Saturday, April 4, 2009

No-ride Day on Maui

Makahiku Falls

Didn't get to ride Friday. Doesn't matter. Thursday's single climb day was enough to hold me over for a day without a ride. We split up group activities. Steve and Gina have been around East Maui on a previous trip and didn't need to see it again. Cathy, my mom and I hadn't been there yet. It is a long haul. Only 60 miles or so by car, but at 10-30 miles per hour for much of it, it takes 3hrs to get there. Lots of neat scenery along the famed "Road to Hana." The three of us had seen a portion of the road to Hana on a previous trip, so we didn't stop much this time. We were interested in a waterfall hike in Haleakala National Park on the south shore of East Maui. Steve and I visited the summit by bike the previous day. Now it was time to see where all that water from daily rain ends up.

Bamboo tunnel along the Pipiwai Trail

We hiked the Pipiwai Trail in the Oheo Gulch, an area commonly called the Seven Sacred Pools in tourist guides. Typically, you can swim in these pools with waterfalls separating them. But there was a swimming ban in place since the water was running very high. I guess the park service didn't want unsuspecting tourist hurled over a cascade of 50ft waterfalls and swept out to sea as a tenderized shark meal.

The hike is 4 miles round trip, something mom's temperamental knee could handle. With persistent rain, the hike didn't disappoint. You could hear each waterfall well before you could see them. Makahiku falls could be seen from up high, while much further in Waimoku falls could be seen from the bottom. It was too dangerous to stand in the torrent coming down, not because it was too voluminous, but because large rocks are frequently dislodged from hundreds of feet above. Waimoku Falls is largest on Maui, 400 feet.

As spectacular as the falls, walking through the mature bamboo forest was also pretty cool. Smelled very jungle-ish. We got back to the car without getting rained on. The hike took about 2.5hrs, with maybe 30 minutes picture stoppage time.

Waimoku Falls

Mom does not deal with motion well. Never has since childhood. Rather than take the road to Hana back to West Maui, we took the Piilani Hwy back along the south shore of East Maui. The road to Hana is purported to have over 600 turns in it, maybe not more than 100ft straight at a time. Initially, we questioned taking the Piilani Hwy back. It was single lane and dirt in many places, essentially a 4wd road. It cliff hugged the shoreline, often at grades exceeding 20%. At least it wasn't at curvy. Eventually it opens up on the rain shadow side of Haleakala, a vast grassy lava field. We all thought this was much more scenic than the famed road to Hana side which was dense tropical rain forest. It was a good day. Got to experience many new sights and smells.

A couple nights ago, we had an uninvited guest in our room. We came back in from supper, I turned a lamp on and freaked. Right under the lamp on the end table, there was a lizard type critter on my water bottle. It remained perfectly motionless. Then I though Steve or one of the others was playing a prank on me, that it was fake. It sure did look real under close inspection though. Cathy and mom were weirded out by it. So I grabbed the waste basket in left hand, water bottle in right hand. Plan was to drop him into waste basket and release him outside. So while I was holding the water bottle with the three of our face peering closely at this ugly little critter, he leaped in the blink of an eye from water bottle about a foot away to lip of waste basket. There were two women and one man in our room, but I'm sure the people in the room next door heard three women scream. Yeah, we all freaked. He could have just as well leaped and stuck to my cheek with those suction cup feet. Fortunately, I got him outside before he leaped off the waste basket.

Very sketchy Piilani Highway, barely one lane, no guardrails and over 20% grade in places

Saturday was supposed to be our Haleakala trail plummet day, but no bike shops have a pair of MTB's that fit Steve and I available to rent. I'm bumming. Looks like a road loop ride around West Maui will be in order, a 62mi, ~4500ft loop that takes upwards of 4hrs to complete. We'll have to wait until Monday perhaps to do the Skyline Trail plummet.

Along southern coast of East Maui

Creepy crawlers in our room

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