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February 5, 2009

Exciting familiar.......

In my life, my favorite part of the job is quitting...
Since we do contract work in three-month intervals, we change locations very frequently. Quitting a job in one place and looking for a new job in a new place is my very favorite part, and the reason I still do what I do.

The excitement of researching possibilities of places to go, then researching things to do and see in these places and the anticipation of where we'll be living, and what our surroundings will be like, and who we'll meet is beyond words... but going back to a place you've been and loved, can be just as exciting.

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February 23, 2009

Trails and Margaritas...

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On our first weekend on Maui, we decided to hit the trail up to the mountains, and pick up where we left off in our last stay here. It was a glorious day, with beautiful sunshine, and cool breeze, the perfect conditions to be on the trail.

Our original plan was to hit the the Lahaina Pali Trail, but we ended up getting on a different unnamed trail straight up the mountain. What amazing views!


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Unfortunately, the camera's batteries failed me after a few photos. We did manage, however, to take an aerial photo of one of the holes of Kahili Golf Course.( If I ask Bill, he would be glad to tell me all about that hole, but I'll leave that for later.)

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After our hike, we headed back home and sat in the Jacuzzi for a while, as the pool and ocean were a little cool for me.( I don't dare to say cold after living in Spokane for half the winter).

We had plans to meet some friends for dinner at Fred's in Kihei. It was a farewell dinner for G, another traveler med tech, who frequents Maui . We have always loved Fred's. It is now our favorite Mexican place on the Island, since Manana Garage has closed.

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February 26, 2009

Even work days can be great in Paradise...

There is one main hospital on Maui, which is where we work. But there is a smaller hospital in Kula (upcountry Maui), that is a long-term care facility with an urgent care center. As part of our contract, we cover call for the Kula Hospital lab once or twice a month. And yesterday, we had a day of training and orientation at the lab in Kula.

Kula,in Hawaiian means "open meadows", is a beautiful town in upcountry Maui. With the elevation, you get cooler weather, sweeping views of the ocean and beautiful mountain views.

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The climate in Kula provides a haven for beautiful wild flowers and vegetation.

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March 4, 2009

Hiking into the clouds: Waihee Ridge Trail

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Waihee is in the Northwestern section of Maui, an area not often frequented by tourists. In my three other stays on Maui, I've never explored it much, a mistake I am glad I fixed. Waihee Ridge Trail is one of the most serene hikes I have taken.

Waihee Ridge Trail is a two and a half mile hike upwards, and the same way down. The trail goes in cycles of flat and steep areas culminating in a series of switchbacks that lead to the end, a hill called Lani-ili at 2,563 feet.

Waihee%20Ridge%20Path.jpgTo get to the trail, we followed Highway 340 all the way to Mendes Ranch, then turned left into Maluhia Street, drove for about one mile to the small parking area. When we first got out of the car, it did not seem much like a trail, we had to pass through a cattle-proof gate and up cement road that is far steeper than it looks.Then we found it! A trail through a lush forest of kukui, guava, ohi’a, and ferns. As we were walking, I tried to listen;leaves breaking underneath our steps, my heart beating fast and loud, my heavy breathing, birds chirping and waterfalls in the distance.

Ha.....serene!

After about half a mile hike, we saw Makamaka’ole Falls in the distance. There were few other waterfalls, but most were far and some buried beneath the foliage, where we could hear the falls, but not see them.

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A few more minutes of hiking, and we were treated by a beautiful panoramic view of Kahului, and the harbor.

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March 17, 2009

A stroll down Front Street, Lahaina

Lahaina town, no doubt, is one of the major tourist attractions here on Maui. And why wouldn't it be? Of course it is the gateway to Kaanapali and Kapalua beach resorts, another tourists' favorites. But Lahaina itself has a lot to offer to its visitors.

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From its gorgeous sunsets, little shops,galleries, famous restaurants, luaus and shows, Lahaina has a lovely atmosphere, even if overcrowded at times.Moreover, the Lahaina Harbor is always full of ships going on dinner cruises, cocktail cruises, whale watches,and snorkeling trips.One will not be bored.

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March 18, 2009

Lahaina Pali Trail

A cloudy day, with a little overcast is to me the perfect day for hiking. Sure, you can miss on some views, but the clouds keep you cool, and you don't sweat as much.Yesterday was just this day on Maui. So, we decided to hit the trail.

Lahaina%20Pali%20Trail%20sign.jpgThe Lahaina Pali Trail was built between 1830 and 1850 as the main transportation route between Lahaina and Wailuku on Maui. At that time the 5.5 mile long trail was used as a horse and foot trail. Today it is used for recreation, while Highway Thirty connects Wailuku to Lahaina, and is still known as the Pali(cliff) to the locals.

