RunnerCaching Paradise: Maui Part I

–1–

Friday, August 5:  The Thirty-Hour Day (The Short Version)

Planes, shuttle buses, and automobiles.  Airports.  Sitting on the tarmac for an extra hour because technical problems.  Trying unsuccessfully to sleep.  Arriving in Maui at 4 pm, but our bodies telling us it’s 10 pm.  After being up since three in the morning.  But, Maui!  And our beach house Ray stumbled across online!  A little three-bedroom cottage, part of a little cluster of cottages with a shared tennis court, beautiful gardens, chickens and quail running around, and two enormous trees.  Just across the street is the most beautiful beach anyone has ever seen.  I spotted a little critter in the bathroom–no, not a spider or a cockroach or a mouse.  A little gecko no more than an inch long from nose to tail.  I don’t mind sharing a space with a few of these little guys.   To celebrate our arrival:  Fish tacos and a Mai Tai.  And then I have to buy a swimsuit because I forgot mine.

–2–

Saturday, August 6

I’m wide awake at 4 am.  It’s hard to sleep when your body clock is six hours ahead.  Woke to the sound of the rooster.  Might as well get up.  The stars are so bright here!  When a shooting star lights the sky for a split second, I realize it’s the time of year for the Perseid meteor shower.  The sky begins to lighten and I put on my running clothes, wolf down a banana, and go for a run.  I make my way just under a couple of miles north, along the road that parallels the south shore of Maui.  I find a geocache.  I make my way back, stopping to admire the lovely views of the ocean and West Maui and Lanai and the smallest Hawaiian island, Kaho’olawe.  I enjoy my Kona coffee and breakfast out on the patio lanai.

–3–

We pile in our rented minivan and take a lovely drive to the summit of Haleakala.  There’s an Earthcache at the very top, and I quickly find the information I need to log the find and then get down to the business of enjoying the views.  You can see the Big Island from here, with its two volcanoes–Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea.  Then a short hike on what looks like the surface of Mars, into the crater of Haleakala.  The altitude is getting to Ray so we only go about a mile in.  Stunning.  The landscape changes by the minute because the clouds are constantly moving in and out, obscuring parts of the view and then revealing its breathtaking glory.  On the drive back down we stop for lunch at a place with amazing views and a brick pizza oven that is part of the outdoor décor.  Later on I relax for a while on the beach, watching the waves and the little birds and people and dogs playing fetch in the surf.

–4–

After a shower, I sit on the back porch lanai with a glass of wine, and walk around the grounds admiring the flowers and watching Ray teach Nick to play tennis.  Nick tells me that some kind of fruit has fallen off one of the big trees and now the chickens are devouring it.  I move in for a closer look, and I see that they’re all pecking at something orange-ish and round-ish.  OH. MY. GAWSH.  Those are mango trees.  Clusters of the nearly-ripe fruit are dangling from high up in the branches, and a few uneaten ones are lying on the ground.  Here’s a little one, perfectly ripe.  We all take a bite and it’s AMAZING.  I rescue another one before the can get to it and put it on the windowsill for later.  I fill the empty bird feeder, and for the next few days we are awed by the variety of birds that come.  No squirrels to steal the birdseed, and still we have to fill it every day.

–5–

Sunday, August 7

I’m wide awake again at 4:30 am.  I get up and put on my running clothes.  I run on the beach a little bit (did I tell you it’s the most beautiful beach on the planet?) and find a geocache; I try not to wake up the homeless person sleeping nearby.  Then I run some hills, find another cache, and catch a view of Haleakala.  They say early morning is the best time of day to see it; most of the time it’s covered in clouds.  After my run I have a little bit of time to watch the birds.

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–6–

Then Sunday Mass at St. Theresa’s in Kihei. The Mass is 90 minutes long, but it’s beautiful!  We sing the “Lord Have Mercy” in Hawaiian (Correction: We listen to everyone else sing it.)  At the end of Mass several young ladies all in matching white dresses and leis do a beautiful dance.  As I’m walking around taking photos of the church, a lady tells me that all the statues were made by a local artisan with local wood.  I especially love the statue of the Virgin Mary!

(Statues are St. Theresa, Mary, and St. Damien.)

–7–

For the rest of the day we drive the Road to Hana.  We don’t know if we’ll make it to Hana, and we know we’re not going any farther.  We just drive and see how far we get.  We’ve downloaded an app that uses your phone’s GPS to narrate the drive and point out interesting stops along the way.  I know there are some geocaches on the Hana Highway, but I’m not expecting to find any because cell coverage is spotty–besides, the boys aren’t interested anyway.  At Ke’anae Peninsula I find one purely by accident:  we’re admiring the waves crashing against the lava rocks near the shore, and I happen to look down at the roots of a tree, and there are a couple of rocks wedged in between them.  I thought that looked like it could be a place where a cache could be hiding.  I pull out my phone, find a signal, and sure enough there’s a cache here.  Where do you think it is?  In the tree roots behind the rocks.  Talk about pure dumb luck.  We make it to Hana, but we don’t get out of the car because we want to make it back to Kihei before dark.

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(Our first stop is a little wayside park where we take in the beautiful view.)

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(Next is the Ke’anae Arboretum, where we take a little walk.)

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(The Ke’anae Peninsula may be my favorite stop along the Road to Hana.  See that tree on the far left in the bottom photo?  That’s where the geocache is hiding.)

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(The black sand beach at Wai’anapanapa State Park is an Earthcache.  It involves going down some steep trails and the boys aren’t feeling up to it. *sigh*)

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(…but check out this cave!  I wonder if Gollum lives here?)

(On the drive back I snap a few photos with my phone.  Some of the trees remind me of something out of a Dr. Seuss book.)

  We have one more day on Maui before we fly to Oahu for a couple of days.  I’ll tell you about that in my next post!  In the meantime you can enjoy this classic scene from Dirty Dancing.  You’re welcome.

I’m linking up with Kelly on This Ain’t The Lyceum.  Be sure to check out her post.  It’s a beautiful reminder that our life here on Earth truly is a gift, no matter what our circumstances and abilities.  May I never take for granted the gifts that God has given to me and to our family.  Have a great weekend everyone!

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