Ahhh, Maui — waterfalls, snorkeling, deserts, oh my!In Travel
As I type, I am sitting on a plane bound from Maui to LA, with sweet home Chicago as my final destination. I was able to stay on Maui for free thanks to the wonderful generosity of my good friend’s parents–they have some condos out there and let David and I stay there for free along with my friend and her husband. It was a wonderful reminder that I am extremely lucky to be living the life I am living. Most people don’t even get the chance to visit Maui, and this is the second time I have been able to come in three years.
We got to spend a week on this wonderful island, and thanks to the adventurous nature of my friend and her husband, I was able to do a lot more than I anticipated. I went snorkeling three times, seeing tons of tropical fish, coral, eels, squids and even an octopus that inked because it was scared. We saw the largest blowhole on the island, hiking down a rocky cliff to get there. We also went around the island on the road to Hana, stopping for a two mile hike up a mountain to see the largest waterfall on the island. I probably wouldn’t have done all of these things if I had been left to my own devices (I’m very adventurous except when I have my “relaxing vacations”) but I’m so glad I went.
The snorkeling was absolutely breathtaking. I went snorkeling the last time I was on Maui, but I seem to have forgotten how absolutely breathtaking underwater sea life is. There were some great coral reefs right outside of our hotel, so it was very easy to just hop up and go (and my friends had extra snorkel gear, which made life easier). One of the times, we made our way to Honolua Bay, which is a great rocky beach a few miles north of our hotel. It was here that we saw the eels, squid and octopus. If anyone wants a great snorkeling spot on Maui, I would highly recommend it. As I was snorkeling, I was reminded how much I love animals. Just seeing the diversity of the wildlife under the sea was breathtaking, and I found myself simply staring at a single fish and watching its activity for long stretches of time.
Another great trip we took was a hike to the Nakalele Blowhole, the largest on the island. You can always read wikipedia, but a blowhole is essentially when there’s a cavern underground from the ocean that extends to a hole on the surface. When a wave comes into the shore, it goes under the cavern and the pressure causes water to shoot up the hole. W had to hike down a rocky cliff to get there, but it was well worth it. The blowhole was a great site to see, not to mention the lovely desert-like scenery around it.
Last, but certainly not least, we did the amazing road to Hana. For these unfamiliar, this is a 100 mile road that goes to the remote east end of Maui. 50 of the miles go through winding, mountainous cliffs on the north side that is extremely tropical (think Jurassic Park) with waterfalls about every quarter-mile. The other 50 miles, after you pass the small village of Hana, goes to the south of the island. You pass so many different climates in the road, it’s kind of ridiculous. I was reminded of Scotland, the Midwest, Colorado, Arizona, the Pacific Northwest, and what I think the Australian Outback looks like–and you passed through a new area every 20 minutes.
I can’t forget to mention our 3-4 hour detour we took at just about the halfway point. There is a two-mile hiking trail that takes you up the slopes of the Haleakala national park (not the popular sunrise spot on top of a volcano). We traversed through mud, rocks, grass, and even a wonderful bamboo forest to see Waimoku Falls, the largest waterfall on the island. This waterfall was ridiculously tall, and it was simply awe-inspiring. It completely wore us out, but the hike was totally worth it.
And that’s about all I did on my vacation–except, of course, for the hours upon hours of relaxing by the pool, eating and just lazing around. One of our travel partners kept saying “whenever I have a bad day, I just think ‘I get to do things like this–life isn’t that bad.'” I couldn’t agree more.