Trip Report: Maui, Days 1&2

With Day 1 devoted solely to sitting in a flying sardine can soaring halfway across the Maritime Continent, Day 2 on Maui was all about settling in and falling into the island’s rhythm. Generally, the mainland moves at about 146 bpms, which is the approximate tempo for Led Zeppelin’s “Achilles’ Last Stand.” Maui’s tempo is usually about 74 bpm. It’s easy not to get anything done here, which is pretty much the point.


However, that would not stop me from hiking while I’m here. I’ve been coming to Maui for nearly 30 years now. For 25 of those years, my feet rarely ever pounded dirt with much of my exploration of the island occurring by car (usually with my dad behind the wheel).

I am relishing the chance to approach Maui from its natural side. As I always do when confronted with unknown territory, I created a list of all the hikes I would like to hike:

  1. Kapalua Coastal Trail
  2. Kapalua Village Trail
  3. Mahana Ridge Trail
  4. Nakalele Blowhole
  5. Ohai Trail
  6. Olivine Pool
  7. Waihee Ridge
  8. Iao Valley
  9. Lahaina Pali
  10. Olawalu Petroglyphs
  11. Lahaina Historic Walk
  12. Polipoli State Park (multiple routes)

That’s not as excessive as it looks, given that all of the routes except Mahana Ridge and Polipoli State Park are 5 miles or under. Half of them are around a mile. All told, they add up to about 50 miles over 12 days. Not bad.


First up: Kapalua Coastal Trail. This 1.8 mile route hugs the coast along the high dollar resorts at Kapalua. Although the trail is sometimes little more than a paved path along the front lawns of resorts I’ll never be able to afford to stay in, there are more than enough ecological treats along the way to make it worthy of a caloric sacrifice.


My wife, Kelly (better known as Peep) and I set off along the middle of the trail and promptly went the wrong way. After finding the correct path, we hit the most interesting part of the trail straight-away: a boardwalk through native coastal/sand dune vegetation that led off to a volcanic outcrop stretching 200 yards into the ocean.


The tip of the outcrop offered great views across the channel toward Molokai, as well as up and down the coast. We also made our way through a tiny wildlife sanctuary protecting nesting ground birds before stumbling upon a hidden cove. We backed out and followed the remainder of the trail along Kapalua Bay. This gorgeous beach is attached to insanely expensive hotel complexes, but the snorkeling is quite good.


There’s still a bit of the Coastal Trail remaining. The path stretches north toward D.T. Fleming Beach by way of a massive burial ground, where it connects with the Mahana Ridge Trail to create a continuous 8 mile one-way route up into the slopes of the West Maui Mountains. For a trail created and maintained by the village of Kapalua, that’s both an impressive and generous amount of trail miles. Amazingly, Kapalua hosts the largest continuous trail network on the island after Haleakala and Polipoli S.P.


The rest of our day was devoted primarily to leisure. We snorkeled at Honolua Bay just up the road. As the beneficiaries of the climate change (our bodies thought it was  7 am at 4 am), we got to Honolua before 7 and had the whole bay to ourselves for an hour. We had a tasty meal at Sea House and enjoyed the good swimming at Napili Bay.


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