Last day in Maui...for now!
My last day in Maui started EARLY ;)
The plan: head out on the road to Hana for the bamboo hike, then go to Paia for lunch at Maka (raw vegan cuisine...SO dang good!!), chill at the beach then sunset at Haleakala
We almost did it all! I ended up getting a really bad headache after lunch, so after an hour at the beach without any improvement, we headed back to Kihei. I was a little bummed, but I definitely know now that this recent trip to Maui WILL NOT be my last, so sunset at Haleakala is on the top of my list the next time I go! Along with snorkeling! (I didn't get to go when I had planned because of the tropical storm that hit)
Back to the last day adventures–
My housemate and I set out to Paia to meet one of her friends who was joining us for our adventure day. Soon, the three of us were on our way to Hana! Wow is that road beautiful!! I took some video of the drive there :) and with the footage my housemate got with her GoPro, I'm going to compile all of it (photos, GoPro video footage, my video footage) into a video; with music and everything!
Not too far down the road to Hana, I think it was around mile 6, was the trail head for the bamboo hike. When we parked, around 9:30am, there were already a handful of cars and people, which had doubled or even tripled by the time we came back to our car after the hike; I'm so glad we got there early! I much prefer hiking when there's not an onslaught of people all around you on the trails. Something about being out in nature when it's just you and a few others, makes it more special for me, more of the experience I want when I go hiking.
We changed out of our flip flops and into our shoes, strapped on our backpacks and were on our way! Thankfully, I had packed water shoes and knew that we were going to be crossing through water on this hike, so that's what I brought with me. Even though I've had those shoes for YEARS, mostly just collecting dust in my closet, I was very grateful to have them for this hike in particular. Mud, water, slippery rocks...we encountered it all. And I was so grateful that I didn't have socks to clean once I got back to the house!
After just a few minutes, I knew this hike was going to be magical. Even a few steps from the trail head off the road, we were SURROUNDED by bamboo! And I mean surrounded. It was so incredibly thick, you would need a machete if you wanted to walk off the trail. Then we came to this...
You can't tell by this picture, but the waterfall was so powerful, it was spraying water all the way to where we were! INCREDIBLE, right?! See what I mean by the bamboo?? Look at how lush it is!
We crossed a stream and then another stream; I learned that it's best to step onto smaller rocks because the larger rocks are usually more unstable (who knew!) and when crossing through a strong current, to keep at least one hand on the rocks. I was super shaky at first, walking across rocks, but as we walked to the second waterfall we came across and then back to try to find the trail head continuation on the opposite side, I got tons of practice!! Sadly, we couldn't find the rest of the trail that went deeper into the forest, probably because the storm had closed it off with fallen bamboo. BUT we turned around and decided to swim in the waterfall (not the one above) and just relax for a while :)
SO BEAUTIFUL!! WOW! Take me back to this exact spot, please!
The water was pretty cold, but it felt really good because it was humid out and we had worked up a sweat on the hike by that point. There were a few other people there when we were swimming around and being silly, but they trickled off and we had about 10 minutes or so with just the three of us and the waterfall. Just as we were ready to head back, a ton of people came by, so it was perfect timing! On the walk back to the car, we encountered SO many more people and felt really lucky that we had some quiet time on the hike and at the waterfall.
Next stop: Paia for lunch!
Or so we thought...
I saw a small fruit stand on the side of the road a few miles down the Hana Highway, so we stopped there for a bit. We took photos and video, I got my first fresh coconut and was super excited about that! It ended up being really sour though, which was not what I expected but oh well! The stand had coconuts, mango, pineapple and papaya, and were selling smoothies, shave ice, juices and various other items such as rain sticks and coconut bras :P
Before long, we were at Maka!! It was SO hard to choose because I was super hungry, but I had to have the Acai Bowl. I had been dreaming about it since I was there last and saw someone order it!
We even ran into people they knew while we were there and they sat with us for a while! Hawaii is so amazing like that...everyone knows someone whenever you go somewhere. It's really nice :) and quite refreshing to be around people who are so open-hearted!
Before we knew it, we had been sitting there for over two hours. We parted ways and once again it was me and my housemate. Oh, I almost forgot!! Right before we got our check, our server offered us a FREE slice of raw vegan cheesecake. They were giving them away because they were almost a week old, but they still tasted wonderful, she told us, they just didn't have the fresh look they wanted. Who can say no to free raw vegan cheesecake?! And it was SO delicious.
We went to the closest beach and decided some chill time in the shade was much needed. By this time, my head was seriously pounding, so I hoped that closing my eyes for a bit and drinking lots of water would do the trick and leave me headache-free so that we could head to Haleakala for sunset.
This was the view from my towel :)
As we decided on a spot to lay out our towels, I caught a glimpse of someone familiar to the left of me. It was Ellen Fisher of Mango Island Mamma!! She was one of the first people I started following and getting inspired by when I first went vegan two years ago!!! :D I couldn't believe it! I wanted to say hi, but she was alone and with her two boys and I didn't want to bother her. As soon as I decided I wasn't going to say anything to Ellen, she turned to me and asked, "Excuse me, could you hold him for a second?" And handed me Sandy, her little boy. After, I was partly in shock as I whispered to my housemate that I knew her from social media. She talked me into saying hello. So I did. And boy was I glad I did! She was SO kind and even though I didn't say much, other than the fact that I've followed her on social media for a while and that it was my last day on Maui, she introduced me to Elvis, said it was so nice to meet me and hoped that I enjoyed my time here.
I was so lit up by meeting her I knew I wouldn't be able to take a nap, so I went walking along the sand and swam for a little while. I was still hopeful that my headache would fade away, so I closed my eyes as I dried off on my towel in the shade. After about 10 minutes or so, I decided it would be best to go back to Kihei, but not before we got some photos! The water was too beautiful to pass up.
I mean, LOOK at those colors!! It almost looks fake...
By the time we got back to the house, my headache was BAD. I knew exactly what I needed though: water, rest, more water, a cold shower and dinner. A few hours went by and I was about to give up entirely on seeing the sunset, but I heard my housemate's voice outside my door calling my name. She asked if I wanted to go see the sunset. I took this as a gift from the universe and said yes :)
My head was still hurting, but not quite as bad. Little did I know, that walking to see the sunset with a friend and taking some jumping pictures and yoga pictures were just the medicine I needed! We took in the beauty of the sunset, snapped some photos, laughed ourselves silly then headed back before dark.
It wasn't the last epic day on Maui that I had expected, but to be frank, my whole trip was FULL of unexpected twists and turns; some good, some not so good, but in the end, I landed exactly where I needed to be. I can't wait to go back! I'm thinking a trip for my birthday, just in time for whale watching season ;)