Haleakalā National Park ...

Haleakalā National Park peaks at an elevation of 10,023 feet and covers 33, 265 acres or 134.62 square kilometers of Maui island.  I've included a map to put the massiveness of the park into perspective.  The blue line in the top left corner shows the two-hour route that my mother and I walked.  The (unfriendly) lady at the information center told us that with the amount of water we had, we should only go twenty minutes in and allow forty minutes to come back.  Without any way of telling the time, we went with our gut instincts and made out perfectly fine. The walk back up the loose terrain was tough and I was very proud of my mom who did it (somewhat) with ease!

Haleakalā in Hawaiian means "house of the sun" and the legendary story says that the demigod Maui captured the sun with intentions of lengthening the day, only releasing the sun once it promised to move more slowly across the sky.  Visitors flock to the park for sunrise, sunset, hiking and camping.  Permits allow campers to sleep inside the crater with tents or if room permits, there are a few 12-person cabins.  What an adventure that would be!

Although we only made a small dent into the crater, I was blown away by the sunrise and the scenery of Haleakalā.   When it came time to leave, I was stunned once again by the beauty of the windy ride down the mountain — we drove the 38 miles up to the summit at 4:30AM in complete blackness!  I don't know if time will allow me another trip to Haleakalā National Park but I have placed it on my list of things to do again!

Makawao Forest Reserve ...

The meandering 5.2 mile Kahakapao Loop is a fairly relaxing hike located near the historical town of Makawao.  The trailhead begins a half mile or so from the parking lot, adding to the already long trek.  Thankfully, the thick canopy blocks the sun for most of the walk, and with it being up around 2,811 feet at the start and peaking at 3,709 feet, it makes for comfortable cool temperatures.   Since the terrain is not overly burdensome — my parents have a different opinion — it is no wonder that it is a popular spot for mountain bikers, although we didn't meet many others on the trail.  With each twist and turn, the route displayed completely different greenery as though we were in two separate forests.  I was absolutely thrilled when we came across this:

The reward after our walk was to stop at Polli's Mexican Restaurant in Makawao for margaritas, beer and nachos!  So, so yummy!

Making footprints around Maui ...

Near Baldwin Beach, Paia
There is certainly no shortage of beaches around this tiny 1,883 square kilometer island.  Strolling along one leads to another and then another and then another, each offering their own uniqueness.
Big Beach, near Makena
Big beach (pictured here) is neighbored by Little Beach where many people seemed to be lacking clothes!  A climb over the steep lava outcropping can bring a bit of a shock for those unaware of what's on the other side!
Kamaole Beach II, Kihei
After happy hour blended margaritas, some tasty nachos and the Canucks vs. Oilers game, four of us wandered across the street to watch the sun disappear into the ocean.  Lucky for us, whales could be seen venting and breaching in the not so far distance.  A great end to a fantastic day!

Waihe'e Ridge Trail, Maui ...

This trail is located in West Maui Forest Reserve along the State Highway (340). The parking lot is adjacent to the Mendes Ranch and about one mile or so DOWNHILL from the actual trailhead.

The route is 2,563 feet (780m) high and 2.5 miles (5.6km) long and is uphill for the most part. Each new twist and turn offers spectacular panoramic views of the ocean, rugged peaks and verdant valleys.

Waihe'e means 'slippery water' and this part of the island can get up to 400 inches of rain each year. Dark clouds soared over the ridges during the hike, some offering welcome sprinkles of rain but hiding the beauty below. There are many parts of the path that don't see much sunlight so it is quite muddy and slippery in parts. Although I was wearing proper footwear, I still managed one perfect fall.

Today's goal complete by 10:45am

Welcome to Maui ...

Day one started with a little jetlag, some exercise and a trip to the quaint surfing town of Paia for a delicious vegetarian lunch and some passion fruit beer. After lunch, the three of us continued on down the Hana highway to one of the surfing beaches, called Ho'okipa (pictured here).  There weren't many surfers in the water due to the hot afternoon sun.  A much needed nap took place in the late afternoon which was immediately followed with a vodka passion fruit martini.  A healthy homemade dinner by mom with some Californian wine was a great way to end the full day.  Being on holidays is absolutely wonderful!

Taking inventory ...

A new year means out with some old (pictured here) and in with a little new.

The pile here displays four of the six loads that were taken downstairs.  The items were distributed between the donation box, the recycling bins and the garbage cans.

Drawers are organized.  Cupboards are clutter-free.  Closets are sporting a lot of extra space.

Minimizing is absolutely refreshing!

Always ...

It never fails.

Each new item brought into my house translates to Girl Cat as, 'This must be for sitting!'

She comes and goes over ten minute intervals, trying out different positions.

At some point, she curls up as if she may have been so lucky to have acquired a new bed.

I note that it is visibly uncomfortable.

I return home later only to find the new item laying face down on the floor.

Always ...