The Lahaina Pali Trail has two trail heads:the one in the east side starts near Maalaea, off Highway 30, and the one in west side,also starts off Highway 30, a quarter of mile west of the tunnel. We drove and left Bill's car in the parking lot for the west trail head,and started our hike from near we live in Maalaea in the east side. This is what the sign at the trail head reads:

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Follow in the footsteps of travelers from over a century ago. Built for horseback and foot travel between Wailuku and Lahaina, the Lahaina Pali Trail was the direct route across the steep southern slopes of West Maui Mountain. It was hand-built along the steep,sometimes treacherous hillsides.

The trail is five miles long and climbs to over 1,600 feet above sea level. Along this trail, you will see native plants like a'ali'i(Dodonaea viscosa),wiliwili trees (Erythrina sandwicensis), and a native dryland sandalwood(Santalum ellipticum).
Petroglyphs,stone walls, and tocky outcrops mark the spots where long ago travelers stopped to rest. The mid-point of the trail is Kealaloloa Ridge, the southern rift zone of the volcano that formed West Maui. Pu'u(cinder hills) and natural cuts in the ridge line expose the dramatic geologic history of this part of Maui.

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April 7, 2009

A night with Uncle Willie

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Willie Kahaialii,a.k.a.Willie K., is the man for great music and refreshing entertainment on Maui, at least for us anyway. His biography states that he's been entertaining since the age of ten with his father,Manu Kahaialii, one of Hawaii's most respected musicians. His music is influenced by a myriad of music genres:Hawaiian ,Jazz, R&B,B.B. King Santana, Jimi Hendrix and Willie Nelson. He is an amazing guitar player, songwriter, and entertainer,who plays country, western, Hawaiian, rock,salsa, rhythm and blues.

We have not been able to catch him play since we got here, so we were looking forward to hearing him at Charleys last night.As usual, he put on an awesome show, that electrified everyone in the audience, and most everyone was on the floor dancing by the time we left.

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Charley's Restaurant and Saloon is in Paia, hippie town in north shore Maui.It claims its fame from being Willie Nelson's favorite spot on Maui. A large display of Willie Nelson's platinum records and photos decorate the walls at Charley's.

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We had dinner before we left home, so we didn't eat there, and I never have personally, but I hear they have good food.

I was glad that we ended up getting there after all. I was having second thoughts about it after the bad news from Italy, I was not in the greatest mood to go out, but Uncle Willie delivered an awesome show, and I was feeling better already when we were leaving.

If you have never heard him before, check out some of his work on You Tube, he is truly brilliant. Here are couple samples of his music.

May 4, 2009

Walking on the moon: Majestic Haleakala

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"Haleakala, majestic mountain of Maui, born of the sea,in myth, and celestial beauty, colossal in power and magnitude, empowering all who venture to her majesty.Haleakala, creator and destroyer, an opening to view our past and embrace our future. Haleakala, House of the Sun, home to the ahinahina, nene, ohia and oopu.
Majestic Haleakala, Famous Mountain of Maui, Reveal yourself Summit to Sea."

elevation.jpgIt doesn't matter how many times I've visited Haleakala, I still grow speechless whenever I make it up the 10,023 feet summit. The above quote is from a sign posted in front of the visitor center close to the summit. It is titled Haleakala Revealed, and it strikes me as a prayer.

Haleakala, house of the sun, is a massive shield volcano(large volcano with shallow-sloping sides) that occupies more than seventy five percent of Maui. Haleakala most likely got its name as house of the sun because from the west side of the island, the sun could be seen rising up over the eastern side of the mountain. Haleakala is also known as East Maui Volcano.

I found this article,explaining the formation of Haleakala Crater:

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May 7, 2009

Lush Tropical Maui: Iao Valley

One of the things that I like most about Maui, is the amazing diversity in landscapes. From the mysterious soil of Haleakala, to the green West Maui Mountains, and all the sandy beaches,rocky beaches and cliffs in between, Maui is truly unique.

When I think of a tropical island, I think of lush green vegetation, running water streams, palm trees,the smell of the ocean, blue skies and fresh air. On Maui, Iao Valley State Park is just that.

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Iao is a lush,stream-cut valley in central Maui. Home for the famous Iao Needle,a 2250 foot high erosional remnant, that is covered with vegetation and surrounded by the cliffs of the West Maui mountains.

