The Road to Hana and back, with a fruit feast in between. (The last pics from Maui!)

Over the last four posts centered around my brother’s wedding, I’ve shared my Mom’s hometown, a beach workout, a black sand beach, a volcano crater, and a passage of text on an airline agricultural declaration form advising against smuggling snakes on the plane. Whether you’ve enjoyed or merely tolerated this onslaught of photo-documentation, I’m back with the last few pics. Okay, the last 25 or so. At the risk of sounding like a vacation destination brochure for Maui, I want to share a little more of the island’s diverse geographic character. What else would I do with my evidence that there’s more to Maui than beaches and volcanos?

Our drive up to Hana and back took us through lush rainforest and a barren, desert-like environment, respectively, landscapes so opposite that it’s a wonder they’re along the same road in fairly close proximity. In Arizona, we have canyons and forests, snow country and lakes, and, of course, our vast expanse of the Sonoran desert, festooned with its indigenous and characteristic Saguaro cactus… but you don’t get all of that variation within a two-hour drive along the same road!

Hana Highway (aka the Road to Hana) takes you from Kahului to the east side of the island, ending at the town of Hana. The trek is a must-do when you’re on Maui. (Again, sorry about the brochure-speak; there’s no other way to put it.)

The narrow, winding road up to Hana is infamous for being a risky drive, but it’s also a treasure hunt, so you want to have a map of the treasures along the way. One of these is Ono Organic Farms. My brother had arranged for us to do a fruit-tasting and a tour through the gardens there. It was like stepping into Avatar. Have I mentioned that my brother is all kinds of awesome?

We couldn’t visit the Seven Sacred Pools this time, but that’s what future visits are for! I loved the Seven Sacred Pools the one time I went, and I look forward to going back and showing Callaghan its sparkling pools and waterfalls.

Going home, rather than backtracking the way we came, we continued along our path. Hana Highway loops around Paia toward Pukalani, and the terrain changes dramatically. This is where you’ll see landscape that looks more like the mainland than an island.

Other than mongoose and nene, we didn’t see too much in the way of critters… you’ll find a darling little brown spider in one of the pics below, though. I’d included a nene pic from the cemetery a few posts back, but the mongoose is just too fast to photograph. He’s a famous emblem of Hawaii for a reason, that mongoose. He’s too busy opening cans of whoop-ass on snakes to be sitting for portraits.

Here’s a mongoose who posed for someone else:

 

Portrait of a mongoose as stolen from bikemaui dot com

Portrait of a mongoose as stolen from bikemaui dot com

 

And here are a few pics from the road to Hana (Hana Highway):

 

We got an early start up the road, ascending under the brightening day.

We got an early start up the road, ascending under the brightening day.

 

It’s best to start up the road early in the morning, when there’s less traffic, but it’s highly advisable to avoid going when it’s dark.

 

Legend has it that the waters of Kane can heal disease and preserve youth

Legend has it that the waters of Kane can heal disease and preserve youth

 

There are many waterfalls along the way.

 

A waterfall seen from the road

A waterfall seen from the road

 

So many little waterfalls.

So many little waterfalls.

 

The rainforest is beautiful. How could it not be?

 

Sunbeams in the rainforest

Sunbeams in the rainforest

 

Rainforest vegetation

Rainforest vegetation

 

Spiders make me happy, so you know I had to grab a pic of this little guy!

 

Little spider!

Little spider!

 

After visiting the black sand beach, we headed to Ono Organic Farms for the fruit-tasting and tour my brother had arranged.

 

Ono Organic Farms

Ono Organic Farms

 

Starfruit

Starfruit

 

Fallen avocados

Fallen avocados

 

The avocados in Hawaii grow to be enormous. The specimens pictured here are some of the smaller ones!

 

I'm holding this avocado like it's a grenade, but I'm just trying to gauge its weight.

I’m holding this avocado like it’s a grenade, but I’m just trying to gauge its weight.

 

Nutmeg

Nutmeg

 

Coffee beans

Coffee beans

 

Cacao (chocolate)

Cacao (chocolate)

 

Bananas, maybe (unfortunately, I didn't take enough care to remember which plants were what)

Bananas, maybe (unfortunately, I didn’t take enough care to remember which plants were what)

 

Another shot of the banana part of the farm...?

Another shot of the banana part of the farm…?

 

Here’s a sneak peek at Texas Chainsaw Massacre: Bananas are Next

 

Banana House of Horrors

Banana House of Horrors

 

Then the drive back to Kihei, also on the Hana Highway. Here’s where you’ll see Maui looking more like the mainland than an island.

