This is our first trip to the island of Maui. Upon arrival, we were blown away by the beauty despite it being a very cloudy day on certain parts of the island. The below picture, taken from our balcony, is pretty much a summary of our experience while we were in Maui. There are mountains, resorts, and the beach all in one. One thing we agreed on once we started driving toward our hotel was that the landscape was something we've never seen before. The mountains looked like we were in New Zealand on the set of The Lord of the Rings with how different the landscape was. After checking into our hotel and getting something to eat, we were set to start exploring. While some places may have been visited more often than others, the island overall was so beautiful and very picturesque.
Next was the Nakalele Blowhole. In order to access it, we had to rock climb down the side of a cliff (with our camera being passed back and forth between us for safe transportation). The cool thing about this spot was that when a wave crashed against the rock, the water would make its way to this hole and literally blow a mixture of air, water, and mist. The area surrounding the blowhole is extremely dangerous, which explains the warning signs posted near the site. In the past, people have been sucked in and killed if you get too close. Oh, and we met a nice crab, too.
As we made our way through the north part of Maui, we came across the mountain in the first picture below. While we noticed that it was super steep, we had no idea that we were actually going to have to travel on it in order to head down south without turning around. Before we left for our trip, we both did research about what to expect and one thing we came across was the road system in Maui. If you think unpaved roads are bad, try driving on a single lane road with numerous blind hair-pin turns and hoping that no one is on the other side. Because drivers cannot see what's on the other side of a turn, blowing the car horn is apparently the way to tell someone you're coming. Ryan has never used the car horn so much in his life until then.
After escaping the harrowing drive through the north part of the island in one piece, we migrated down south for a sunset on the beach. As mentioned earlier, it can be sunny in one area of the mountain and cloudy somewhere else. Unfortunately, this was the case for tonight's sunset. Albeit a little gloomy, we did manage to get some color. Just goes to show that even though Hawaii is considered "paradise," it still has its fair share of cloudy days.
On our second day of vacation, we headed south to lava fields followed by Makena Beach and Makena Cove. The lava fields are actually the aftermath of Mount Haleakala's last eruption several decades ago. Even though the island had very comfortable temperatures while we were there, when we were at the lava fields, it was pretty noticeably warmer.
We spent several hours at Makena Beach and Cove and they possessed those stereotypical beach scenes with the palm trees and translucent, aqua water. But hey, who's complaining? Both were absolutely gorgeous and we were frequent visitors during our stay.
To close out our day in the Makena area, we ended it with a sunset. Perfect.
While researching Maui before our trip, Road to Hana was probably the most popular topic we came across. Numerous blogs and videos warned about the dangerous road conditions and potential queasiness you could experience, but we gave it a shot to see what the hype was about. Because the weather on Maui is so unpredictable at any given time, we expected rain to be a part of the trip, especially as we went higher and higher into the mountain range, but not for the entire time we were traveling. Plus, because the road is literally one lane with sharp, blind curves, there weren't too many (if any) safe places to stop and take pictures. But we did the best we could considering Whitney got carsick as we neared Hana. Another thing we read in our research was to stop at a snack store called Halfway to Hana because they have "the best banana bread" according to numerous people who went on the trip before us. So we had to try it, as well as a brownie that caught Ryan's eye. Y'all. Go get the brownie. It will be the best brownie you'll ever eat in your life. Before we had to turn around, the last highlight was Fagan's Cross, where residents of Hana gather for sunrise service on Easter.
Where else can you go to witness both a sunrise on top of a 10,000+ foot mountain and a sunset on the beach on the same day? That's right - Maui. Mount Haleakalā offers an unbeatable front row view of the sunrise each morning (weather permitting, of course). What makes this experience unique is that you're above a line of clouds as the sun rises. In order to fully experience the magnitude of this moment, we got up at 3:00 AM, dressed ourselves in layers (who would think to pack for 40 degree weather on a beach trip?), and drive for 2 1/2 hours across the island to Mount Haleakala. If you ever find yourself heading to Maui and want to experience this for yourselves, make sure to book this event at least 2 months in advance to ensure a reservation.
After leaving the volcano, we decided to tackle the southern portion of the Road to Hana. We came across very picturesque landscapes and made a few furry friends along the way.
As the saying goes, all good things must come to an end. And that also included our trip. Since our flight back to the mainland wasn't until later that night, we still had an entire day to wrap anything we wanted pictures of or visit one last time. Makena Beach was our first stop. The funny thing about this place is that it is very popular for elopements and all-things-wedding every single night. Thankfully no one was getting married at 12:30 during the day. After saying our goodbyes to the Pacific Ocean, we headed over to the Keālia Pond, where we saw various birds we had never seen before.