Hawaii – One Relaxing Day

April 11, 2014

Taking a break after the trek across the ancient lava fields, we decided to enjoy a rest day to unwind…or so we thought.

We stopped at Grandma’s Coffee House in Kula for a hearty breakfast & locally grown coffee.

The row of stores along the highway provide a nice rest stop for drivers/bikers.

We drove uphill towards the Polipoli Springs State Recreational Area for hikes into the redwood forest.

Overlooking the Northern shore. There are several paragliding schools along the way.

It has been raining for the past few days and the road conditions got progressively worse, so we decided to turn around.

However, with our 2WD compact we got stuck in a big puddle. I got out to spot for Carmen and told her to step hard on the gas!
Mud went spraying everywhere and we watched as thick globs of mud splashed through the open window into the passenger side….

Driving down the mountain, we headed straight to the nearest department store to buy cleaning supplies. Carmen felt so embarrassed to be driving such a dirty car!

Many people gave us the thumbs up or came to find out what happened while we were cleaning the interior. One local gave us directions to a self service car wash nearby.

All better! I think in the end the passenger seat had a slight brown tint to it….

Since it was such a sunny day we decided to go to the beach to swim and relax. We drove along Hwy 31 and parked near Kamaole Beach Park in Kihei. Got changed and all ready to go!

Just as we waded into waist level, the life guards made the announcement for everyone to step out of the water. Turns out they could see a shark swimming in the very shallow areas. So no swimming…

We did walk around the area, play some frisbee, and spot sea turtles swimming near the shoreline.

Heading up north, we stopped at Makawao, a thriving/artistic town around dusk for dinner.

So our rest days didn’t exactly pan out, but it made for some good stories :)

Posted on April 11th, 2014 at 1:16 pm and is filed under Hawaii> Outdoors> Travel
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Hawaii – Haleakalā & King’s Highway

April 5, 2014

To see the sunrise from the top of Haleakalā (“House of the Sun”), we started driving up along Crater Road (Route 378) in the upcountry region at 5am, it was pitch black as we navigate along the 22 miles course towards the summit. Occasionally we can see other cars’ headlights snaking along the curves.

Here is a view from Puʻu ʻUlaʻula (Red Hill) – the tallest peak of Haleakalā at 10,023 feet (3,055 m).

It was really foggy when we arrived at the summit but the wind pushed the clouds aside just in time for the sunrise, however short lived.

You can see the outline of Big Island in the distance!

We wanted some hiking but the conditions were foggy and rainy so we decided to try again.

Conditions improved as we descended to below 7000ft.

We picked up some fresh produce from a farmer’s market just before entering Kihei.

Driving past some rocky roads over old lava flow, we reached the south western corner of the island (Makena Coast) for the King’s Highway.

Commissioned by King Piʻilani, the King’s Highway is 138 miles long to encircle the island and connected all the villages along the coast.

Hiking down some rock outcrops just past La Perouse Bay, where sometimes Dolphins go there to rest in the early mornings (we didn’t see any though).

At the southern tip of the island.

Part of the trail heading inland. You can see the old lava flow in this distance.

After completing the trail we drove along the western shoreline to Lahaina.

We had fun walking along the main street of the town with a good mix of shops, restaurants, and history.

In the evening we attended a dinner performance at the Old Lahaina Luau. In this traditional Hawaiian party there was a variety of traditional Hawaiian dishes such as kalua pig, poi, poke, and haupia.

Dancing is a big part of the celebration and in the stage the performers showed off different styles and eras.

Posted on April 5th, 2014 at 10:29 am and is filed under Hawaii> Outdoors> Travel
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Hawaii – Road to Hāna & Back Side of Haleakalā

March 25, 2014

The next day, after the loop along the Honoapiilani Highway, we headed towards the Eastern tip of Maui.

We embarked onto Hwy 36 – Road to Hāna, through lush, tropical rainforest.

Starting from Paia, the distance to Hana is about 42miles (68km) with approximately 620 curves and crosses over 59 bridges – 46 of which are only one-lane wide.

Being a tropical rainforest means there are a lot of rain. And we happened to pick a particularly rainy day to make the drive.

Hiking through some redwood forest.

There are quite a few fruit stands along the way, it is a great way to try fresh, ripe produce. Just drop some money in the jars provided!

Making a detour into Keanae, it was really windy that day and we stood for about half an hour just watching the waves.

Keanae from above, you can see the grid of taro fields below.

Lots of beautiful curves/lookouts along the way, but it is often difficult to find a safe spot to pull-over.

Coconut Glen’s Ice cream made with coconut milk. Bowls and spoons are made with coconut shells. It was delicious!

Arriving at Hana we wandered around town and bought some groceries. Then we went to Koki beach to watch the waves.

Next day we continued on towards Haleakala National Park.

Hiking the Pīpīwai Trail (4-mile round trip) in the Kipahulu Forest Reserve.

At the base of the Waimoku Falls watching the water tumble for 400ft.

A lush bamboo forest, you can hear the leaves rustling and the bamboo creaking in the wind.

After the hike, the typical route is to turn back and take the same route, but we decided to try the trail on the back side of the Haleakala.

For the first 12 miles the road is unpaved and often only wide enough for 1 car. We were worried how the heavy rain would affect the road conditions.

But it is a spectacular drive winding along the coast and overall much less traffic.

Farms of the local Hawaiians. They all drive pick-up trucks and 4x4s.

Finally arriving at the Upcountry region for our next stay!

Enjoying a meal at Kula Bistro, a very popular local restaurant. Highly recommended!

Posted on March 25th, 2014 at 9:07 pm and is filed under Hawaii> Outdoors> Travel
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Hawaii – Arriving in Maui

March 19, 2014

Leaving Friday evening from Toronto, we arrived at midnight in LA for a 10hr layover. Coincidentally it was Linda’s birthday so we went for Korean food and then over to their place which turned it into one of the best layovers ever!

After 28hrs, we finally have a glimpse of the turquoise waters lapping the Maui shores.

A bit tired but glad to feel the warm weather.

Our rental car, a Chevrolet Spark. Petite but sufficient for what we needed.

Early morning watching the big waves crashing over Ho‘okipa Beach.

Fish Market at the small but bustling town of Paia, the food is good here!

We drove along the Northern coast line and hiked the Waihee Ridge Trail.

Hiking into the West Maui Forest Reserve with lush scenery, great valley views.

Near the summit looking back.

In the distance is Haleakala, a dormant volcano towering over the East side of the island.

After the hike we continued along the Honoapiilani Highway with many blind corners and narrow stretches for only 1 car to pass.

We stopped along the way to buy some homemade banana bread and fresh fruits.

A short hike from the road, some people even hiked down to swim in the tide pools.

We just stopped at the school bus to enjoy a cold smoothie.

Rounding around the Northern loop, the Maalaea Harbor with a variety of ocean going activities.

Enjoy the sunset then off to enjoy some Mahi Mahi.

Posted on March 19th, 2014 at 11:23 pm and is filed under Hawaii> Outdoors> Travel
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All images Copyrighted by Samuel Cheng.