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Iao Needle's traditional Hawaiian name is Kukaemoku, and it is known as the phallic stone of Kanaloa, Hawaiian god of the ocean.

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Iao Valley is a peaceful area with easy hikes, tropical lush, and clear natural pools.

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May 12, 2009

Getting wet : BlueWater Rafting

I enjoy having friends and family visiting with us on Maui, it makes us do stuff that we've been delaying doing,mainly because of the lack of time. So when my in-laws were visiting with us last week, not only did we share some of things we do on regular basis with them, but we also did some of the activities that we have been wanting to do,but did not have the time for.

For a fun and adventurous water activity, we chose a snorkeling trip with BlueWater Rafting. We went with them last year when some friends visited us, and enjoyed it so much that we decided to do it again this year. The difference between them and other outfitters is mainly the boat. BlueWater Rafting uses rafts versus the catamarans used by other outfitters. On the raft, most of the seating is on the pontoon,and one is guaranteed to get wet.

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The rafts go very fast, and depending on the water swell and waves, the ride can get bumpy and rough. Before boarding, they give their clients a chance to back out if they are pregnant, or have any neck or back problems. I will add to that,if you are prone to sea sickness, you might want to consider something calmer. For everyone else, I highly recommend this activity. One gets a fun boat ride, beautiful snorkeling, fun crew, and whatever else the Pacific Ocean has in store that day.For a non-surfer, it is as close to riding the waves as one can get.

The raft departed from the Kihei Boat Ramp at about 0700 am, and headed south to the otherwise inaccessible Kanaio coast for spectacular views of the island, and magnificent lava arches, grottos and sea caves. The crew was very knowledgeable about lava flow, and the formation of these nature wonders, and we had the chance to absorb the unspoiled beauty of the Volcanic Kanaio Coast.

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The highlight had to be entering one of sea caves. What a magical experience!

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After all that rugged beauty , we had the pleasant encounter of many pods of spinner dolphins in La Perouse Bay, which by the way is accessible by car and offers great chances for snorkeling and swimming with dolphins.These playful mammals can put on quite the show!

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May 13, 2009

Snorkel for free: Black Rock

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I wrote yesterday about the snorkeling boat trip we took , but one needs not to pay for a boat ride to have a great snorkeling experience on Maui. In fact, we hardly ever take any snorkeling boat trips, and we snorkel very often and see a lot of fish, and turtles too.

One of our favorite snorkeling spots on Maui is Black Rock in West Maui,at the far end of Kaanapali Beach, in front of the Sheraton. It is called Black Rock, because of a big black rock(duh) that divides the beach. The rock is encrusted with beautiful coral, and a large variety of fish and sea turtles like to hang around the rock,making it an excellent spot for snorkeling.

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One of the things I like about Black Rock is the easy access to the water. Many of the great snorkeling spots around here have rocky entrances,which makes it a little challenging getting into the water. Black Rock is a nice sandy beach, where you can just hit the water swimming.The visibility is also great. Every time we snorkeled there, we saw many beautiful and colorful fish, and some sea turtles. It is always exciting to spot a sea turtle after seeing all the fish around, I always feel like I hit a jackpot.

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One of the bad things about snorkeling there, and that only applies to people driving to the beach rather than staying in Kaanaplai, is parking. The beach parking lot is so small and always full. What we have done before is parked at the parking lot for the Whalers Village in Kaanapali. There are many signs that say no beach parking, but we normally eat there and get validated that way. Plus, there are always many empty spots, and you do pay if you go over the three hour limit validated time period.So, I don't feel like I am hurting anyone.

There are few restaurants in Kaanapali, we like the Hula Grill, it serves great food with locally grown ingredients. Bill loves their fish tacos, and their salads are delicious. The Hula Grill has a nice beach atmosphere and a great place for a meal with view.

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Another great way to spend a day in paradise if you ask me!


July 2, 2009

Hiking the Cinder Desert to the Shrub Land: Haleakala Crater

We took advantage of the gorgeous clear weather yesterday, and hit Haleakala crater for a long,overdue hike.We chose to hike an 11.2 mile trail that starts at the Visitor Center at Sliding Sand trail head, and ends at Halemauu trail head. To accomplish that, we parked our car at our end point (Halemauu trail head), and hitchhiked to the summit(about 6 miles uphill). From Halemauu parking lot, there is a short trail to a hikers pick up point, where it is easy for cars to pull up and pick up hikers. It is a common hiking route, and there is normally no problem getting a ride. The couple that picked us up were celebrating her birthday and she took a photo with us because she said we were part of her birthday celebration.

