Friday 25 January 2013

Beach Bum in Paradise

Just Another Day in Paradise!

I'm currently in the process of lusting over Hawaii! The move couldn't have gone better! Greg and I have both officially started work, although we're hardly working! ;) We have both fell in love with Maui and know its the place we were supposed to be. It's quite obvious how much we're enjoying ourselves out here. I marvel at the environment everyday. It's the most picturesque place I've ever been! Every night we enjoy a different sunset, sometimes from the same place, but each one is so unlike any other. On lazy days like today, when Greg spends all day snorkeling and taking pictures and videos of fish and coral reefs, I lay out sun bathing and reading. Watching the sunset is sometimes my favorite part of the day. The cool breeze carries the smell of the Pacific and the scent of salty air and sun kissed hair. We walk effortlessly, barefoot, and hand-in-hand through the calm sea and gaze at the distant shore. When the sun finally hides itself behind the horizon I love looking up at the sky where tiny lights wink and twinkle while Greg teaches me names of constellations. 

I've been longing for a hike through the valleys to get up close and personal with the mountains I drool over every morning in our backyard. We finally decided to wake up early one morning and take a 30 minute bus ride to Wailuku and hike through Iao Valley. It's so unbelievable that a 30 minute bus ride from our small beach town of Lahaina takes you deep into the mountains towering thousands of feet in the air. The environment is so different too. Instead of hot and sunny, it's cool and cloudy. The sun shines through the portholes of the clouds and reflects off the mountains creating shimmering patterns. Towering emerald peaks guard the lush valley floor of Iao Valley. This peaceful national park is one of Maui's most recognizable landmarks to the Iao Needle, over 2,250 feet in elevation. This iconic green mantled rock overlooks streams and valleys. After taking hundreds of stairs up to the top of the lookout we found an off the beaten path and decided to follow it. After about 2 miles of hiking through the rainforest, just when you think this path could go on forever, we found ourselves at the top of the volcanic mountains. We were higher than the clouds and could see the other side of the island as well as incredible views of the valleys below. It was breathtaking. We got lost a couple times heading back, but just turned around and went the other way. 

When we made it back down to the summit, we decided to take another route down to the Iao Valley Stream, where we took a dip in a natural swimming hole we discovered.  It's hard to believe that this same stream was once overflowing with red from the bloody battles of Kepaniwai and King Kamehameha. After 7 hours and 10 miles of hiking, we left sore and covered in mud, but I'd do it all over again any day!  

Some friends we've met out here have been introducing us to local hidden spots such as Turtle Bay, where we went snorkeling all day with tons of turtles, fish, and coral reefs! It was mind blowing! I've never experienced anything like it, and it has now become one of our favorite spots! 

We also spent a day in the small sugarcane plantation town of Pa'ia, which is known for its specialty shops, eccentric people, and famous beach for wind surfing. I'd say it's a cute and colorful town, Greg thinks it's a one time visit full of grunge and hippies. Either way, we got to experience something new and unusual. 

Malama Pono a Hui Hou! (take care till we meet again!)