Saturday, July 28, 2012

Magical Maui

The Cliff's Edge, Maui

Maui holds a wide array of natural wonders. For me, the expansive ocean vistas never get old. I get a thrill each time we turn a corner and there it is again -- the grand Pacific ocean with sunlight dotting across. Sometimes we see it from afar in all its grandeur, and sometimes we see it up close and enjoy the lapping of the waves on the sand. There are times when it is calm, welcoming us to jump in for a swim and snorkel, but sometimes the view has it crashing up against volcanic rocks which provides a dynamic and somewhat earth-shaking excitement. As we have driven around Maui, it seems the longest we go is 10 minutes before taking in these sights, but typically it is much more frequently than that. With my love of these views, it is no surprise that we are staying at The Cliff's Edge which provides this vista right from our lanai.

Earlier in our time in Maui, we traveled to Hana, a sleepy little town that comes after a bracing 35-mile drive on the narrowest winding road, with approximately 50 one-way bridges and multiple hairpin turns, with lush mountains on one side and the ocean below the cliff on the other side. When a car came toward us from the opposite direction, there was a friendly unspoken debate of who would squeeze through first! Those 35 miles took almost 3 hours to complete, but it was never boring. I felt like I was driving through the garden of eden as I was surrounded by greenery, ancient trees, colorful flowers, and seemingly countless waterfalls. Take a look, and imagine the ocean just off to the left:

Speaking of those waterfalls, my travel partner cannot get enough of them. Small waterfalls dribbling down a few rocks, or large waterfalls crashing down the face of a mountain, Clay enjoys each and every one. I began to feel a bit about waterfalls the way I feel about churches in Italy, but I never tire of the look on Clay's face as he takes in yet another cascade. We took a hike on the Pipiwai Trail to Waimoku Falls where you get very up close and personal with a 400' waterfall, so I share with you here the destination and, of course, the journey included numerous waterfalls along the way.

Aside from the dramatic driving and interesting hiking, a favorite part of my 2 night stay in Hana (you need no more than that) was our cottage at The Guest Houses of Malanai. There was something utterly charming about the cottage and its setting that made me feel like my life was a movie (but it's REAL!). Maybe it was the bountiful front yard that faced that wonderful ocean I could look at every day and night, or maybe it was the coziness of the cottage with its fresh flowers everywhere and quiet Hawaiian music playing upon our arrival, or maybe it was simply the quiet relaxation of Maui seeping into my bones after the rigorous ride.

Our Cottage in Hana
Departing Hana, we had a little more treacherous but even more beautiful driving along the south shore of Maui as we headed to the crater at Haleakela. After some remaining frightening miles with stunning views through the rain forest, the terrain turns volcanic on the dry side of the island, making the topography suddenly appear other-worldly. What a change! The sun was shining on us in our convertible car but I could have sworn I was driving along the craters of the moon. The climb to Haleakala takes you from sea level to 10,000' on a fairly gradual, far less daunting route. I was more impressed by the crater at the top than I expected to be, taken in by the various colors of volcanic ash and rock which reminded me of both Waimea Canyon and the Grand Canyon. And this is all within a half a day's drive of that lush garden of eden in that sleepy little town of Hana!
Our cottage in Hana
After days of hiking and driving, we arrived at the beautiful and serene spot you see at the top of this post, and enjoyed a fine meal at Haliimaile General Store. Again, I feel like my life is a movie (but it's REAL!). Imagine filming overhead from the sky onto the rocky shoreline of Maui, dotted with homes and vast natural gardens, and the footage zooms in to find a pool with only a few lounge chairs for a handful of guests. There on the open air lanai, I sit at my iPad scribing this post looking over the ocean and breathing in the sea air. The Cliff's Edge, while quite modest in its amenities, has likely the most magnificent view and setting of anywhere I have stayed in the world. I doubt I will want to leave. First some kayaking and snorkeling, though, before heading on to The Big Island for our remaining days in Hawaii.

1 comment:

  1. WOW! Thanks for the tour. Sounds like you guys are having a fabu time.
    Smooches to you both,
    M & M & G