Hawaii – Days 8-16: Maui – Colorful Beaches, Life Above the Clouds, Waterfalls, and the Beauty of the Sun

brittanyannswanson@gmail.com   July 5, 2016   Comments Off on Hawaii – Days 8-16: Maui – Colorful Beaches, Life Above the Clouds, Waterfalls, and the Beauty of the Sun

My first night in Maui I stayed at a hostel called the Banana Bungalow. I hadn’t been able to find Couchsurfing hosts for a few nights on Maui and figured a hostel would be better than sleeping on the beach. Even if it was the first time on my trip I had to pay for accommodation… Shortly after I arrived and checked in the hostel was taking a tour group out to Black Rock Beach to go snorkeling and boogie boarding and then watch the sunset on the beach. There was one spot left in one of the vans, so I signed up, dropped my stuff off, packed a day bag, and joined the fun.

Black Rock Beach, Maui, HI.

Black Rock Beach, Maui, HI.

I made some friends in the van and some more at the beach and we ended up hanging out for the next couple days. I rented a boogie board, but the first wave after I stepped in the ocean knocked me on my face and then on my back and then flipped me over. Unpleasant, to say the least. I went out past the surf, but my ribs were still super sore from surfing on Oahu the day before, so eventually I gave up and just stuck to swimming.

The sunset on the beach was nice, and after we got back to the hostel my new friends and I went out for dinner to a place called Ale House. It was a sports bar and you wouldn’t believe what was on the tvs there….some sort of motorcycle race on ice. I’m not kidding. The couple of French Canadians in our group were like, “we’re from Canada, and even we don’t have this on at a bar.” Too funny.

The following day I was going to go back out with the tour van, but I didn’t know when I was supposed to meet my host that night, so I ended up just packing my bag and checking out of the hostel, and hanging out and using their free wifi for a bit. After a while, one of the guys from the night before showed up and asked what I was up to that day. I said nothing, just chilling, and he offered to take me with him on an adventure since he had a rental car.

We started at the mall because he needed to get a few things and then decided just to drive and see where we ended up. We ended up in Pa’ia Town, and got some food at the grocery store and had a picnic on the beach at Paia Bay. Then we kept driving and stopped at the Ho’okipa Lookout, where we saw a rainbow. We ran into a couple of ladies who told us if we went around to the beach we’d see like forty turtles on the beach that just looked like rocks from far away.

So we hiked around the cliff and all I saw were rocks on the beach, no turtles…

See all those rocks on the beach...Ho'okipa Beach, Maui, HI.

See all those rocks on the beach…Ho’okipa Beach, Maui, HI.

Even as we got closer I still wasn’t convinced there were any turtles…. It wasn’t until we were right next to them that I was like, holy cow, the rocks ARE the turtles! So awesome!

Turns out those "rocks" really were turtles! Awesome! Ho'okipa Beach, Maui, HI.

Turns out those “rocks” really were turtles! Awesome! Ho’okipa Beach, Maui, HI.

The following morning I woke up at 2:45 a.m. to hitch a ride with the French Canadians to see the sunrise from on top of the Haleakalā crater. It is SO COLD at 10,000 feet! Brr. I definitely did not have enough layers for that. It was so cold that my phone shut off TWICE because it thought the battery was dead because it was freezing… Ridiculous.

Sunrise from the top of the Haleakalā crater, Haleakalā National Park, Maui, HI.

Sunrise from the top of the Haleakalā crater, Haleakalā National Park, Maui, HI.

The sunrise was cool, definitely not something I want to do again anytime soon, though maybe if I had warmer clothes… However, I’d totally be down to see a sunset up there… I think the coolest thing was the endemic plants like this Āhinahina:

This is an Āhinahina, it only exists at Haleakalā National Park in Maui, HI. How cool is that?!

This is an Āhinahina, it only exists at Haleakalā National Park in Maui, HI. How cool is that?!

Naturally, when I got back to my host’s house I took a nap. I woke up and thought I was shaking, but I was half asleep, so I’m not sure if it was an earthquake or if I just woke up in the most bizarre way possible. Either way, it was weird. I basically did nothing else all day. I woke up, ate, took a nap, woke up, ate something else, took a nap, woke up, made dinner, ate that, and then went to bed. Despite sounding lame, that day was pretty nice. I definitely needed the sleep.

The following day, my host recommended I go to Wailea, so I did. After I got off the bus I learned that there is a daily bus pass for $4 (as opposed to the $2 per ride otherwise). Better late than never I suppose.

Wailea Beach was pretty, but the sand was super fine, so fine that it was blowing like crazy in the wind, which made hanging out on the beach anti-fun because I was constantly being bombarded by sand in my face (and all over the rest of me). I swam for a bit and then decided I didn’t really want to hang out on the beach if it was going to be so ridiculously sandy.

I got back on the bus and then got off at Kihei Kalamazoo Village because it looked like there were some interesting shops there. Meh. So I went to Kama’ole Beach, but the sand was also blowing everywhere there so I ended up going to Haui’s Life’s a Beach bar and had dinner and my second smoothie of the day. The food wasn’t fantastic, but the bartender was, so that was fun.

