Waianapanapa and Beyond

Since moving to Maui I have been working two jobs and my free time is limited to random days off. But, this past weekend I found, due to schedule changes, that I had two days off in a row from my full time job and no pressing orders for my own on-line business…the first time this has happened in over a year. Sooooooo, I took advantage of this amazing opportunity and decided to go camping in Hana. For those of you who have been following my blog, you will remember my trip to Hana with my son. It’s a beautiful journey, however on that trip we had a lot of rain which dampened the experience a bit. This time the weather was perfect. I packed my tent, sleeping bag, a cooler with snacks, etc. a beach chair, bathing suit and away I went. Of course I had to make a few stops between my onset to my destination of Waianapanapa. You can not travel the Hana Hwy. without stopping for banana bread! Or, making a little detour to the Keanae Penisula, or having coffee and Blueberry/Lilikoi muffins at the Hana Bay Cafe or…

The Hana Bay Cafe is a jewel. They have everything from local plate lunches to pastries that are made fresh each morning. It overlooks the blue waters where families gather to swim and picnic. In the same building next door there were church services going on–hmmmm on Saturday. It was a lively group–singing, playing ukulele and guitar. Most were dressed in beach clothing, wearing slippers and shorts. But, they were equally vocal in their praise. It was open for anyone.

Onward to Waianapanapa State Park. Since I was camping alone I was glad to see other campers at the site. The grounds of this state park are filled with trees, most chose to pitch their tents away from the trees toward the back of the park, I pitched mine under the trees near an ancient Hawaiian cemetery. I was happy to know that when the State Park was formed, they didn’t disturb the burial area and simply left the rock wall separating it from the rest of the grounds.

Cemetery at Waianapanapa State Par
Cemetery at Waianapanapa State Park

My trees and my tent. I love my tent! It sleeps four, but I love having all the extra room to myself. It’s easy to put up. And although I folded it before my departure, I was unable to get it back into its carrying case, so that’s something I will have to do again at home.
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Since the sun was shining, I was settled in, so I went for a swim down at the black sand beach. Well, not really sand, more like small smooth black pebbles which were very hot on the feet! I think I could hear a sizzle when I stepped into the cool water. Next time I will leave my slippers closers to the water’s edge. There was a fairly strong current and I’m not a strong swimmer, so I didn’t venture far. But, the water was so refreshing.

After my swim I took the trail to the Waianapanapa Caves. I think if I had someone with me I would’ve gone into the crystal fresh waters of the cave, but I wasn’t brave enough to chance a slip and fall with no one within shouting distance. The caves are somewhat dark, lit only partially by the sun. The water is so clear that each stone on the bed was visible. I was unable to judge the depth, but I think it was deeper than it appears.

Waianapanapa Caves
Waianapanapa Caves

I read a lot, something I’ve not had a lot of time to do. Though I enjoy my Nook, I still enjoy turning the crisp pages of paper. I snacked on cold chicken, cheese, an apple and when night fell, I moved inside with my lantern to read myself to sleep.

I didn’t stay long on Sunday as I wanted to drive the back way home and knew this would be slow-going. I had never gone around the back side of the island and wanted to make a stop at ‘Ohe’o Ponds before heading home. Oh my, I’m so glad I stopped. This area is usually referred to as Seven Sacred Pools. The water falls from high up the mountain forming pools as it tumbles down on its journey to the ocean. The higher pools are quite a trek up so I decided to go to the lower three. The pool I finally went swimming in was quite large, the water clear and cool, the water fall refreshing. The ponds are deep enough so as not to be able to touch bottom. Though closer to the edges rocks from a kind of mossy stairway. I am generally freaked out by mossy, slimy rocks, but for some reason these didn’t bother me. The freshwater limu waved back and forth with the water’s movement and seemed more like a carpet than critter-filled .

Crystal waters of O'he'o Ponds
Crystal waters of O’he’o Ponds

I was told of another pool with a higher waterfall just mountain side of the Alelele Bridge so I stopped there as well, but no one at the lower pool knew about it, so I decided not to hike there. I did discover ‘ili’ili heaven though. For a hula dancer these are smooth stones that are held two to a hand and clicked together much like castanets. WP_20140914_026
In hindsight, I probably shouldn’t have stopped at all as when backing out, I scraped the paint off the rear fender of a rental car!