 

Coming back from Hana

Coming back from Hana

 

Not too many miles away from the rainforest!

Not too many miles away from the rainforest!

 

Returning from Hana

Returning from Hana

 

Desert-like land meeting the ocean... the opposite of the rainforest meeting the ocean at the black sand beach

Desert-like land meeting the ocean… the opposite of the rainforest meeting the ocean at the black sand beach

 

This almost looks like Iraq.

This almost looks like Iraq.

 

I wouldn't guess I was on a tropical island!

I wouldn’t guess I was on a tropical island!

 

The highway back from Hana

The highway back from Hana

 

Windmills

Windmills

 

The End.

And now we’ve been back for a week, and it’s Thanksgiving week already. Next time I post, we’ll be somewhere else yet again. More family shenanigans afoot! The best kind of shenanigans.

Maui: a lava love to give. (Haleakala volcano crater + Waianapanapa black sand beach!)

One summer, when I was a teenager and the Big Island’s Kilauea volcano was also acting up, I sat in my Uncle’s living room in Hilo and watched the surreal sight of red-orange lava coursing down in the distance.

Many years later… and also many years ago… (it’s funny how time works)… I wrote a certain poem. An excerpt:

…do you remember the first / map you traced in the shape of the island / you left… An ocean between us fires / up, inhaling its own ash from the powerlines of existence…

The ocean becomes one with the volcano when flowing lava hits the salt water. I read that the meeting of the two explodes into black sand, creating a beach. A volcanic black sand beach is the lovechild of the ocean and the volcano, rich with lore and sacred to native Hawaiians.

The Hawaiian archipelago was formed out of massive volcanic events, which is why the islands are studded with active and inactive volcanos and craters. On Maui, from the road to Hana, you can turn onto Waianapanapa Road, where, emerging from the rain forest, you find yourself on the grounds of a park that features a small black sand beach. Let me tell you: If there’s one reason to drive the road to Hana – and there are many – this is it, as far as I’m concerned. The Waianapanapa black sand beach is a gift of the Haleakala volcano, and it is beautiful.

 

Waianapanapa black sand beach

Waianapanapa black sand beach

 

Looking over the rim of lava rocks at this point, I spotted a large sea turtle swimming below in the clear blue-green water. I couldn’t get a pic of him, though, unfortunately.

 

Descending to the black sand beach

Descending to the black sand beach

 

Most people think of the Big Island when they think of Hawaiian black sand beaches, but Maui has this little gem tucked away…

 

Stunning contrasts: sparkling blue-green water, white ocean spray, black sand, rain forest

Stunning contrasts: sparkling blue-green water, white ocean spray, black sand, rain forest

 

Wet black sand, metallic in the sun

Wet black sand, metallic in the sun

 

Waianapanapa black sand beach

Waianapanapa black sand beach

 

I was quick to kick off my shoes and run down to the shore. That’s a strong tide! I had to use all the muscles in my legs to keep myself planted as the water rushed in and back out. It hit me at knee-level, and I was enthralled.

 

Enraptured at Waianapanapa

Enraptured at Waianapanapa

 

Life: complete!

Life: complete!

 

Driving in from the Hana Highway, you know you’re there when you see the sign:

 

Entering the Waianapanapa State Park

Entering the Waianapanapa State Park

 

The day we visited the summit of the Haleakala volcano crater, the sky was blue and the air was typically thin and cold above the clouds. But we were dressed for it, and other than Callaghan’s very mild touch of nausea, we weren’t bothered by altitude sickness.

 

Heading up the Haleakala crater path

Heading up the Haleakala crater path

 

Mid-morning light on the lava rocks

Mid-morning light on the lava rocks

 

Haleakala under a blue sky...

Haleakala under a blue sky…

 

The inside of the volcano crater is another planet.

 

Looking down from the summit of the Haleakala volcano crater

Looking down from the summit of the Haleakala volcano crater

 

The Haleakala volcano crater is too vast to capture in one phone pic...

The Haleakala volcano crater is too vast to capture in one phone pic…

 

Blue sky, carpet of clouds

Blue sky, carpet of clouds

 

We tried to get a selfie with the other-worldly crater floor visible behind us, but alas… this was our best shot:

 

Haleakala volcano crater – selfie at the summit

Haleakala volcano crater – selfie at the summit

 

Haleakala volcano crater (10,023 ft above sea level)

Haleakala volcano crater (10,023 ft above sea level)

 

Haleakala volcano crater

Haleakala volcano crater

 

Treading on lava (Haleakala)

Treading on lava (Haleakala)

 

Entering the Haleakala National Park

Entering the Haleakala National Park

 

I can’t think of a structure of nature that intrigues me as much as the Hawaiian volcano.

