Sunday, March 28, 2010

Upcountry Maui Fun


My grandson, Aukai, is visiting from the Big Island and we are having a great weekend exploring Maui. I try to get out and about often, but there is nothing like having family and friends here to really get my Exploring Energy fired up.

I have been meaning to get up to check out the new (three years old now in the new location!) Thompson Ranch, for some horseback riding. Yesterday was a bit chilly with lots of cool mountain mist rolling down the slopes of Haleakala, so we bundled up for our ride. Aukai rode Rascal, he was the lead horse after our guide. I rode Commander. Commander was a beautiful painted female, and somehow, her name did not fit for me.

We tackled the mountain slope, quite a climb up to 5,000 ft. Andy Thompson was our guide, and she was a pleasure to spend time with. The ranch is 1,400 acres of sloping Haleakala flanks boarding on the PoliPoli forest. I love this area of Maui so much. The neighborhood drive up to the ranch is a delight in flowering hedges and old stone walls surrounding emerald green pastures.

After our ride we stopped by the Ali'i Kula Lavender farm.

This lovely 10 acres estate, offers a serene setting for drinking in the vistas while strolling through exciting and well cared for gardens. We wandered on the "Peaceful Path" sipping our delicious lavender tea. Actually, I wandered, lagging behind while my grandson made double time on the trails. This family farm is well run, and a special treat to visit, offering beneficial lavender products, creams and lotions and food products to purchase. Aukai picked out a couple of great gifts for his family.

Our day was great, topped off by a visit to the skate park in Wailuku and ono pizza at Flatbread in Paia.

Wow, some fun! and we are still going. We plan to go the Maui Arts and Cultural Center this evening for a fantastic Ukulele fest with the famed Jake!

Come visit Maui, and I will give you some great tips on special ways to spend your time.

Aloha for now, see you soon..


Friday, March 19, 2010

Haleakala, House of the Sun

Aloha from a Spring day on Maui,

Relief has come and we finally had some trade wind showers. It is raining right now and everything is greening up a bit. It does feel like spring is right around the corner.

I'm posting some beautiful pictures of one of my favorite places on the planet, Haleakala Crater.

The raw moonscape of this volcanic crater draws you in. This picture was taken by a friend of mine, David Frazier, on his early morning journey to the mountain. The dawn of this day held alot of promise as the sunlight stole away the dark blues of early morning.

The Sliding Sands trail is miles of red, black and gray lava rock dotted with the silver sword plants. The silver sword pictures posted were taken by a guest who stayed at the B&B for 5 nights. His name is Klaus Leemann and he is from Switzerland. It was interesting that during his stay there happened to be another guest from Switzerland in the house as well. Breakfast was lively this last week with some really great folks. Klaus took some beautiful photos during his stay, and it seemed that he really enjoyed the time he spent in Haleakala National Park.

Going down this trail is great, coming back up is another story. Because the climb in altitude is significant, it feels a bit like walking through cement coming back up Sliding Sands.
The tough and challenging hike through the crater is something I look forward to. I do have to spend time getting prepared for the 11 mile hike. Although it is a rewarding experience, I am definitely worn out a bit when the hike is over.

I go to Haleakala because it is visually stunning, and because it is magnificently quite. The silence of Haleakala is like no other place I have ever experienced. When you stop walking, the silence is total.......................................................... It empties you out.......... and fills you up. If you spend enough time enjoying the quiet, the layers and mind chatter slip away. The spacious feeling inside the crater, and the profound silence keeps me coming back again and again.

The last photo posted by Klaus was taken at the end of the day. Shadows are growing longer, and the wonderful day on the mountain is coming to a close.

Haleakala is in my backyard, and I am truly blessed.

Come and visit our island home, you will be glad that you did.

Mahalo for the great pictures!

A hui hou folks, see you soon.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Mixed Bag


This post is a mixed bag, reflecting life on the island this last week.

A tsunami will grab everybody's attention, and it did. My phone rang at 4 am, my mainland guests, do love 'em, called to warn me about a monster size tsunami that was heading accross the ocean towards our island home. The last tsunami in 1960 was big after being generated by a smaller quake than had just happened. All this woke me up rather quickly. The phone rang again shortly after and it was some folks evacuating from the beach area looking for a room. OK, no going back to sleep now. Might as well gas up and hit the grocery store. I beat most of the crowd to gas, but the grocery store was another thing. People in Hawaii are pretty serious about food, food and beer. I have never seen so many people in line in a grocery store, ever. Ice was melting in the long lines, dripping water accross the crowded floors. Big bags of white rice, toliet paper, Hawaiian currency, and "choke beer" was the order of the day. True to form, the day turned into a great big island wide picnic. Of course, everybody headed for the hills, making upcountry a popular place to be on Tsunami Day. Luckily for all of us, that is all the day turned out to be, a big picnic. Our island community was "on it," well prepared, our officals did their job, the tsunami sirens blared like clock work, and it was a well ordered, sunny and beautiful, crazy day.

The photos I'm posting today were taken by a wonderful German couple on their honeymoon during the mixed bag week. Julia and Jorg sent me a couple of shots from their Maui trip. If you look closely at the jungle shot, you will see a mongoose standing. It's a great shot that was taken at the Wainapanapa State Park out in Hana. This beautiful Hawaiian word means "glistening waters." It is a black sand beach with lots of jungle bush surrounding the park. The curious mongoose is ever present out in the jungle areas. The funny story about the mongoose is that they were imported to Hawaii to take care of the rat problem. I guess not alot of research went into this decision as one sleeps during the day, and the other at night. Not much opportunity for battles.

Moving on, Jorg is standing next to a giant guitar at Charley's in Paia. He was very impressed with the size and quality of this beautiful guitar. Charley's resturant is a bit of an icon in Paia town. It has grown over the years to a gathering place for some good music, and when you want an ono cooked breakfast, they are always a good and friendly place to stop in.

The last photo is of lovely Julia in the garden of Hale Ho'okipa wearing the gorgeous orchid lei that I gave her at breakfast. A friend had given it to me, and when I remembered that they were on their honeymoon, I gifted it to Julia. It looked stunning on her. The orchid petals are folded so that create a boxy look. This lei is unique and impressive, as many of our Hawaiian lei are. What an art lei making is!

Thanks for the photos, folks, it was great to meet you, and mahalo for your company during our rather wild week.

Much Aloha,