Haleakala…in the Clouds

You might think that we would get up and do the sunrise at Haleakala some time in our 55 days on Maui. You would be wrong! That doesn’t mean that we didn’t want to see the crater and all the cool stuff that goes with it. So, after the boys got done with their fishing trip, all four of us headed off to the other side of the island.

First stop: lunch at a favorite stop – Flatbread Pizza in P’aia. This was Mike’s first visit to the actual restaurant. His other “visits” had been limited to leftovers. Even the Gs had been there!

After filling up, we were back on the road to Haleakala (which is Hawaiian for “house of the sun”)…and hoping that the clouds would somehow disappear when we got to the summit. The drive up seemed to take us from Maui countryside to forest views to desert canyon views. It reminded the kids of either the moon or Mars…with roads and parking lots.

We did get some limited views of the crater – between the clouds and the occasional rain shower. Oh, and our huddling in the visitor center and under rock outcroppings (that was really the kids) to keep warm. Even at 3 p.m. in the afternoon, the winds were really whipping and making the temps feel close to 45 or 50 degrees.

We also get some great views of a native plant that can only be found on Haleakala: the silversword (or ‘ahinahina). These plants can take 50 years to mature, but once they bloom (get that full stem with purple flowers) they die. It reminds me of the apple banana tree which only bears one bunch of fruit.

It is still amazing to us how you can drive 20 minutes to almost any other part of the island and feel like you are in a different world. Nowhere is that more evident in driving up to the top of the 10,000 foot summit…just amazing!

Max and Mike go fishing

One of THE things on Max’s list since we’ve been on Maui is to go fishing. He didn’t quite get the idea of sport fishing (the big poles, the boat dragging the lines with very little casting) until Saturday.

We all got up early so the boys could be at their 5:45 a.m. check-in. Mara went back to sleep after fixing Max’s breakfast (is that awesome or what?), and the rest of us headed off to the Lahaina wharf.

I can’t do the story complete justice since I wasn’t there, but I’ll give it a shot and hope that the pics can fill in the gaps. I’m sure Mike will have thoughts to add, too.

The sport fishing cruise with Start Me Up Sportfishing was a shared voyage with a total of 6 people on board. There was another father-son team on board; that boy was more Mara’s age. It was that dad that landed the only catch of the cruise – a 43 lb. ono. There were also some dolphins that swam along side at times too.

All those things combined with some cloud cover that kept the morning temps more moderate made for the perfect trip out. Max said it was his best fishing trip ever!



Whittling down the list…

Friday didn’t bring much adventure – but plenty of pool time. And we did decide to knock off at least one more thing from the Maui to do list…the kids got a LARGE shaved ice with ice cream. Putting a scoop of ice cream under all that shaved ice is the real Hawaiian way to eat shaved ice. We’ll see if they keep that up when we get to Table Rock lake in a couple of weeks! It won’t be quite as good as Ululani’s which truly has earned it’s high rating on yelp.com…


Max Loses a Tooth

Wow…that title sounds like it could be really exciting – or at the very least provide for a good story. Not really, but we just had to share that Max (finally) lost his FIRST tooth today.

I say ‘finally’ because he is EIGHT! When I asked the dentist about it at his appointment in May, she said “Well, he’s just getting his six year molars, so he’s on his own schedule…” Of course he is!

Congrats, Max! Here’s hoping the Tooth Fairy finds us…

A Couple of Laid Back Days…

Well…after 4 hikes in 4 days, we took a breather on Tuesday and a slight one on Wednesday. I’m not sure the kids will completely agree with Wednesday being a light day since we did do the beach walk down to the Sheraton and back…

It was broken up by breakfast at the Castaway Cafe. It was good, and there was no waiting for a table. The Peek family jury (Max, Mara and I) are split on whether it really is as good The Gazebo (which we’ve visited twice – here and here). Plus, the views weren’t bad…like any ocean view in Maui is.

We were then off in search of tropical birds that we thought (ok, I thought) were at the Sheraton. Not so much…but while we were wandering through the hotel like we were staying there, we got some great views and pics of the beach up and down Ka’anapali (Dig-Me) Beach. If you’ve been to Ka’anapali, think of us standing right on top of Black Rock and taking pics out to the side.