The following day my host and the other two Couchsurfers and I drove the Road to Hāna. We stopped by the Alelele Bridge and did a short ten minute hike to a waterfall. It was pretty awesome.

The waterfall by the Alelele Bridge on the Road to Hāna, Maui, HI.

The waterfall by the Alelele Bridge on the Road to Hāna, Maui, HI.

Next we stopped off at Venus Pool where the other Couchsurfers jumped off the cliff and into the pool. I wasn’t wearing my swimsuit (not sure why not), and didn’t want to be stuck in wet clothes all day, and thought we were coming back the next day, so I didn’t jump in. Once we got to Haleakalā National Park we set up our tents for camping that night, then we went hiking to see Waimoku Falls. It was pretty sweet. First we hiked through some trees and then made it to the bamboo forest, which was super cool.

Bamboo Forest in Haleakalā National Park, Maui, HI.

Bamboo Forest in Haleakalā National Park, Maui, HI.

The waterfall itself was amazing. So tall and impressive. Just wow.

Waimoku Falls, a 400 foot drop, in Haleakalā National Park, Maui, HI.

Waimoku Falls, a 400 foot drop, in Haleakalā National Park, Maui, HI.

That night was the first night I’d ever been camping (at least that I remember). I didn’t really sleep. I went to the bathroom right before I got in the tent, but I still had to pee not long after I went to bed. Since I had to pee I couldn’t fall asleep. I’d been bitten by mosquitos like crazy earlier when we were setting up the tent so I had no desire to leave in the dark and go outside the tent to pee. I dozed in and out and finally couldn’t hold it any longer at like 5:30 in the morning, so I got up and went pee. Amazingly, after I finally relieved my bladder the sunrise was looking pretty spectacular.

The sunrise from our campsite in Haleakalā National Park, Maui, HI.

The sunrise from our campsite in Haleakalā National Park, Maui, HI.

I went back to bed for another hour until everyone else woke up and then we struck the tents and continued on the Road to Hāna (though I’m pretty sure we went past Hāna itself and then kept going the other way). Our first stop of the day, after the girls got coffee, was the Red Sand Beach. It wasn’t quite what I was expecting, more like Red Rock Beach, but it was still pretty sweet.

Red Sand Beach, Maui, HI.

Red Sand Beach, Maui, HI.

Next we stopped by Wai’ānapanapa State Park and visited the Black Sand Beach. Much better than Red Sand Beach, and there was even a place you could walk through a lava tube. So neat!

Black Sand Beach, Wai'ānapanapa State Park, Maui, HI.

Black Sand Beach, Wai’ānapanapa State Park, Maui, HI.

One of the other Couchsurfers and our host hiked up a waterfall. Yes: Up. The. Waterfall. The water was really high though so they didn’t get very far. Once they got back we kept driving and stopped once more and did another short hike to, you guessed it, another waterfall! The Couchsurfer who hadn’t hiked up the waterfall and I jumped in the pool in front of this one and the water was FREEZING! Like, my limbs went numb – freezing. What. The. Heck?!

We stopped in Pa’ia on our way back to my host’s house and had dinner at the Paia Fish Market. Never get a vegetarian quesadilla at a fish market in Hawaii… Not that you would. I should have known… It wasn’t that bad, but it wasn’t good either.

The next day the girls and I ventured over to Big Beach for a bit. The waves there were killer. Literally. The lifeguards kept making announcements about being careful because there were numerous broken necks and backs at this beach. What?! Before I heard the first announcement I’d already been in and out of the water. Getting into the ocean wasn’t too bad, but when I tried to get back out I got slammed a few times. Not fun. Needless to say, I decided not to go back out into the water again. It was totally not worth getting a broken back or neck. There are plenty of other beaches.

One of the girls wasn’t feeling well, so we headed back to our host’s house early. I decided to take a break from being productive or going on any adventures and just stayed in and watched Netflix. All. Night. Long. It was wonderful. And I have no regrets.

The next day I took the girls to Black Rock Beach, so we could jump off the cliff. If you’re going to do the jump, make sure you wear shoes to hike up. I definitely burned my feet hiking up the black lava rock. Whoops. Also, the jump is pretty high – fifteen or twenty feet and hitting the water from that high stings a bunch, so try to limit your surface area. Ouch.

We tried to go to Haleakalā for sunset, but it was too cloudy, so I took the girls to Ho’okipa Beach to see the turtles instead. It worked out perfectly, because the sunset there was AMAZING!

Sunset with the turtles at Ho'okipa Beach, Maui, HI.

Sunset with the turtles at Ho’okipa Beach, Maui, HI.

My last day in Maui I went back to the Kihei Craft Market that I’d seen on the bus earlier in the week, but it wasn’t as cool or as big as I thought it’d be. After that I went to Kamaole Beach Park III, but again it was super windy and the sand was blowing all over me, so I decided not to hang out at the beach. Instead, I went up to the park and had my lunch and then found some grass and sat down and colored. It was a nice chill way to end my time on Maui. That night I went back to my host’s house and did laundry and packed and got ready to head to the Big Island the next day for the last leg of my 50 states adventure.