Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Kaupo Trail scouting

Last weekend we drove around to the south side of the larger (eastern) portion of Maui.  Not by way of Hana, that curvy roadtrip will come later when we have more time.  The more direct way, via Kula, over the ridge and across a rather desolate set of lava fields on the southern flanks of Haleakala mountain.

The coastline is really pretty, albeit windswept.  Checking out one of two "scenic gulches" along the way:

The road crosses a bridge inside the gulch, below the slopes of Haleakala:

Most of the warning signs were about cows on the roadway.  We didn't see any of those, nor any of these, which would have been much more entertaining:

The pretty church near the town of Kaupo:

Scenic bay below the church:

We're thinking of trying a "sea to summit to sea" journey in the future, in which case this is where we would start:

Heading up the little road toward the trailhead for the Kaupo Trail.  The horizon shows the gap where the trail goes up into the crater:

The start of the trail.  We wanted to check out the lower reaches, having heard that it can be hard to figure out exactly where to go.

Yep, right away we found it quite overgrown.  Including the trail signs that were immensely helpful - when you could see them:

John's in here somewhere... some of the grasses are over-my-head tall:

More common were little meadows with scrub brush that hid an indistinct trail.  This could be interesting/challenging.

One of a couple fence climb-overs:

Believe the arrows.  We weren't the first to follow a cowpath up a steep "road" and through some crappy vegetation.  It is the wrong way.  We came back down and tried again.

Even though it doesn't look like a trail, it is the way to go.  Straight up, through tall grass, into the tree canopy just above:

Soon we found the actual path, looking even like a real trail here:

Thank goodness for the markers.  There should be quotes around the word "TRAIL":

Short stint on a steep rocky road, looking back at a sign that is also getting overtaken by green trash:

The turnoff to the right, back to slogging through undergrowth:

I turned around there while John continued higher.  Here's the doubletrack he followed almost to the park boundary.  Good enough for one day!  I suspect it will still require focus and effort to follow the trail once it enters the park, as apparently the cows have been keeping the grasses shorter on this side.  Should be interesting, hopefully we'll get to try it.

On the way home we stopped by a beach or a "bunch of stones by the ocean."  The wave action caused a bunch of stones to roll slightly each time, creating a knocking sound that you could actually feel when standing there.  Very cool.

Another short stop - waves on the rocks:

Fun rock sign:

A bit of black sand amid the rocks and stones:

A little lava cave:

John's at the other end of the beach checking out the columns of basalt.  Might even be possible to rock climb there, which would be a rare thing on a island made of crumbly lava.

Neat sea arch - we didn't see it during the drive over, but it was pretty obvious on the way back.

That was a fun little trip, hope to be back soon.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Redwoods - on Maui?

I found a whole 'nother set of trails to explore, and it's a nice big, diverse set.  Passing up the switchback-y road up to Haleakala, there's another similar but much narrower and thankfully quieter road, um, down the road.  Polipoli Park at the top was my "destination of the week" and I was quite glad about that.

Checking out the top of a paragliding launch site; now that (an actual launch) would be something to see here:

Upper part of the Boundary Trail, including some pig action in the dirt (but not including the two little pigs I saw further down the trail, hi pigs!):

Eucalyptus in the morning sunshine:

More of the Boundary Trail, this part at the actual park boundary:

And... the redwoods I had heard about!  Non-native, but so pretty.  Who can really argue about redwood trees.

Briefly transported back to California:

John, we need a bigger saw:

Trying to be artistic... (large flowers in front of a cabin in the woods):

The Redwoods Trail, so lovely:

And majestic:

Polipoli camping area:

A bit higher in elevation, now on the Haleakala Ridge Trail:

Standard afternoon clouds on West Maui:

The road heading up toward Skyline Trail:

Lava layers of various colors:

The Big Island across the clouds:

I headed up a ways on the Skyline Trail but must have been thinking about something else because I didn't get any photos until I came back down to the Mamane Trail.  This one's an excellent singletrack trail that was fun to run on, and I imagine fun for mountain biking too:

Some curious vegetation in odd shapes to end the day - probably fitting because most of these photos seem to be of trees!

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Paddling and surfers

It was quite an "ocean" day yesterday, at least bookended with ocean experiences.

Starting with a sunrise paddle with the Maui Canoe Club.  I am so glad to have the opportunity to experience outrigger canoe paddling, and I'm so impressed with the Maui Canoe Club.  They make it easy for beginners to try it, you get a nice workout to start the day, and if you go at the right time of year you might even see whales!  Or turtles or flying fish... or at least a lot of lovely scenery.

Here's a shot of a double canoe like I was in last week:

Yesterday I paddled in a single, with an outrigger.  It seemed plenty stable, but I hear it's easy to tip one over if everyone leans to the right at the same time.  I kept the camera in a waterproof bag except when we stopped.  So far no dunkings...

A view of the wind turbines and another canoe across the water.  Also a darker area of land where there was a fire a couple weeks ago (John saw it while driving back from Lahaina for work):

During most of the paddle we saw whales but only from a distance.  On our way back we got lucky!

Now this is the way to go whale watching:

People in the boat were guessing that it was a mom pushing along a newborn, going slowly and staying near the surface.  Very cool.

Then a juvenile whale started doing leaps out of the water, up and splash, up and splash.  Dang it for not having the camera out still.

Thank you whales, that was awesome!

After John got off work that afternoon we went to see if we could do some more ocean spectating, this time in the form of huge waves on the north shore.  It's a spot called "Jaws" where the ocean topography is such that when there's a surf advisory, huge waves tend to form, funneling in toward shore.  And surfers head out to play.

It was a fun little 4WD road down to a big gathering of folks with the same idea, watching the amazingness of the waves and the surfers.  I realized too late that I had neglected to bring both the binoculars and the good camera.  Well, it's not a good camera like a bunch of folks had, but it's better than the one on my phone.

Phone photos will have to do.  There's a little speck of a guy on the left side of this wave:

Big wave rising up and starting to form:

Coming over:

And crash!  Even though we were pretty far away, up on the cliffs watching, it was still loud:

I cannot begin to figure out how to impart just how ridiculously amazing/crazy this was and how large the waves actually were.

This happened at Jaws in January and made national news (quick little Vine video):

And I just spent 7+ minutes mesmerized by a better view of the action (also taken back in January):

Well, that was quite a day.