We also found a very cool rock “collection” in the pool outside a Sheraton restaurant…


Waihe’e Valley and Swinging Bridges

The kids have had the Swinging Bridges hike on their list for at least the last 3 weeks. And the time had finally come for us to set out on this adventure. We drove through Kahului (my most visited city since it has the airport) to Waihe’e and the Waihe’e Valley Road. As with (nearly) all hiking directions, it was “…at mile marker 4.8” Ummm…OK. The odometer is not in tenths, so there was a quick hard left off Hwy 340 when we got to the right road!

The hike reminded us of Twin Falls – not too steep, plenty of pools along the route (although we exchanged the waterfalls for stream views and wading). And let’s not forget where it gets its name: there are two swinging bridges that cross the stream. Both are pretty long – and you get some decent side-to-side action that makes you hold the cables. It’s not Indiana Jones crossing a big river with crocs and crazed religious fanatics, but it’s enough to make you hold on!

We also picked up two bamboo sticks and a nice two-pound rock to take home with us…courtesy of Max, of course!

Dragon’s Teeth

On Sunday (7/11) we decided to stay a little closer to home. We started our latest adventure at D.T. Flemming Beach Park near Kapalua and walked along the beach until we ran out of sand. Then we went up and walked along the edge of a golf course to get to the lava fields that were our destination. Yes, doing this was how the guidebook recommended we get there. (We were also careful to respect the Honokahua Burial Site which dates back to 850 A.D.)

The lava formations here are unusual. The lava itself come from the dying days of the West Maui volcano and is very light-colored. Plus, in this specific place, the salt spray on the upwind side has formed the lava into formations that look like large teeth…Dragon’s Teeth.
But that’s not all (no, this is not an informercial!)…there is a labyrinth and some amazing ocean views. This is one of those places where you are really reminded of the ocean’s power. Mike did an amazing job of capturing this on these pics!


‘Iao Valley…the hike going down…

For part two of our hiking in the ‘Iao Valley (after we got down off the ridge and back through the railing), we went down to the stream. This is the same stream we saw from above…

…but now it was up close and personal…

Max’s desire to do his laundry on the rocks (and have the water beat the dirt and sand – among other things – out of his clothes) remains unfulfilled. While it’s not specifically posted that you can’t do this, I’m guessing it falls into the category of “Do we really need to say that is prohibited?”

Both parts our hike were just amazing. It is still so interesting to us how different the geography is from one part of the island to another…for just an hour’s worth of driving!


P.S. – I’d be shortchanging the day if I didn’t mention the great dinner we had at Cilantro. In our opinion (and we know we have a bit of a different view than some on Mexican food), this was amazing Mexican. Sure, it’s not El Patron (what is?!) but this is probably the best Mexican food on the islands.

‘Iao Valley…the hike going up…

Saturday, 7/10 found us all in the car headed to a different part of the island: the ‘Iao Needle and the ‘Iao Valley (‘Iao rhymes with “meow”). Me and the kids had visited with the Gs, but didn’t really get any hiking in. We said then that Mike needed to see this, and this was our chance.

We went up (climbing through the rail to the trail – a one-person wide trail) and headed up. It quickly started feeling like a jungle. A far cry from the blazing sun and sand that we usually see each day (not complaining!). Mike had already learned that Lahaina gets 5 inches of rain a year; Ka’anapali gets 30 inches (a mere 2 mile difference); Kapalua (another 3 miles north) gets 100 inches. And the ‘Iao Valley gets 400 inches per year…400!

This is the view back through the valley (on a clear spot near the top of our climb) back at Kahului (where the airport is).

Check out the next post for what we see when went down to the stream…


Launiupoko Beach Afternoon

Going to the Olivine Pools wasn’t enough adventure for the day, so we headed out to Launipoko Beach Park in the afternoon. Even with a 4-day week, Mike was more than ready for a Friday afternoon break and it was great day for it.

For anyone following along, this is the “Poko” park that is infamous in the Peek family due to the man o’ war saga with Max. Thankfully, there were no man o’ wars or sand sharks today…just great rays and waves. The adventure today was Mike helping the kids learn how to surf. They both got dumped on the beach at least once and took a couple of waves. Not much actual surfing but a great start!

We also met some great people – to whom we were drawn mostly by the kids because they had dogs. And the kids LOVE dogs! It was great to have a nice chat plus get some more ideas on places to see (they were from Kihei which is about half way to the airport and then south). Great people, great waves, great rays…and no one stepped in dog poop!