At the Royal Lahaina Resort, I wake up with the rising sun and walk out of our cottage to meet the warm sun and a cool breeze. Plumeria fall from the surrounding trees, painting the ground with pinks, yellows and whites. As I string together the flowers to make a lei, I pick up a perfectly molded blossom and tuck it behind my ear. I walk down to Ka’anapali beach and step into the cool water, gazing at the nearby islands: shining green mountains in the sea. The water is so clear I can wade far past my reach and continue to watch the sand ripple on the ocean floor. Further down the beach, the reef is only a few strides from the shore, bright with vibrant fish I’ve never seen before. A family of three sea turtles feed on the reef as I observe them from only a few feet away, admiring their forms as they glide through nature’s aquarium with unparalleled grace.
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Ten thousand feet above sea level, I gaze into the crater of the great volcano, Haleakala. On this cloudless day, each cinder cone can be seen rising into the blue skies. Silvery plants grow up from the red earth, absorbing water straight from clouds so close to the ground they could kiss the earth. The wind blows harder as I look upon the island below, brisk in comparison with the warm air below. The view from this summit alone will remain imprinted in my memory for the rest of my days.
We spend a day on the Road to Hana, a journey traveled for the journey itself rather than for the destination. We stop first to wander for a half hour, on a path through lush green, to find a hidden waterfall appearing from atop a high cliff before soaring down into a chilly pool. Hanging from the same cliff, children swing from a vine over the pool, then jump into the water at the base of the falls. We spend an hour playing in the hidden pool before returning to the road, stopping on our return route to admire the bamboo forest on the other side of the road. When the forests clear, we take a side road to a beach of lava rock jutting from the crashing waves. We play on the rocks as waves spray our faces with salt water, throwing bits of lava rock at the peaks of the sharp formations of black stone. Close by, we explore a black sand beach, watching the waves roll over the small black pebbles and drag them back to sea. A lava arch forms a bridge over the blue water across this sheltered cove. I walk through a lava tube toward the light at the end of the dark tunnel, where the waves and the light caress the darkness for just a moment. As we continue our journey, we are greeted by the sight of a cascading waterfall in plain sight of the road. The Wailua Falls easily personify the nature of this captivating island, its wild beauty, like so many wonders here, presents itself to you around every corner. The final stop of our journey brings us to the Seven Sacred Pools, where we swim in the mountain’s refreshing pools and under a small waterfall, watching the sun begin to set over the ocean.
This journey has come to a close. To the beautiful island of Maui, I say Aloha and Mahalo.
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