We went to Maui from July 30th to August 6th. I was pretty apprehensive about the trip. My mother was still recovering, but she was home and doing well. Not only that, I had never been on the a plane before and the thought of airports made my anxiety skyrocket. The night before we left, I felt like I was going to throw up. We rolled out of bed, after maybe four hours of sleep, and headed to the airport with the in-laws at 6am.
Thankfully, our airport is pitifully small. This made the transition easier for me. The security wasn’t crazy busy and I had a chance to adjust to my surroundings. It was very surreal. I never pictured myself in an airport, getting ready to board an airplane. I did, I got on one of the smallest freaking commercial airplanes without propellers! We rode it all the way to Charlotte, SC which took all of 45 minutes. We had to rush through the weird, long airport all the way to the opposite end to catch our next plane… which was a new, sleek airbus. We weren’t riding first class, but it was pretty comfy and roomy. We rode it for four hours until we reached Phoenix, AZ. We had around a two to three hour layover, so we got lunch and I learned never eat Pizza Hut in an airport, they don’t use real cheese! Gross.
Our flight to Maui was the longest. We boarded a plane that looked like it had been in service since the late 70s, early 80s. It still had little ashtrays. It was supposed to be “bigger”, but had less passenger ‘flex’ room than the airbus did. It also smelled like ass and feet. The next six hours and thirty minutes dragged. We were separated in groups of twos, so my husband and I sat together and my in-laws sat further up, together. We each had to sit with a stranger… which is uncomfortable, especially when you need to ask them to get up so you can pee!
Because of the time difference (seven hours difference from our time zone), we arrived in Maui before dark on Saturday. The airport is completely open air, so as soon as you walk out, you realize where you are. It’s amazing. The air is cool, but the sun is hot. You don’t openly sweat unless it’s noon and you’re doing something in the sun. Even if you do sweat, you just go hang out in the shade or near the water and suddenly, you’re cool again. It’s the perfect kind of “tropical” for me.
We got our rental car and headed to our resort. It was a pretty ritzy place, definitely a little classier than what I had expected. I don’t have a picture of it uploaded, but the entire lobby and most of the resort itself was completely open air. You stepped into the lobby and looked out at the ocean! It was awesome, but we were all really tired from the lack of sleep and total of 11+ hours in the air.
We attended the welcome dinner hosted by my father-in-law’s company, swam in the pool a bit, and then all passed out by around 8pm. The sun sets earlier there, so it definitely messes with your mind, too. We had separate suites close enough to the private beach to hear the waves, so I kept our doors open and the ceiling fans going. We didn’t even need the AC!
The first thing on the agenda was an unguided bike ride down a dormant volcano. Most of us had issues with waking up sometime in the am. I managed to force myself back to sleep, the husband never woke up except once, and my in-laws woke up around 3am and stayed awake. We all met up at 7am, got breakfast at McDonald’s (which serves spam, much to my husband’s glee), and then met at the bike place. We were drove an hour up the volcano mountain, past lovely little towns and beautiful countrysides. Then, we were dropped off, given our bikes, and set on our way. It was around 9:30 or 10 when we set off and we had until 4 o’clock. I forget how many miles it was, but it was a lot and it was all down hill mostly.
None of us had rode bikes in years, so it was definitely an experience. I can’t tell you the exact grade of the starting area, but it was steep. We also had to deal with traffic, so that was fun, and hairpin turns and a bunch of other crazy stuff. I had the hardest time at first. The bikes had no gears, the handles were uncomfortable, and the seats were like a trip to prison. They had to have disc brakes, or we’d never have made it… so thank goodness for that part. I remember starting out, I thought, “why did I think I could do this? I can’t do this.” But I forced my fear down and away we went… it was amazing. It was the perfect way to take in the beauty of all the places we passed.
We rode through a majority of the second largest cattle ranch in the US. It was definitely not what you’d expect to see in a place like Maui! But it was beautiful… the rolling hills, the beautiful backdrop of the towns and beaches below. I’m so glad we all pushed through and did it. We made it back around 12:30 or 1, I can’t remember now. We were not the first ones back, but we weren’t the last, either!
After that, we went and checked out a beach of rocks we saw on the way. We were all pretty beat after the bike ride, so we eventually wandered off back to the resort and rested by the pool and beach for awhile. For those curious, Maui waves are not Key West waves. They are big and they are brutal! It was fun, though… riding on top of them and just feeling the ocean… I was never a big fan of Key West’s wimpy waves, anyway.
On Monday, we had a themed dinner with my father-in-law’s company, so we didn’t go very far. We visited some of the shops nearby and hung out by the pool until 6pm. We ended up having dinner at the aquarium. We got to go in after hours and check out the sharks and everything else. It was awesome! I don’t have any pictures, my husband’s camera got most of the touristy ones… still need to upload those. But it was amazing. We even got to go in one of those water tunnels where sharks swim over your head!
