was stepping. I've decided I'd rather hike uphill than downhill. Later, someone said we took no longer hiking up that we did hiking down.
We zig-zagged down the crater wall and usually felt pretty safe, although there were some pretty sharp dropoffs. The vegetation was beautiful. There was a "tree fern" that had red as well as green leaves and lots of yellow primroses along the trail. At the bottom, there was grass and lava outcroppings. It looked nothing like it did from above. We hiked another mile to one of about 5 cabins on the floor of the crater that people rent. We went there only to use the outhouse and eat lunch, which was muffins, granola bars, and macadamia nuts because Roger, the guide, had forgot to pack the turkey sandwiches.
A couple of chukkars - similar to a grouse - hung around the cabin. There were also pheasants - plain old ring neck pheasants like we have at home - but they stayed away from us. We could hear them crowing and we saw a few.
The ascent got me panting a little, but the old guy (me) kept up pretty well. I lagged behind some, but part of the reason was that I was snapping pictures. I have 7 rolls of 24 so far. I didn't notice any extra difficulty caused by the high altitude. We were prepared for the cold, but I stripped down to a T-shirt soon after we started. We didn't get rained on, but much of the time we were in the clouds and couldn't see more than 100 feet.
This morning, Carol and I started to drive our rental up the mountain, but the fog/rain turned us back. Later, we went to a valley in the west mountains. (Maui is called the "valley isle" because it has 2 sets of mountains with a valley between.) But this was a different valley, a valley within the west mountains [the Io valley]. It has steep, high, heavy-vegetated walls with a river running through it, but we got rained out. And it looks like rain for the next 2 days.
We got back yesterday. It was a long day. Carol had wanted to go to the top of Haleakela, the 10,000 foot mountain where I hiked down to the bottom of the crater, but the weather kept us away. But the forecast said it would possibly be clear Wednesday morning, so we got up at 5:00, finished packing, ate breakfast at the same place we'd had breakfast every single other day, and headed up. It was clear. Carol struggled with fear and stomach pains, but we made it all the way to the top. She was pleased. She didn't want to come home. But we got down, ate lunch, and made our flight at 2:00.