***This completes my series of posts highlighting our 2014 Maui trip, featuring some of the best things to do and best places to hike in Maui. Meanwhile, Sylvia and I are just back from our second shakeout hike of the year, to Pilot Mountain State Park, about 2 hours down the road. While I cook up a new post about this hike, here’s some more leftovers from Here’s a roundup of other adventures and things we saw and did in Maui. Nothing like leftovers from paradise!
Makena Beach, located in the State Park of the same name, south of Kaanapali, is sometimes known as ‘Big Beach.’ There is a smaller beach next to it called, as one might presume, Little Beach. Little Beach is one of several on the island known to be ‘clothing optional.’ (The Red Sand Beach at Hana is another.) We did not go to Little Beach. My cousin and self-proclaimed Maui expert Jon dismissed us for not taking in the sights of Little Beach, to which I replied that the two beaches had come together to produce a third Beach made specially for him – Son of a Beach. At any rate, Makena Beach, which is also on the lower slopes of Haleakala, is very nice. As with most other Maui attractions parking is extremely limited here, so come early.
There is an area further up this road that crosses very old and probably very interesting lava flows, but I DO NOT endorse anyone going there, this area is generally closed (and well patrolled by police and rangers) and apparently considered sacred ground by the locals.
The Dragons Teeth
Just past Kaanapali are the Dragons Teeth, one the of the most remarkable (and accessible) lava formations on the island. Like everything else in Maui, the only way to reach it is to cross private land along unmarked and sometimes sketchy trails. This one crosses the lawn of a hotel (The Ritz Carlton Kapalua), passes the site of a burial ground (PLEASE respect the local peoples) and then cuts across the margins of a gold course. (PLEASE respect the idiots golfing.)
We were helped along by a helpful grinning local in a wet suit holding a six-foot iron harpoon. He was returning from spear fishing, and while he did not seem to have speared anything, appeared to be the happiest man in the world. The Hawaiians are uniformly the nicest people we have ever met, at least those who live on Maui. They are a marked contrast to the rude hoards of selfish, short tempered tourists. Maybe paradise rubs off.
At any rate…past the golf course and in no time you are down at the shore among some very bizarre rock formations that look like…well, like Dragon’s Teeth.
The formations are extensive. The walking and scrambling over them is easy and not very dangerous, though I would exercise caution around the sharp pumice edges.
Closet to the water there is some danger of the powerful surf sweeping a person away, so exercise double caution (or do as my wife did and dismiss such warnings as “exaggerations” and do as you please anyways.)
We caught a split-second glimpse of a sea turtle at the Teeth, but it was gone before we could snap a picture. Fortunately, we’d see MANY more off Puu Kekaa, the famed Black Rock of Kanaapali.
Everyone who goes to Maui eventually gets drawn to the mist shrouded spiritual cdenter of the island, the Iao Valley (pronounced Ee-ow.) It is a different experience, deep inland through a narrow cleft in high mountains as well as in the rain forest, with only a few glimpses of the ocean. The steep valley is impressive, and we enjoyed walking around the little botanical garden there, but it would have been nicer to be able to do some actual hiking. On the other hand these cliff faces are very muddy and eroded, and because of persistent fog and clouds there are few views.
Some people associate the Iao Valley with fertility. One can’t possibly imagine why.
Note that one also must beware stray wind gusts here. In fact my beloved Outdoor Research hiking hat decided to go airborne and fly off my head just as Sylvia and I were taking a selfie in front of the sacred rock. This is why in most of the pictures hence, I am wearing a blue tourist hat with a turtle on it. (This hat can be seen in other photos as well, look for it elsewhere on the Blog!)
This is the last known photograph of it. And the aftermath. Note the immense sadness and disappointment writ on Sylvia’s face. ☹ EE-OW!!!!
Sylvia and I both thought the incredibly scenic (and somewhat dangerous) drive to the Islands Northwest Side (Rte. 340) to be superior to the Road to Hana. There are MANY more views from the road and many less rude tourist morons to contend with on it. Be sure you have the camera out for this, you will pass some outrageous viewpoints. However, the drawback is the road is much further from the surf and so there are far fewer places to make your way safely down to secluded beaches (but plenty of opportunities to UN-safely find your way down.)
This area is REMOTE. This is the windward side of the island and so it is dry (by Hawaiian standards) and not very populated. The roads are very sketchy, with prolonged single lane sections, hairpin turns and MANY narrow bridges. There are some areas where two cars would be hard pressed to pass, and for much of it the speed limit is 10 MPH.
The road winds past and nearly over spectacular Kahakuloa Head…seen here, one of the most notable land forms of Maui, which you are not likely to see if you don’t drive this road. Maui’s famed Nakalele blowhole is also one this drive. Like everything else on the island the blow hole is reached by a steep, sketchy and eroded trail with many warning signs saying Hike at Your Own Risk….which, to be honest, is what I do every time I hike. 😊
The road eventually curves all the way back to Kahului City making a loop possible…but when Sylvia and I drove the road, it was closed maybe 10 miles before the return leg. This meant we had to turn around and drive the ENTIRE way back. My advice is check the road conditions…if the road is open, do not hesitate to make this trip, but do it in daylight if possible. And remember there are virtually NO services at all out here.
Outrigger Canoe Ride
Finally, what would any trip to Hawaii be without a ride in an Outrigger Canoe? Beside the Haleakala Hike, this was the BEST thing we did on the island and absolutely worth the money. We were told the outrigger we rode in had once been used in competitive racing…still quite a popular sport on the islands.
Note exactly us in an outrigger but close…courtesy TheVintageTVArchive
We many sea turtles (including one HUGE green turtle, probably century old) and a Monk Seal. Alas, we were too early in the season for gray whales…but we were told that in season, whales are very often seen on the tour, too. The canoes are quite safe by the way…I have a strong tendency to sink rather than float and had no issues, and the man in front of me was 73 years old. If this landlubber can do it, so can you.
If you get a chance to do the outrigger canoe excursion which leaves from Kaanapali don’t hesitate.