Maui - Thurs. Feb. 13 - Kapalua and Beyond
Feb 14, 2014
|The first picture is the beautiful hand-made whale tail I bought Wednesday in Lahaina.
On Thursday I picked up my new friend Lisa at her hotel around noon. First we drove to an area she has stayed with her family several times, Napili. It is between Kaanapali and Kapalua. Most of the hotels there are on the beach, small and from an earlier time. It is more of a residential area but we passed a small strip mall with some restaurants so it is convenient to necessities.
Then we drove on to Kapalua to pick up something for a friend at the Kapalua Golf Course. This is a VERY EXCLUSIVE area. The golf club house was so beautiful we decided to eat at the restaurant there, which overlooked the Plantation Course. The restaurant was open air with nice breezes. I had a salad and a corn/lime soup with cumin flavored croutons and lime flavored crème fraiche. Interesting. The prices were actually reasonable for a resort in Hawaii. From our table, in addition to the course and the ocean we could also see the $10 million + villas on top of an oceanside hill.
I had the book Maui Revealed and several maps in the car. We decided to go as far as we could on SR 30 and stop at the sites suggested by the book. It would be an ADVENTURE!! We were mainly interested in the Nakalele Blowhole at the 38.5 mile marker. Lisa had read about a person who had been sucked into the blowhole and whose body had never been found. It was just past the 38.5 mile marker, which was marked, just as the book said. There was a large pull off with plenty of available parking. The road was about 200 foot above the ocean at that location. A 1200' trail ran down the hill to the ocean but there were a lot of rock outcroppings and the trail had a lot of loose rock. One slip and one could fall the 200' into the ocean. There was no beach here so it would mean falling on lava rock. Ouch! We had on sandals so with all the dangers, and because we are older and wiser, we decided to watch it blowing from the top. And we did have a great vantage point from there. This would be a nice place for a picnic. The quality of the blow depends on the action of the waves so it would probably be better after a storm.
At the 40.5 mile marker we came to a nice pullout marked "Ohai Trail". There were several informational signs - one that described a 1.2 mile trail through the scrub and another that pointed out other points of interest along the ocean cliff. The book suggests walking 1.2 mile trail counterclockwise for the best views. We did not do the hike because we only had on sandals but the view from the peak was beautiful. Looking back we could see the backside of the hill at the blowhole (blocking the sightline of the blowhole) and looking forward we could see a HUGE rock formation that appeared to be off the coast from this view point. That became our goal. We later found out this "rock" is a 636 foot high hill called Kahakula Head (or the tall lord).
At what should be about the 41 mile marker the road changed dramatically and became what I assume is County Road 340 and switched to mile marker 16. SR 30 was narrow and winding but it was 2 lane. This other road was only one lane, hanging right on the cliff. In some places it was obvious slipping. The next rain it may all come down. The road started down into a valley. We met a car going up the other way but luckily we were at a wide place in the road when we saw him and pulled over as far against the hillside as we could until he passed us. I'm glad we were on the inside rather than the outside! We continued on the narrow road. There was one place to turn around at the bottom of the valley but we decided to go on to see what we could see. At the top of the hill we found a bus selling smoothies and other yummies. The next hill over was the "rock" we had been determined to drive to. Beside the "rock" was another hill (547' high called Puu Kahuli'anapa). At the foot of these hills was a village on a cove with a rocky beach. We could see the road (still very narrow) winding through the village and up the next hill.
We checked the Maui map and realized the road continues on to the Central Maui area. We could either turn around and go back the way we came or continue on. If we continued on we would end up circling the entire top half of the island. We decided to not go into the village but turn around and go the way we came. It was already about 4:00 and it could take another 3 hours to continue the loop. Another thing that helped make our decision was that four other cars were cueing up to go back. It would be much easier with a group. Especially when I wouldn't be the first car to come upon an approaching car. We got lucky and only had to pass one car and again we were at a wide space where the other driver could pull over. When we got back to the wide SR30 we agreed we had definitely made the right decision.
We half-heartedly tried to find another site discussed in Maui Revealed, the Olivine Pools. We knew we would have to hike down to sea level to get to them and did not have the right shoes for hiking. We also didn't have swimsuits so we couldn't swim in them anyway. They were supposed to be about where the road changed from state to county. This can be another adventure for another time.
We set out with no real plan and ended up having a very fun adventure day. The drive was incredibly beautiful. Very similar scenery as the Road to Hana but no buses and we only met about two dozen or so cars. Until this drive becomes better publicized I would very highly recommend if you are on Maui you create your own adventure on this west maui side of the island.
For all of you that have the long weekend - Enjoy!!!