I have lived on Maui for three years. I had gone up to Haleakala once in 1971 when I lived on Maui for four years. But, I have not taken the time to drive up there this time around. So, when I was off from work on Monday I decided to take a day off from sewing as well and drove up the mountain. I was glad to have a warm parka as it gets rather chilly at 10,000 ft. in winter. The drive up was beautiful…forests of eucalyptus, vast acres of pasture land, country farm stands. The road winds up the mountain with a number of hairpin turns. It’s a slow winding traverse with lots of scenic view points. I took advantage of these to take some photos. It was amazing to be about 8000 ft. up and still able to see all the way down the mountain to the sea. I could understand why so many tourists make this trip at sunrise. I work for a shuttle/tour company and they drive huge full buses up Haleakala almost every day of the week, picking up from hotels at about 2:30am! I don’t think I would want to drive up or down in the dark for either sunrise or sunset. I was perfectly happy to see it in the brightness of a sunny day.
I am not a great golfer, not even a good golfer, but I have played a few times and enjoyed it. I occasionally watch a major tournament on TV and am familiar with all the top names. When I found out that I would be off on the first day of the Hyundai Tournament of Champions with a line up that included Patrick Reed (last years winner), Jordan Spieth (who won five tournaments last year), Bubba Watson, Rickie Fowler, Jason Day, Dustin Johnson and Zach Johnson and the “old man” David Love III, there was no way I was going to miss this opportunity.
I arrived in the morning to the parking lot and was transported by Roberts Hawaii (the company I work for) on a huge motor coach with individual lights, air and TV. It was like being on an airplane. We arrived at the Kapalua Plantation Course about 20 minutes before the first tee off. I found a bleacher seat on the first hole and watched while one after the other hit the ball looking like it would finally land on the island of Moloka’i! Phew, but they hit those balls hard!
It was a perfect Hawaiian summer day in winter. There was a very light breeze, 83 degrees, the fairways were soft due to a rain the night before, but the greens were extremely fast. I watched all the teams tee off before going on to the course to walk a bit. Because the course was built on the side of a mountain it is way too high up for a trek in sandals, so while the groups were going from hole to hole about a 1000 ft. up I was enjoying lunch at the clubhouse.
One fun thing I was able to do was to have a mini-lesson with a PGA pro. I watched him correcting previous golfers and golfers-to be. When I stepped up he asked if I had played before and I told him a few times. He just said let me see your swing and he placed a ball on a pad at my feet. I did remember much of what my ex-boyfriend had taught me so I placed my feet and swung. It felt perfect. He looked at me and said, “you should be playing golf”. He asked me to take a few more swings and each ball just sailed into the backdrop just where it was suppose to. Finally, he just said, “you should just play!”. I felt really good. I think I will get out my clubs and go to Pukalani a little way down the mountain to take a little practice swing or two.
The leaderboard changed throughout the day. But some the of top players started slowly climbing up the board.
When the top pairings started coming down from the 15th or 16th hole, I took a seat in the grandstands at the 18th hole. There were five players tied for first. Each of he first three pairs made par. The last pair was Spieth and Reed. Spieth was in first, Reed tied for second. Reed hit an amazing shot and so did Spieth. But, the second shot by Reed took him to just a couple of feet from the hole. He finished with an eagle and Spieth birdied the hole. So, Spieth is now alone in first and Reed alone in second with ties all the way down the board. Needless to say it was a grand ending to a fabulous day and I was so thankful to be attending this prestigious tournament.
On Friday while working at the airport I was surprised to see Kuana Torres-Kahele at a baggage claim carousel. I hadn’t heard anything about a pending concert. So, not being shy, I walked over and asked him if he were here just for a visit from the Big Island or did he have something coming up on Maui. Well, yes indeed, he was having a CD release party that night at the Bailey House Museum. Tickets would be selling at the door at 4:30pm. I was scheduled to get off work at 3:00pm. Perfect timing. So, I decided to stay in town and not make the long trip back up to my home in Kula. However, I was clad in my airport uniform–a bright yellow blouse and black pants. I decided the pants could stay, but the blouse would have to go. Off I go to Ross for an inexpensive top. I found a cute black and white striped shirt with a sparkly graphic print and a bonus little short sleeve “jacket” attached. Perfect. I was wearing my utilitarian shoes, had only rubber slippers in the car, so since the pants covers all but the toes, they remained. I was good to go. One stop at the ATM and off I went.