And for some reason, I didn’t get pics of the one Haleakala Silversword we saw. The Silversword is a rare succulent plant that only exists on and around the Haleakala volcano; it grows on volcanic cinder.

That concludes this post. Next up on Tuesday, I’ll share some pics from the road to Hana, and another gem we visited along the way!

SHAKA beach workout in Hawaii! Capoeira-inspired! (But still a garage gym post.)

[Edited To Add: Pidgin English ahead! The pidgin words and phrases are in italics!]

It’s Friday! Howzit?!

Essential elements in Sunday’s beach workout: sunscreen, sunglasses, a hat, a partner-in-crime with a willingness to take pics, and a nephew whose photobomb game is hilariously ON. You’ll see da pictures!

Knowing that I was going to miss three workouts while in Hawaii, I intended to slip one in somewhere. When there’s a beach in front of your rented condo, no can work out anywhere else, yeah? I mean, why would you?

Neither could I help but keep it light. No to da max this time. I was on a beach in one of my favorite childhood places, on the Pacific, my favorite large body of salt water. My workout wasn’t hardcore by any means, but whatevahs. “The only bad workout is the one you didn’t do” – !

Was good fun!

There was no plan other than fo’ do da kine. A little shadow-boxing. I jumped in and went with the flow, and the flow swerved in the direction of capoeira, because, I guess, the setting invited it. You play capoeira… it’s a game, not a fight. Energetically speaking, capoeira makes more sense on the beach than anywhere, as far as I’m concerned. I didn’t train in capoeira for very long, but I loved it and still love it. I practice the techniques here and there. Why no do it more often? I should do it more often!

Anyway, enough talking story. Here are just a few pics from my mostly capoeira-inspired beach workout. You’ll notice that I mixed it up with a little Muay Thai:

 

Warming up: squats

Warming up: squats

 

Warming up: lunges

Warming up: lunges

 

Stretching

Stretching

 

Burpees

Burpees

 

Sprawl (from burpee)

Sprawl (from burpee)

 

Kick-throughs

Kick-throughs

 

Hanging loose with my nephew!

Hanging loose with my nephew!

 

Front kick chamber

Front kick chamber

 

Bencao (push kick)

Bencao (push kick)

 

Roundhouse chamber

Roundhouse chamber

 

Ginga

Ginga

 

Reaching down for an esquiva baixa (with nephew photobomb)

Reaching down for an esquiva baixa (with nephew photobomb)

 

We had other pics that showed better execution of this esquiva, but I chose this one because HELLO, epic photobomb. (Click to enlarge!)

 

Meialua de Frente (inside crescent kick)

Meialua de Frente (inside crescent kick)

 

Spinning back elbow

Spinning back elbow

 

Rapping. Okay, not really. Just goofing around.

Rapping. Okay, not really. Just goofing around.

 

Push-ups

Push-ups

 

Esquiva lateral (with nephew photobomb)

Esquiva lateral (with nephew photobomb)

 

AH hahaha!! I seriously love my nephew.

 

Aú (Capoeira cartwheel)

Aú (Capoeira cartwheel)

 

(Cringing at my form here… I should be lower, closer to the ground for this one, yeah? Gah.)

 

Resting

Resting

 

I finished the workout with a dive into the water and a 10 minute swim for a little more cardio – I like frog stroke – then floated for a minute to rest. Or, I tried to float. I don’t float well. (I sink.) Regardless, it felt fantastic! Callaghan said he likes this pic because I look like an otter. I suppose this is a compliment of some sort.

 

"Walking off" - ! [photo credit goes to my amazing nephew!]

“Walking off” – ! [photo credit goes to my amazing nephew!]

 

All pau! Mahalo for reading.

I went to Hawaii and ate all the plants.

We flew back in quite late last night after four days out of town, and a busy four days, it was! We took a family trip to Hawaii, where my parents were born and raised, and where, in the homes of extended family scattered across three islands, I spent most of my summers growing up. In my adulthood, I’ve only visited my family on the island of Oahu, because that’s where my parents live half the time. My one adult visit to the island of Maui had been at the end of the 90’s when we went to Grandpa’s memorial service. Last week’s long-overdue return to Maui was also for a special family event, but a happy one this time: my brother’s wedding!

