Hanohano O Maui

When I lived on Maui about 40 years ago I was working full-time and became a new wife so I spent most of the time at work or at home and did little traveling or exploring. Years later my perception of Maui was that of small cities like Kahului, Kihei and Lahaina, tourists stops with little for the local population. Now that I’m living on Maui again I’m trying to imagine how I ever had that perception. For some reason I was never aware of how rural Maui really is. It does have its little cities, but most of the island is agriculture, pastureland and forest. It is incredibly verdant. It is a country girls dream.

Today was another of those perfect days that I’ve experienced on Maui this time around. I got up and decided to treat myself to breakfast. So, off I went to a friend-recommended place in upper Kula called Grandma’s Coffee House or Grandma’s Maui Cafe as they have now expanded to menu. What a treat! I had a superior omelet made with fresh basil, fresh Kula tomatoes and feta cheese. So ono! The little place had a continuous stream of people, young moms with babies, families, upcountry cowboys. They had an array of yummy looking pastries, but I refrained for once.

Grandma's Coffee House in Kula, Maui
Grandma’s Coffee House in Kula, Maui

On my way down the mountain I came across a delightful fruit and vegetable stand and made a stop since veggies were on my grocery list. I’m so thankful I did. Not only did I discover Kula strawberries and amazing cucumbers, zucchini, dicon and asparagus, but the proprietor was listening to the country-western station and I now have it programmed on my radio dial! The farm stand was gearing up for Halloween with a soon to be opened pumpkin patch for the keiki. The place was a veritable playground for families with bunnies, bee hives, a Sesame Street garden, picnic tables and sunflowers. When I went to pay for my veggies, I had a $20 and aside that I had almost the exact change less $.20, but the owner just said to catch it on a future run. How great was that?

Kula Farm stand
Kula Farm stand

Sesame Street Garden
Sesame Street Garden

The last part of my perfect day was spent at Iao Valley. This is in the West Maui Mountains which gets 400+ inches of rain a year and supplies most of Maui with its water. Kamehameha I fought for supremacy at this very place in his quest to unite the islands under one rule. It is absolutely stunning in its greenery.
Iao Needle is right in the middle of the valley and is a sight to see.
I finally got someone to snap a photo of me so I had proof that was actually here.
I can’t seem to get away from inclines, but this one I just jogged up without a problem.
There were huge kalo plants, thick laua’e and lau ki in abundance. At one time the valley was planted in kalo, but after the islands were developed by foreigners sugar cane was planted instead.
<img src="https://sewmehawaii.files.wordpress.com/2013/09/dscn0860.jpg?w=300" alt="DSCN0860" width="300" height="224" class="alignleft size-medium ;
Lau ki for wrapping laulau, making lei, flower arrangement, etc.
Lau ki for wrapping laulau, making lei, flower arrangement, etc.

Iao Valley, Maui
Iao Valley, Maui

All is all it was a perfect day and now I get to go to hula and learn how to make a lei po’o of laua’e and ti.

Discovering Olinda

I’m still exploring my new island and decided on my day off to take a late afternoon hike through the State Reforestation Project which is open to the public. It is in the beautiful and rural upcountry of Olinda, Maui. The weather was cool and while I usually don’t like the idea of hiking alone, the trail was wide and flat and inviting. So, off I went.


When I got to a junction of intersecting trails, I decided to take the Spring Trail. I saw the word Loop Trail below, but in my mind I connected the two. The Spring trail is .8 miles and was relatively easy.

The Spring Trail
The Spring Trail

However after about .3 mild all of a sudden it started going precipitously downward at a fairly steep angle. The trail narrowed to just a path with angles that traversed across a rather steep cliff. After about 10 bends I was going at a good pace when I looked down and noticed my camera was hanging by its strap, but the case with my car keys and ID were no longer attached. Oh no, I would have to go up the trail to find it which I did about three traverses up. At this point I thanked God I wouldn’t have to go up this again as, yes, this is a loop trail. So, I retraced my steps and continued on my way down.

Developing a bit of a challenge
Developing a bit of a challenge

I was not wearing hiking boots. I had on my walking shoes which have a flat sole and it started to get a little slippery and every time I saw the “Hazardous Cliff” sign, I gave pause, but it was such a lovely day and I would be coming to the loop soon enough and would wend my way back to the beginning.


No sooner had I thought this I reached the bottom which led me to a rock bowl and a sign that said “End of the Trail”. It was then I realized the Loop Trail was entirely separate and I would have to climb upwards across all those traversing angles and steep cliffs. After about 5 or 6 diagonal treks I was out of breath and wondering if I could possibly suffer a heart attack alone on the trail. It has been a while since my heart beat was up in the high range and it felt like my shirt was lifting off my skin with each beat. But, with occasional rests, I made it back to the junction and was never so happy in my life to see flat ground again!

The reforestation apparently is going well. The pines are about 80-100 ft. tall and straight as an arrow. And, they have planted a few native Koa trees as well.

On my way back home I stopped to take a couple of pictures of upcountry rural Maui…

I am trying to take the time between working full time and trying to keep my business afloat to document my newest adventure. I think the next time I take a hike, I will do so with a partner!