The Bailey House is a lovely little museum just past Wailuku town on the way to Iao Valley. Though somewhat small by museum standards it houses a wonderful array of ancient artifacts–carved fishing hooks, lovely feather lei made from now extinct birds, fighting implements, a wonderful replica of the sailing canoe “The Hokule’a”, huge swaths of tapa. There were little gift shops, upstairs rooms, nooks and crannies of displays, artwork painted by the once owner Mr. Bailey. So many things to see and do. I made a note to myself to visit again when I had more time and a camera.
The concert was to be held on the grassy grounds of the museum. It’s an intimate setting seating maybe 100-150 people. White tents had been erected to cover the musicians as well as the audience in case of rain. However, the night was clear, starry and, wondrous to me, balmy.
The price of the ticket was $35 which I later discovered included Kuana’s latest CD–Pi’ilani Maui. I would’ve paid the $35 just for a chance to see Kauana again and was pleasantly surprised to received the signed CD as a bonus. The island of Maui is the featured island on his “island CD set”. CDs with original songs of Hawai’i Island and Ni’ihau have already been released and Maui was the third in a set of 10. There will be a CD for each of the five remaining islands as well as a CD of original oli (chants). The 10th CD? I have no clue.
The audience was decidedly “local”… colorful aloha shirts, lauhala hats with flower lei or feather bands, glittering Hawaiian bracelets, flowers tucked behind ears. Since there was a booth selling beer, wines, soda, etc. This was a 21 and over crowd. One could buy a dinner from a booth selling a selection of food not normally found at a concert. There was pulled BBQ pork bao which is a soft sweet manapua dough folded over delicious pork. There was poke nachos (a preparation of raw fish, seaweed and spices served over chips), dried saimin, brisket and ceviche. Wow! I had the bao which was absolutely mouthwatering and a beer.
The warm up band, Komakakino is made up of a group of young men from Hilo with whom I am quite familiar. The father of one of the band members, Paul Neves, is a talented well known kumu hula from Hilo. He added to the entertainment by dancing to several of the songs. Though the band members are young and a relatively new group, they are quite professional in their musical talents as well as their look–nice matching aloha shirts and shorts.
Kuana came on after most everyone was done with dinner and feeling cheery from the beer and wine. He was in rare form and was hilariously entertaining, joking with the audience. It was a family lu’au atmosphere…a backyard kanakapila! People from the audience got up and danced. Local Maui singers were called up on stage to thunderous applause. Kuana sang a variety of songs from his Maui album as well as songs from previous albums. He told stories about the backgrounds for some of his songs. He also did melodies from the past adding his own style. The crowed sang along to old classics. I nearly cried at his version Pua Carnation…a beautiful rendition of an old standard.
I’m so glad I worked on that Friday or I would have missed out on a perfect evening of song and dance.
Today was a day off and I had no orders to fill on deadline, so decided to drive to Iao Valley to finish a book I was reading. However, all the tourists on Maui chose to go on this day as well and the parking lot of full. The closest spaces on the road were about a mile away. I know a mile isn’t that far to walk, but we’re having record heat so it was about 94 degrees. As I was driving out I remembered Heritage Park–a collection of cultural houses built in a tropical garden park. I remember going once before about five years ago but at the time had neither camera nor cell. There are several paths meandering through the trees with small replicas of houses, statuary, ponds and lovely cooling breezes. I tried to capture the essence of each little home.
The first thing I noticed on my journey was a large outdoor oven and I immediately knew this was the Portuguese residence. I could imagine the “ala onaona”, the wonderful fragrance of Portuguese sweet bread emanating from the oven calling the children to dinner or breakfast (and probably any neighbors within smelling distance).
As the Portugeuse people were predominately of the Catholic faith, there is a statue of the Virgin Mary surrounded my greenery…looking peaceful and serene, calmly watching over her people.
The house was as colorful as the people of the land. There are striking blue tiles along the top of the white walls and along the doorways.
Next in line came the Filipino cottage which was open air with bamboo walls.
The house was being reconstructed with some of the bamboo being replaced, but it looked as tropical as the Philippines.
Then there is the “uptight haole” house in a New England style. It looked prim and proper as I imagine the missionaries must have looked to the Hawaiian population.
As my phone camera was losing power, I managed to capture the Chinese pagoda style house and the statue with Chinese Kanji reminding the visitors of faith, prosperity and loyalty.
As my phone died I took one last photo of the trees and palapalai fern. I ended up in the Filipino hut reading to the sound of the breezes whisking through the trees on a spectacular Hawaiian day.
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.
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.
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.
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 .
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.
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.
Hana Ranch spreads across the view.
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.