We had a fantastic visit with my parents, brother, and nephew, and we got to know new family members and friends, all lovely human beings. It was an enjoyable way to flex my minuscule extrovert muscles a bit! We stayed with my parents and nephew in a condo we rented in Kihei, a place rich with memories of my favorite beaches on Maui (and my one interesting encounter with a Portuguese Man O’War). We braved the mad tourist bustle of old-town Lahaina only twice, both for wedding-related events, including the wedding, itself. Well, the wedding wasn’t exactly in Lahaina… it was on a boat, but the boat departed from Lahaina.

The highlight of the trip was the wedding, of course, but I also wanted to show Callaghan as much of Maui as possible in the four days we had. He’d been to Oahu with me, but never to Maui, and I’d spent more time there at my grandparents’ house than anywhere. Thanks to my brother and parents, we were able to drive up to Hana (on the infamous Road, which is more of an attraction than Hana, itself, if you ask me – it’s an exhilarating ride, and there are fabulous places to visit along the way. More on that later!), attend a luau, and hit the haleakala volcano crater. The first important thing we did was visit a few precious sites in Kahului, Mom’s hometown. The last important thing we did was go to the beach, where I did a little training (beach workout post forthcoming!) and swimming.

Callaghan loved it. He was also fascinated to hear that a Jurassic Park helicopter scene (view) was filmed over the rain forests around the road to Hana.

It was good times.

I ended up with more pics than I could prepare all at once, but they’ll get captured in the next few posts. For this first installment, I’ll show you some of the things I ate during the trip, as a few of you were interested in seeing what a person can eat in Hawaii other than seafood and Kalua pig.

Without further ado, take a gander at what I ate on Maui, if you’re so inclined!

 

I had fruit on the flight going over:

 

Breakfast on the airplane

Breakfast on the airplane

 

For dinner at Monkeypod, I ordered the delicious fresh island herbs farm organic kale salad (Maui onion, golden raisins, Mandarin oranges, organic waihe’e macadamia nuts, miso sesame vinaigrette):

 

At Monkeypod restaurant: Fresh island herbs farm organic kale salad

At Monkeypod restaurant: Fresh island herbs farm organic kale salad

 

For dinner at the luau, I had garden salad, taro leaf stew, stir-fried vegetables, pohole salad (fern shoots, Maui onions, tomatoes), and pineapple:

 

Dinner at the Old Lahaina Luau

Dinner at the Old Lahaina Luau

 

For dinner at the BBQ my brother, his wife, and her family hosted at their house, I had salad, veggie kabobs, a little rice, and a few small potatoes:

 

Dinner at the BBQ

Dinner at the BBQ

 

(Plate of fresh fruit for dessert not pictured)

For lunch at Ono Organic Farms along the road to Hana, we enjoyed the plethora of exotic fruit we tasted, some of which I’d never even heard of. My favorite was the rambutan, the barbed red fruit. I don’t remember the name of the spiky white fruit, but it was good, too:

 

Fresh organic fruit at Ono Organic Farms

Fresh organic fruit at Ono Organic Farms

 

For lunch at Zippy’s (it’s like a Denny’s; this one in Kahului is the first and only Zippy’s on Maui. I’d only been to Zippy’s on Oahu), I ordered their veggie-tofu burger, which I ate open-faced on a whole wheat bun:

 

Zippy's veggie-tofu burger

Zippy’s veggie-tofu burger

 

We also had lunch at good old Taco Bell one day, where I got the power menu burrito bowl. It’s like a Chipotle burrito bowl, but better, in my opinion! Black beans, rice, lettuce, tomato, guacamole, and six packets of diablo sauce:

 

Taco Bell power menu burrito bowl

Taco Bell power menu burrito bowl

 

And for lunch at Honolulu international airport heading home, we went to Chow Mein Express and had tofu, eggplant, and steamed white rice (they didn’t have brown). This was by far the best airport fast-food I’ve ever had:

 

Honolulu International Airport fast food: Chow Mein Express

Honolulu International Airport fast food: Chow Mein Express

 

During the trip, I also had a variety of protein/nutrition bars, raw nuts, and whole grain breads to fill in gaps. For breakfast, I had Dave’s power seed bread with coconut peanut butter (two ingredients: peanuts and coconut!):

 

Coconut peanut butter

Coconut peanut butter

 

A lot of wonderful local plants were consumed. But don’t worry… I did save some for the dinosaurs! The veggiesaurs.