Maui Trip Report Part I: Lodging, Hiking & Activities

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The Wife and I are back from 8 nights in Maui; a trip that was motivated by the wedding of one of her friends.  We spent 4 nights at the Four Seasons, where the wedding was held, and then 4 nights at Ho’oilo House, a bed & breakfast up on the hills outside of Lahaina, on Maui’s west cost.  Since my wife and I are incredibly pale and cannot sit in the sun all day, we occupied our days at the Four Seasons after the wedding lounging poolside in a shaded cabana, and spent the second half of our week on various hiking excursions.

The trip from the East Coast to Hawaii is a grueling one, and we had to pause for tropical cocktails at the Honolulu Airport as we waited for our puddle jumper flight to Maui:

 

Pina Colada, Strawberry Daquiri

Here’s the view from our “partial ocean view” room (definitely not worth the premium, but the lower room classes were sold out due to a conference) at the Four Seasons:

 

"Partial Ocean View"

and the view from the main stairway down over the pool and to the ocean:

 

Pool Foreground, Beach Background (Down Some Stairs)

and finally a view of Wailea Beach, where the Four Seasons is:

 

Wailea Beach

The Fours Seasons is insanely expensive, but has tremendous service, as one would expect.  We didn’t get out much for dining while we were there – we had wedding events each night and ended up eating breakfast/lunch by the pool most days.   We have been to Hawaii once before, back in 2004, and stayed at the Four Seasons on the Big Island.  It’s important to note that the Maui Four Seasons is nothing like the Big Island Four Seasons, which feels much smaller and more private.  The Maui resort is a big resort – like you’re staying in a big (luxurious) hotel – not like the little cabins of the Big Island’s resort.  Wailea Beach is nice, but it can’t compare to Caribbean beaches.

For the second half of our vacation we headed up Ho’oilo House in the Lahaina Hills.  This is a 6 room bed and breakfast that my wife had found online, and it turned out to be very nice.  The views were absolutely insane, staring right at what I think is the island of Lanai (although someone else told me that it was Molokai).

View from the outdoor shower:

From the Outdoor Shower

and from our lanai (patio) – our bed was just inside this door, so this is also the view from the bed:

 

Patio View

During our stay at Ho’oilo house, we went out adventuring daily.  On Tuesday we hit Mt. Haleakala, a 10,000 foot volcano.  The drive up to the peak goes from sea level to 10k feet in 38 miles of wickedly winding roads, and there are bikers going both up (insane) and down (slightly less insane) the mountain.  This is where we picked up hitchhikers – hikers who had parked their car several miles from the summit so that they could hitch a ride up and then hike 11 miles back down the crater trail to their car.  Unfortunately, the wife and I didn’t plan enough to do this full day hike, and instead were going to hike down a few miles of the “sliding sands” volcanic sand trail, and then hike back up.   We were advised that this would be difficult – and walking uphill in sand at elevation wasn’t easy – but it certainly wasn’t as hard as people had made it sound.  Mrs. Dynamite was annoyed that everyone in Hawaii who we talked to about hiking seemed to think that these hikes were a lot harder than they actually are, and kinda scared us out of the longer hikes.

 

Haleakala - the House of the Sun

Being atop Haleakala was pretty insane – I think it’s probably the highest I’ve ever been, and certainly the highest I’ve ever hiked.  The hike we did is down into the crater, amongst a barren black volcanic sand landscape.  We were looking down over the crater valley onto the clouds, as you can see in the above pic – it was like the view from an airplane.

On Wednesday we checked out the Ali’i Lavender Farm (where Mrs. Dynamite pondered the irony of an entire farm full of non-native plants, despite Hawaii’s strict regulation of non-native species!) and had lunch (yes, with Olivia Wilde) at O’o Farm (right next door to the lavender farm), where we were part of a group that took a little tour of the farm, and helped pick a few things (lettuce, arugula, spinach) that a chef then used to prepare lunch for us.  I found the coffee trees interesting – I didn’t know that they have a little fruity berry on them and that coffee comes from the dried seed of the berry.  The fruit usually gets discarded, but now they have started to turn it into an energy drink called Kona Red.

 

Coffee Tree

We wanted to hike the Poli Poli Forest at the top of the road where O’O Farm and Ali’I Lavender Farm is located, but the road had been washed out earlier in the year, so instead we hiked a small network of trails that compose a Frisbee golf course in the woods up on the mountain there.

Thursday morning, we hiked the Lahaina-Pali trail, aka the King’s Highway.   This is a 5+ mile trail that has different start and endpoints, which again threw us off, so we decided to hike up to the top and then turnaround.  It’s a pretty cool hike, giving sick coastal views of the neighboring islands.

King's Highway - The Lahaina Pali Trail

The View from the trail:

The Pacific

After lunch in Maalaea, we stopped by I’ao Valley State Park which is neat, but small, with short hikes.

 

I'ao Valley Mountains

I'ao Valley Gulch

We also stopped by the Alexander and Baldwin sugar museum, if you’re into that kinda thing and want to know how sugar cane is harvested, as well as the Maui Tropical Plantation.

Finally, on our way back to the b&b, we did a quick hike to the Olowalu Petroglyphs, and I then tried to refuel by drinking coconut water, straight from a freshly hacked coconut of course.

The view driving up the hill back to Ho’oilo House is pretty insane:

the Pacific is to my back when I take this picture

Later we caught a cool rainbow from right outside of the house, facing the mountains.

Pot Of Gold Contained GLD Shares

I didn’t bother looking for the pot of gold, as it obviously didn’t contain PHYSICAL gold (wink wink).

I’ll follow up with food reviews in Part II.

-KD

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