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maui - the ultimate experience

By Guest
Posts: 1

Posted on: September 09, 2009 at 7:03PM

Our week begins with a landing on Maui's north shore at Kahului Airport.......we pick up a jeep, hastily strip it of its canopy, and head south for Wailea.  As we've found everywhere, the scenery beyond the roadway is breathtaking, and we enjoy every minute of the wind that blows through our hair under sunny skies.   As we arrive at our destination, we find respite overlooking the ocean where whales are breaching in the distance and the sun starts to recede toward the horizon.  It's a beautiful evening to kick back and eat locally while we discuss what our adventures might be in the days to come.   We awake to somewhat gloomy skies and decide that it would be a great day to take advantage of the spa where we spend three hours getting massages and facials.  Upon exit we find that the sky is sunnier than ever and plan a trek west up the coastline to Lahaina.  This little town sure has grown since I was here last......over twenty years ago......has it been that long?  The little fishing village with local street vendors has transformed itself into tiny outdoor malls speckled with eateries; it sure has changed.  But we have a great dinner and chat with the locals about the best places to hike off the beaten path.  After all, we are here in search of more adventure.  We're told about this place they called "swinging bridges."  Each person we speak to has difficulty giving us directions......apparently, it's kind of off the beaten path and meanders through a private macadamia plantation.  The trek is only about two miles but should take roughly three hours round trip.  Sounds like just what we're looking for!!   The next morning, we pack up a picnic basket and hiking gear, with bathing suits not far behind (We've learned that you always travel with a spare bathing suit in Hawaii).  We head toward Wailuku and about an hour later, after a couple wrong turns, we find the entrance to the Waihe'e Valley Trail. There is a small little shack with all kinds of snacks, and, yes, several varieties of insect repellent.  The woman and little boy manning the booth ask us for an entry fee.  We pay and decide that maybe we ought to have some of that repellent never know!  A single dirt lane brings us to the small parking area where we prep for.....hmmmm.....we're not sure.  As we head up what seems to be the trail, there is a fork.  There are no signs.  To the right the trail goes into what appears to be someone’s backyard; to the left, the trail is blocked by a set of steel gates.  Instinct tells us to go over the gates. After all, we just paid the farmer for access.   There is bamboo aplenty here, growing like forest along the way.  Up ahead we realize why this trail is call "swinging bridges".  The bridge we come to is narrow, one person only, and seems a bit rickety.  It is suspended over the river that meanders through this landscape.  Scary yes, but I inspect its structure and it seems quite safe.  I'm the first to go only to find that the trail is named quite appropriately.  There is one other of these along the trail before you reach the next obstacle. It is a roaring river you need to cross to catch the trail connection on the other side.  It seems you can connect the dots with the rocks in order to cross but we find that is just impossible.....needless to say our hiking shoes took quite a bath.  A bit farther down the trail we must cross the river again.  My daughter loses one of her shoes and makes a valiant effort to go on, barefoot.  The terrain is far less than smooth and she decides to head back.....we'll meet her back at the car.   Along the way there is, what appears to be, a hand dug canal with tunnels through the lava rock.  Periodically, there are old steel flood gates which used to regulate the water flow down the mountain.  According to local historians, these were dug by Chinese immigrants in the 1880's and early 1900's.  At the end of the trail, the landscape opens up to a large natural swimming pool, being fed by the layered, downsloping river above.  The sun is shining through the opening.....there is the ultimate serenity in this place. We ponder what could be more beautiful than this.  Silly thought.  We're in Hawaii, the beauty is everywhere.   This journey is done for today.  We descend the mouth of the trail and head back to our car.......we anticipate our next adventure on the island of Kauai.   (The ultimate guidebooks to Hawaii are in a "Revealed" series written by Andrew Doughty - he's been everywhere!!) report a problem

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