The following photos were taken along the drive which, at times, was harrowing. At one point the road narrowed to a one lane narrow dirt trek with the mountain on one side and a steep precipice to the ocean on the other with no guard rails. Needless to say it was slow going. This is not a trip for the faint-hearted! But, it was very scenic.
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Beautiful Hawaiian walls that can go on for miles. that is still used today.
Beautiful Hawaiian walls that can go on for miles. Stacked without mortar. There is a art to building them that is still used today.

Hana Ranch spreads across the view. WP_20140914_005 WP_20140914_006

When I reached the top of the narrow drive, the road widened and appeared to be recently paved. What a blessing! I rounded a corner and there across the ocean was Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa on the Big Island of Hawai’i. I was filled with nostalgia. My home for 40 years, it was a little sad to see it from such distance. The rest of the drive was easy…a stop at the Ulupalakua General store for an Elk Burger and at the Tedeschi Winery for a bottle of Ulupalakua Red and down the mountain to Kula where I unloaded my car and thought of where my next day-trip would take me.



Yesterday I had an incredibly stressing incident at work that had me shaking for hours afterward: We had a couple come in and needed a shuttle to a hotel, however they didn’t speak English, only Spanish. I tried to explain to them with drawings, sign language and what little Spanish I remember from high school how much it would cost to go one way and for a round trip. Well, apparently he didn’t comprehend and when I printed out his round trip ticket he started pounding on the desk and yelling No, No, NO!!! He tore up his receipt then grabbed all the scraps and stalked off. I had the supervisor cancel his order. A few minutes later he comes stomping back with the police in tow. We had to explain the circumstances to the police while the man was screaming at me and pointing to my drawings and costs. He then went to another shuttle company who quoted him $2 less which seemed to infuriate him further so continued to yell at me from across the airport. Apparently they were better at drawing so he bought a ticket from them. His wife got involved by wanting to make sure the credit card was cancelled, but spoke no English and started yelling at me to speak Spanish. I had had about enough so I said, “‘olelo Hawai’i ame pelekane au. Keia Hawai’i ma ‘o Amelika, ‘a’ole Espana kakou! ‘olelo pelekane kakou!” Then I translated it for her, “I speak Hawaiian and English. This is Hawai’i in America. We don’t speak Spanish, we speak English!” I wrote a note telling her the charges had been cancelled, told her to give them to someone to translate. They left.

I love working in transportation at the airport. I so enjoy meeting people from all over the world. But, occasionally we run into people who have just had a bad day, don’t understand or are just curmudgeons. I’m thankful they are few and far between.

So, this weekend I’m going to go to Waianapanapa State Park to camp overnight. I’m so in need of some time away from work, my sewing machine and a new place to explore. I will take photos!

Kihei and Wailea—how different can we be?

I go to a sweet Hawaiian church in Kihei on the South Coast of Maui. And, since it was my day off I decided after the service to drive through Kihei to the next district of Wailea. Oh my, what a distance a few miles make in both scenery and vibe.

The town of Kihei is very family oriented and has a distinctive local vibe. There is an abundance of parks, beaches, little shops with quaint names like Snorkel Bob’s and Boss Frogg. They rent anything a beach goer might need from snorkel equipment to sand chairs; paddle boards to surfboards. There are a lot of little restaurants for pizza, tacos, shave ice or the standard local fare…the plate lunch. Cars park everywhere and bicycles are definitely the secondary mode of transportation.WP_20140831_001


However, Kihei gets very little rain so is often very hot and dry. It’s the perfect place for beach activities but the heat gets to me in a very short time.

Kiawe and palm trees thrive, but little else
Kiawe and palm trees thrive, but little else



So onward into Wailea. The feeling immediately changes from local style to tourist elite. Here is the home of the four star hotels…The Andaz, The Grand Wailea, The Four Seasons and the Marriott Wailea Beach. The streets are manicured, the trees are trimmed, flowers are planted everywhere. The temperature drops about 20 degrees! It’s beautiful but feels like a fine sculpture behind velvet ropes. Only a few get to touch and the others can only dream.
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The Grand Wailea Hotel...the grounds are just spectacular
The Grand Wailea Hotel…the grounds are just spectacular

I decided to go to the Shops of Wailea–oh my..way out of my league, but fun to visit.

Even the parking area was nice and cool. My little car fit right in!

My car sat in the shade while I walked through Gucci, LV, Tiffany's, and upscale art galleries. The second floor is a little more "local" with a surf shop, ABC store and an ice cream shop.
My car sat in the shade while I walked through Gucci, LV, Tiffany’s, and upscale art galleries. The second floor is a little more “local” with a surf shop, ABC store and an ice cream shop.

All in all my day was a good one. Today, I went to another amazing Botanical Garden…soon!