On Tuesday, we went back to the volcano, this time to visit the state park located on top of it and to reach the summit! 10,000 feet up is no joke, folks. It’s a whole different world up there, one you’d never expect to see on Maui. We drove all the way up and looked into the crater of Haleakala. You could hike down into it and there were a bunch of random hiking trails on the way up, but we hadn’t geared up for any hiking, so we just looked in awe.
We went all the way up to the top before we turned around and went back down. There were no guardrails, so my mother-in-law was freaking out a little. We stopped off at around 7,000 or so feet at Hosmer Grove… which looks nothing like the pictures above!
It started off shrouded in mist. It wasn’t raining, it was misting and it was foggy. We heard some noises and managed to catch some wild Nene (the state bird) hanging out by one of the parking areas. I jumped out and got a few pictures before they got annoyed and did the lower head aggression thing, at which point I ran off back into the car!
We stopped off at the Hosmer Grove camping area and cooked up some hot dogs in the mist. It was like stepping into a forest that kind of reminded me of back home, but also seemed different somehow. My husband said this is what the forests in the midwest/west look like. I was suitably impressed. He also said it smelled like God’s linen closet and it really did smell good…
While we were eating, we shared our food with a park ranger, who we found out was from Ohio. He was hanging around because he does a child’s program about birds up there. This is one of the best spots to see some of the birds native to Maui. Sure enough, one of them decided to hop on over and check us out!
We used what was left of the day to go and check out the sights on the Road to Hana. We couldn’t go the whole way, but we did get to go on some of the easier hiking trails back into the depths. It’s definitely pretty back there.
We even got to check out a bamboo forest. It was hard to get to, we had to practically crawl to it, but once it opened up, it was worth it. There was water running through it and long, steep hills to climb down… all very fun. By the time all of this excitement was done, we were dirty, hungry, and ready to head back.
Wednesday, we stayed around the resort and recovered from all our adventuring the previous day. We hung out at the beach and walked down the path that stopped at our resort. It led past the others located along the coastline and eventually went to the mall that was located in the area. It was a pretty walk, but we went in the bright sunlight, so I had overexposure issues.
On Thursday, we left early to reach the other side of the island and search for wild dolphins! We boarded a catamaran manned by the Pacific Whale Foundation. It took us until the tail end of our trip, but we spotted some wild Spinner dolphins! There was a huge pod of them swimming along the shores. They came up and checked out our boat, too.
The rest of the day was spent exploring that part of the island. We drove around the mountains there and skirted the lovely coast. It definitely looked different than the one we were used to by now.
We saw a blowhole, but we didn’t get a closer look. A day or two after our arrival, someone was killed at this blowhole. They turned their back to it and were sucked in…
The road was small and it only got smaller. It eventually went one lane, unpaved, and with only tiny, narrow spots to barely pull off into to let other cars pass. It was stressful, but the scenery was worth it. It was beautiful back there and we even got to go through a village of native Hawaiians.
We made it back in time to get a shower, change out of our sweaty adventuring clothes and change into something more appropriate for our goodbye dinner. I forgot my dress at home, so I had to make due with a tank top and shorts. Eh, that’s just how I roll, anyway.
We had hula dancers and a fire dude, which was awesome! We also ended up sitting with a really nice family. It was a good night, even if it was sad because it was the end.
We went back to our rooms and settled in. The husband and I went down to the pool for awhile, as we had been doing each night and just hung out and looked up at the stars. Eventually, we made it back to the room and started clearing out food items and perishables. We had purchased a bottle of sour apple vodka earlier in the vacation… we’re not big drinkers, not in the least. We’ve never even been remotely drunk, but it’s nice to unwind on a vacation.
Well, we paid good money for that bottle and it was barely touched! So, we did something completely out of character. I don’t know if it was the sadness of having to leave or subdued moral restraint from being on vacation, but we were determined to get rid of as much of that bottle as we could. I fell asleep after I did six shots and I’m not sure how much my husband did, but I woke up to him crawling off the bed. I asked him what he was doing and he said, he was keeping us from going out to sea. Apparently, the waves were messing with his mind, haha. It was hilarious.
Our last day, we had breakfast and then packed up and left the beautiful suites behind us. Sigh. Check out was at noon and we were out of there around eleven. We left the resort and headed to the opposite side of the island to check out the other state park. It was a lot more like a rain forest. We spent a good while hiking through it until we were tired. We ate some lunch, came back to the resort to swim, and then headed off to the airport around seven. Our flight left around 10.
The ride home was miserable, but that’s fine. The trip was worth it! I’d move there tomorrow if it weren’t for my family. There’s so much we didn’t get to see or do. I’m amazed at how much I loved it, given how I hate hot places and beaches and whatnot. I’m pale, I burn easily, and got I quite burned a few times there. However, now I’m the most tan I’ve ever been in my life! Of course, no one else notices, I just look normal for once, but I’m proud of it.
Sigh. I miss Maui.
You can see more photos here. I uploaded them for my family. We still need to get my husband’s up.