The power of manifesting your dreams and desires is profound. The act of envisioning exactly what you want in life, over and over, can make that dream a reality. Sometimes, I am surprised by the opportunities that fall into my lap, nearly all that have passed through my stream of conscience as something that would bring me closer to my bliss. It’s the unexpected turns in life that plop that yearning right in front of me, and make me pause and appreciate how quirky the universe truly is. Hawaii was this experience incarnate. Over the last year, Whit and I had ruminated on Hawaii as a travel destination. Because we tend to focus our travels abroad rather than right here in the good ole USA, we have bypassed this little crew of islands over and over. And then, Hawaii just dropped into our laps. My parents were planning a two week stay on Maui over Thanksgiving break, assuming that none of the kids could make it home for the holidays. Before they could finish the sentence, all three of us lunged at the idea of crashing their trip and transforming part of their Hawaii stay into a family reunion of sorts.
We stayed in a condo along the beach in Lahaina for nearly five days with all of my siblings. Whit and I flew in Wednesday afternoon and were promptly whisked away to nearby Paia for fish tacos. We then drove up to Haleakala National Park for some star gazing. Unfortunately, after the very long drive, complete cloud cover obscured any chance of seeing stars.
The next day, we hung out at a nearby beach for some snorkeling and mermaid games (my niece is obsessed) and drank Mai Tai’s in the sun. We prepared a traditional Thanksgiving meal that night and enjoyed some quality family time.
Friday was a HUGE day. We drove the Road to Hana, which took over 12 hours. We took the top off of the Jeep to fully appreciate the scenery. Thankfully we did, as motion sickness would have surely bogged us down if not for the fresh breeze. We hiked at multiple stops along the way, fueled by local banana bread and pineapple smoothies. Our first stop was Waikamoi Ridge Trail. We hiked a little ways in before the steep and muddy trail turned our group around. Between the children and my parents, the trail seemed a little out of our league.
Our next stop was Wailua Valley State Wayside, where a short jaunt up the steps awarded expansive panoramic views. On the ocean side, there was even a small white church made entirely of coral.
Then we hiked up to Wailuaiki Falls, my favorite stop on the Road to Hana. The short hike climbs a shaded hill that opens up to a valley of greenery with two gorgeous cascading falls.
Next up was Pua’a Ka’a State Wayside, a picturesque swimming hole and waterfall right off of the road. We waded through the stream to get a closer look at the falls and the colorful stones just beneath the surface.
Three Bears Falls, also known as Upper Waikani Falls, is also right off of the Road to Hana with a small clearing along the bridge that provides ample space to admire the three cascades.
Makapipi Falls is actually right below the bridge. Dangling the camera out over the abyss was quite anxiety provoking but worth the picture.
A crowd favorite was Waianapanapa Black Sand Beach just outside of Hana. The black sand beach juxtaposes the bright turquoise waters and the small cove provides a sense of intimacy. A short hike up the volcanic rocks affords bountiful views of coastline and a fun blowhole at the top. Across the bay is a stunning sea arch of volcanic rock.
Wailua Falls is a 173 foot tall waterfall that we briefly glimpsed on the drive. We didn’t have time to stop or space for parking unfortunately.
Our last stop on the Road to Hana was the Seven Sacred Pools, also known as Ohe’o Gulch, a quick loop hike that passes by a majestic banyan tree. It being the conclusion of our scenic drive, we were exhausted and still had to drive the 2+ hours back to Lahaina. Friday was such a full day and wiped us all out with exhaustion.
On Saturday, we hopped on a Pride of Maui snorkel boat to Molikini Crater and Turtle Arch for some exquisite snorkeling. In Molikini Crater, we glimpsed countless fish including Yellow Tang, Parrot Fish, Bluefin Trevally, Sargeant Majors, and Angel fish. Although the crater boasted a flourishing coral reef, Turtle Arch was my favorite. Not only did we spot luminous fish, we also saw multiple sea turtles gracefully swimming along. We also witnessed an octopus changing colors from purple to a pale blue and a small green eel. I was too busy splashing around to take any photos of our snorkeling trip.
That night we had dinner at Whaler’s Village before sending off my younger brother and his wife back to Texas. Sunday was pretty low key with Slappy Cakes for breakfast and a jaunt along Front Street for some gallery strolls. And with a blink of an eye, our Maui trip was over. Maui was incredible, to say the least, and a great reminder to enjoy your home country just as much as abroad. I can’t wait to return to Hawaii, but next time to Kauai for a backpacking adventure. Fingers crossed, or should I say manifest hard, for this trip next year.