Sliding sand trail head starts from the summit visitor center at 9740 feet. We were hiking in multicolored cinder cones desert, on soft sands, and all down hill for about six miles of the hike. This part of the hike is easy, and the feeling is magical! I have described it before as walking on the moon, and I can't think of a better description. The soft sand, the cones, the hanging clouds, the contrasting colors and textures give me an out of earth feeling.

After the six or seven miles, we were on Halemauu trail and the terrain changes to a sort of rocky shrub land. For about a mile or two, the shrub land is mainly flat, but the scenery is anything but flat. We were surrounded by cinder cones and mountain cliffs, and at some point we were inside a cloud forest. The views were absolutely spectacular! At that point, we were at 6940 feet elevation, and for the last couple miles, we were on an upward switchback journey,in a beautiful shrub mountain, to get to 7990 feet elevation at the trail head parking lot to complete our 11.2 mile hike.It took us a little less than six hours for the hike, and we were feeling good tired by the time we got to the car.A fabulous way to spend a day in paradise!

We took over a hundred photos, here are a few:

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August 26, 2009

Maui's Mama's Fish House

I've been meaning to write this post over a month now,but somehow I kept getting distracted.Oh well, better late than never.

For my birthday, Bill surprised me with a lunch at Mama's Fish House, one of Maui's most famous restaurants. We've lived on Maui, on and off ,for over a year and a half together and been wanting to try it, and finally we pulled it off-or should I say Bill pulled it off?

On their website, the legend of Mama's Fish House goes like this:

While sailing across the South Pacific in the late 1950's, the young Christenson family embraced the lifestyle of old Polynesia, discovering ways of preparing fish and living the aloha spirit. They settled on Maui in 1963 and in 1973, Mama's Fish House was born-Maui's first fresh fish restaurant.
Nestled in a beautiful coconut grove on a secluded white sand beach, this covered beach house restaurant is a memory of Old Polynesia on Maui's North Shore. Polynesian artifacts, unique local wood working, spectacular flower arrangements, and original artwork define the interior, while an award-winning menu teamed with unpretentious service and aloha spirit makes Mama's Fish House an unforgettable restaurant experience in Hawaii.

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March 16, 2010

Kalaupapa: Magical Beauty and Compelling History

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When leprosy invaded the Hawaiian islands in the early 1830s, faced with confusion and the belief that leprosy was a punishment from God, King Kamehameha V approved an act, in 1865, to prevent the spread of leprosy by a century-long policy of forced segregation for Hawaiians showing symptoms of the disease. Situated at the base of some of the highest cliffs in the world (dropping over 3300 feet into the Pacific Ocean), the remote Kalaupapa Peninsula on the island of Molokai seemed like the perfect place to isolate individuals afflicted with Hansen's disease (leprosy). And thus was the history of Kalaupapa as a leprosy settlement started.

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In 1866, the first group of nine men and three women who were afflicted with leprosy were dropped off at the closest accessible point on the southeast of Kalaupapa Peninsula (Kalawao). Nine months later, the peninsula was home to 101 male and 41 female leprosy patients. The Board of Health's belief that these Hawaiians would be able to sustain themselves on island resources on their own, proved to be wrong as their disease progressed and they became too ill to be self-sufficient. News spread of bad conditions of the isolated and Hawaiians started hiding their sick loved ones so they won't be taken into isolation, where they were sure they would die. Others chose to go with their sick family member to help them survive.

Despite the Board of Health's efforts to improve conditions by building homes and a hospital and providing medical care, their attempts were underwhelmed by the continuous arrival of more and more leprosy patients. It wasn't until 1873, when Father Damien (Joseph De Veuster from Belgium) and was followed by others, arrived into Kalawoa and volunteered to take care of the people in isolation. Father Damien built houses, planted trees, constructed a water system, organized schools and choirs and offered hope to the settlement residents. For the living he provided medial and spiritual care, and he gave the dead a decent burial. His work attracted worldwide attention and resulted in the deeper awareness of Hansen's disease and the plight of its victims. Father Damien lived in Kalawao for 12 years until he died of Hansen's disease, which according to the National Historic Park website, was due to his lack of care about hygiene when dealing with the sick people he served.

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March 17, 2010

Akaka Falls State Park

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March 18, 2010

The Drive to Hana

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The legendary Hana Highway along Maui's northeastern coast has 600 curves and 54 bridges.

Maui, June 2009.

This page contains an archive of all entries posted to Candi's Corner: Wanderlust and Passions in the Maui category. They are listed from oldest to newest.

Jacksonville is the previous category.

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