Tacos and banana bread on Maui

Trip Start Jan 13, 2009
Trip End Oct 12, 2010

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Flag of United States  , Hawaii
Thursday, March 4, 2010

Got a hankering for tacos or banana bread? Head to Maui.  Yep, it turns out that Mauians (?) love tacos and banana bread, and so do travelers that stop at their ubiquitous stands along the Hana Highway and near popular beaches.  The banana bread makes sense—surprising that it's not everywhere in Hawaii given that bananas grow—and rot—like crazy here.  But tacos?  Well, they turn out to be delicious and, while not the first food you might think of when you think of Hawaii, it works.

We were on Maui for several days in mid-February with our friends Stephanie and Ryan, and kept up a full schedule of exploring and playing.  Like many visitors we drove the famed Hana Highway that winds along the sea cliffs of the northeast coast, where in normal years abundant rain feeds spectacular waterfalls.  However, this year is an El Niņo (which, as Chris Farley said, is Spanish for "The Niņo") and most of the state is experiencing a major drought.  No rain = no waterfalls, so the drive was far less spectacular than it would be in normal years.  But it was by no means in vain—we stayed for several days in the Hana area, first at a beautiful cedar yurt perched above the coastline and later camping right at the edge of the ocean in Haleakala National Park.  We spent the days relaxing on the beach, watching crashing waves and breaching whales while hiking along the coastline, swimming in freshwater caves, and subsisting on a whole lot of banana bread.

Next on the docket was a trip to the summit of Haleakala, the main volcano on Maui.  Of course we wanted to see the famed sunrise from the summit, so the night before we camped in the other park campground, this one at ~7000 ft and significantly colder than camping on the beach (it dropped to 33o at night and Melanie discovered her 0o sleeping bag was no longer as warm as it was in its younger years).  Camping up there had its advantages; it was close enough to the summit that we got to sleep in all the way until 4:45 (instead of getting up at 3:30, which is what you have to do if starting from Kihei, our next destination).  The sunrise was spectacular.  Viewing it from 10,000 feet is much like from an airplane where the earliest colors are so intensely brilliant it is hard to believe they are real.  After sunrise we embarked on a 12-mile hike through the summit crater, an otherworldly landscape created by thousands of years of volcanic eruptions and erosion.  The colors were a surprise, so many shades of red, brown, and grey.  Safe to say we were beat by the end of the hike.

Kihei, a sprawling community on the coast of South Maui, was our final destination.  Our condo was right on the beach, offering gorgeous views of the sunsets.  While here we took surfing lessons together.  Dan and Stephanie were the surfer stars of our group, but Ryan and Melanie also made good showings by both catching a few waves (and having some spectacular crashes!).  On our last day we went kayaking with whales.  One group of whales came within 50 yards of Stephanie and Ryan’s kayak—quite an experience to be that close to such a huge animal while in such a tiny boat! 

Maui certainly delivered plenty of action and relaxation, just what the doctor ordered.  But of course the best part for us was being able to experience it all with Stephanie and Ryan—we are incredibly grateful that they came all the way out here to hang with us!
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