My Thoughts on the Mahana Ridge Trail

Mahana Ridge Trail

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.

Mahana Ridge Trail

Entering the shade on the Mahana Ridge Trail.

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.

Mahana Ridge Trail

Mahana Ridge Trail, Maui

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.


Mahana Ridge Trail

Eucalyptus trees on the Mahana Ridge Trail.

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.

Mahana Ridge Trail

Fallen needles from a Norfolk pine tree.

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.


Mahana Ridge Trail

Tall grass on the trail.

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.

Mahana Ridge Trail

Guava trees on the Mahana Ridge Trail.

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.

Mahana Ridge Trail

Moss covered fallen trees.

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.

Mahana Ridge Trail

The gate in between the Mahana Ridge Trail and the Maunalei Arboretum Trails.

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!

Jean Marie Lile

End of the trail.

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.

Maunalei Arboretum

Maunalei Arboretum trail head in Kapalua.

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!

Big Waves in Maui

Big waves at the Hookipa Beach Park.

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.

Hookipa Beach Park

Sunset at Hookipa Beach Park


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?



  1. Jeanie October 23, 2012 at 1:10 pm #

    I like! And I am so very happy for you.

    • Jean October 23, 2012 at 1:22 pm #

      Thank you!

  2. Paul Lile October 23, 2012 at 5:26 pm #

    I liked this blog a lot. I am in LAX waitng to go to Philly. Wish I was going west to hike the Hawaiian islands with you. Have fun. Dad

    • Jean October 23, 2012 at 6:49 pm #

      Ahhhh, that would be awesome! Have a safe flight. Thank you!

  3. bill October 23, 2012 at 9:52 pm #

    I love it and want to read more! I’m hooked Jean! Your photos and descriptions really make you feel like you are there and experiencing things first hands.

    Look forward to your next blog update and thinking of you frequently.

  4. LT October 26, 2012 at 5:57 pm #

    I love your posts! And I loved this one because you put your sweaty backpack on the folder and them ran away. Haha. Made me laugh out loud. Miss you! Glad you’re having an amazing experience. Can’t wait to see more!!!! Xo

  5. michelle October 30, 2012 at 11:46 am #

    Love it! Not long enough, I am sure I can speak for other readers too that I wanted more….. I look forward to the next.

    • Jean October 30, 2012 at 5:07 pm #

      Thank you for reading and commenting!

  6. meg October 30, 2012 at 2:57 pm #

    Just so amazing jean- it is like I am there- your pictures I like the BESTEST ! ! I gravitate to the visual – and your are fantastic. You have created wonderful karma- to land a SUV-ride back to your truck…. and the North Shore…. heaven. If I don’t reach you on the 31 H A P P Y H A P P Y – I spend my 58th in Thailand, by myself – it was “never forget-it” day…. I love you

    • Jean October 30, 2012 at 5:10 pm #

      Thank you so much Meg! I have been so lucky lately with kind people helping me out, I can’t believe my good fortune.

  7. Pat November 6, 2012 at 5:59 pm #

    Loved it.

  8. Jenn November 7, 2012 at 9:16 pm #

    Jean! First of all the pictures are unbelievable as usual :) You are so descriptive, and as a reader I felt like i was on that hike with you. If i could think of any suggestion at all, it would be insert more jean marie humor and realism into you’re writing – like sweating profusely, and stinking up the car.. that made me laugh out loud.. AMAZING job on all of your blogs.. keep it coming sista!!

    • Jean November 8, 2012 at 12:51 pm #

      Thank you Jenn!

  9. Cecilia Moore March 15, 2013 at 5:11 pm #

    Dear Jean Marie,

    Aloha! Thank you for taking our Honey Moon/Anniversary photos on Mar.8, 2013 in Maui. My husband and I have watched the DVD couple of times, we loved it. Thank you for “making” the beautiful memories for us.

    I like your photos and the descriptions in your blog, it seems I can hear you talking gently next to us.

    Jean, once again, my pleasure to meet you, please let me know if you come to SF next time.

    Please continue to enjoy your life in that beautiful island.


    A big hug to you!

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