Last week I had another amazing day! It started off with a delicious coffee from Hawaiian Village Coffee in Kahana. Next up, a solo hike on the Mahana Ridge Trail. The trail can be reached through a golf course in Kapalua. The walk brings you through a tunnel and up a steep dirt road before you arrive on the trail end.
As the trail began I was walking through tall grass which lead me to a grey wooded area. Tall pine trees above provided me with shade and the fallen needles created a thick blanket below my feet. The path ran alongside a steep drop off. At first the coloring of the trail was grey and ghostly. There wasn’t much growing aside from the trees in the ground. I rounded a corner and there was a burst of green. It was a large grouping of giant Bromildahids.
The landscape and terrain change drastically throughout the hike, which I love! When you least expect it the environment shifts from dry and barren to lush and green.
Before long I was back in the hot sun, walking up a dry red dirt trail, my elevation increasing with each step. This part of the trail reminded me of the Candyland game. There were longer more level paths to take, or shorter and steeper cut throughs. It winds up the side of a mountain and hosts jug handles galore.
Soon there were thriving green shrubs on each side and the view was getting better with each forward movement. I loved the contrast of the red trail, lush greenery and the deep blue sky. Again I found myself feeling like I was the only person in the world, exploring on a deserted island.
I turned around and there was an amazing view of Moloka’i, another island across the water. I knelt down to take a picture, and I as stood up the button on my shorts popped off! I should have worn a belt…
I found a hair clip in my bag I thought would help keep my shorts up, but after only a few minutes I had lost it. I knew my pants would keep falling down if I didn’t secure them. That would not be convenient, especially while on a hike.
All of a sudden a light bulb went off in my head, I remembered a 3 inch black strapy thing with a clip for fastening. I don’t know why I had this at home or where I got it from. I do remember thinking it was small and might come in handy one day so I packed it in my bag pack for this trip. I threaded it through the button hole and my belt loop, viola! It worked perfectly! Before long I was happily on my way again.
Just as I started to feel like I needed a break from the strong rays of the sun and the steep incline I found myself entering another wooded area. All of a sudden the path leveled out and I was greeted by a cool breeze. The only sounds were the songs from the birds and the tall Eucalyptus trees swaying in the wind, which sounded like squeaky doors opening and closing.
I have no worries, no stress, no plans, I just am. I enjoy the feeling of solitude and the quietness. I have discovered that I prefer hiking alone. I frequently stop while I am hiking to take it all in and to absorb all of the beauty around me. Not to mention the pictures I take, I’m constantly stopping for photographs.
When I’m hiking with others sometimes I feel bad because I feel like I hold them back. Or the flip side is I’m constantly trying to catch up. It’s nice to enjoy the hike at my own pace and to take my time with the experience.
Eventually I am thrust back out into the sun. The path has turned back into dry red dirt again, and there are bushes on each side. This doesn’t last long. Shortly I am back under the cover of a different type of tall pine tree called a Norfolk Pine. The ground is littered with fallen needles which created a colorful and beautiful sight. They reminded me of when the leaves change during Fall in Pennsylvania.
I also found myself walking through areas with tall grass, as though I was walking through a field. The sun beat down on me and I was starting to get really hot again. I rounded corner and like magic I was greeted by another refreshing breeze.
The path was once again lined with tall trees. These were Guava trees and the fallen fruit infused the air with a sweet smell. The bark had colorful areas of orange and green. The ground on both sides of the trail was completely covered with big healthy ferns.
Plants were growing right out of old fallen trees. There was life and growth thriving everywhere. In some areas the moss covering the tree roots was so thick and bright it looked like shag carpet or a muppet’s fur.
The Mahana Ridge Trail ended at a gate which lead to the Arboretum Trail, which I followed to the end. There was a large bayan tree. These trees are really cool, the branches reach out and then become roots and attach themselves back into the ground.
Not much longer and I exited the woods to find myself next to a big field. Between the 2 trails I covered about 8.75 miles. There was a picnic bench in the shade where I sat down to have a drink. I felt glorious!
I had been told there was a shuttle which would pick me up and bring me back to the side I had started on. After sitting there for a little while I saw a big sign. I walked over to see if I could investigate the shuttle situation a little more throughly. I guess I had assumed the shuttle was on a schedule and showed up a few times throughout the day. Which it does, but apparently you should call first to reserve a seat. If no seats are reserved the shuttle will not show. There was a board with the phone number to call, but my phone didn’t have service there. I also realized that most people get dropped off and begin the hike where I had ended it. So I wasn’t confident anyone else would show up behind me having reserved a seat.
Next to the picnic bench there was a driveway, I figured I would walk down the street and try to find a ride. Or maybe the wind would blow and service would be restored to my phone.
Unfortunately as I walked down the driveway I realized there was a locked gate at the end and I couldn’t get through. I now know that on the other side of that gate is a private neighborhood with ginormous houses.
At this point I am starting to get a little concerned. Only about 1 1/2 hours before my friend finshed work, and I had no way to reach her. All of a sudden the gate opens and a shiny souped up SUV rolls through. They were driving slowly, I decided my best bet was to ask them for a ride. My lucky day! They kindly agreed to drive me back to the Ritz at Kapula where I had parked the truck.
Classical music was playing in the background and they were speaking in another language. I think they were house hunting in that ritzy neighborhood. After the long hike I felt amazing, but I was really hot, sweaty and disgusting. They had the air conditioning on, but left their windows open the entire ride, I think I might have been just a tad bit stinky. When I walk around with my camera backpack it is like I’m wearing a winter coat and I sweat profusely.
After about 20 minutes or so they dropped me off. I said thank you and grabbed my backpack off the seat. As I did so I looked down with horror to see that I had accidentally placed my bag on top of a thick folder full of paperwork. Which now, was also covered with my sweat. So embarassing! I quickly said thank you for the ride and ran off before they noticed.
I really enjoyed the hike and if you decide to try it out; make sure to wear sneakers, I had on sturdy sandals. They were okay, but I did end up with 2 blisters. If I had realized I was going to do the hike that morning I would have chosen different footwear. Make sure to bring some snacks and plenty of water. I had a granola bar and an apple, I think a PB & J would have been a nice addition. Sunblock is a must, as it is everywhere here. Reserve your shuttle seat before you begin the hike. And finally, don’t rush it, stop every once in a while and appreciate where you are, take it all in, enjoy the moment.
It was such an awesome and amazing day! And as a bonus, all of a sudden I had some extra time to kill. I decided to check out Dolly’s and enjoy a frosty beverage. The perfect refreshment after a long hike!
As if the day wasn’t awesome enough… After I cleaned myself up some friends and I drove over to the North Shore, to watch the big waves coming in. First we had to walk through a big field full of large cow turds. It was totally worth it and many others had the same idea.
People often ask me what my plans are and where I’m headed next. I usually just spout out a small list of places I want to check out that would make sense geographically. For some reason I started to think that maybe I should have more concrete answers to those questions. I have been here for almost a month now, and people always say Maui is a small island…. So for a day or 2 I thought maybe I should be getting ready to move on soon… But I actually think Maui is a pretty big island, at least compared to the other islands I’ve been on. I’ve decided my new plan, is still not to make a plan. I’m just going to continue to go with the flow. I’m not finished with Maui yet. I like it here and there are still a lot of places I want to see and a lot of things I want to do…..
Okay guys, so this post is quite a bit lengthier than previous ones, what do you think? Do you like it or is it too long?