12/11-18/10

12/11/10 - Gettin' to the Island
We used the excuse that going to Maui would be a 5th anniversary and X-mas present to ourselves. Good enough! Leaving Colo Spgs at 10:30am it was a quick flight to Denver then 7.5hrs to Kahului. Miles was very excited to be "up in sky in airplane". He did great on the flight and we kept him entertained by taking walks, watching movies, coloring, reading books, and making a tent out of his blue blankie. Landed in Maui about 5pm, got our luggage, got our car, quick stop at Walmart for grocery shopping, then 20mins to our Hawaii-home for the week.... Castle Kamaole Sands in Kehei, South Maui. Miles went to sleep and Jean and I were so excited to be sitting on the lanai (aka, porch) drinking mai tai's in Hawaii! We could hear the ocean, but couldn't see it. WooHoo! The condo was awesome too.... 1 bedroom, 2 bathroom, full kitchen, living room, and Aloha-esque decorations.

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12/12/10 - Beach time!
A 3hr time change means that Miles waking up at 4am was actually sleeping-in.... this would end up being a theme. D'oh! After some delicious Kona coffee and breakfast while waiting for the sun to come up, we were pleased to see the ocean (aka. Nemo's house) just a 1/2 block away from our condo, and looking the other way Haleakala climbed up and up and up. We walked around the grounds checking out the koi pond, the pool, all the palm trees and colorful flowers/bushes, then walked across the street to the beach. Miles was a bit timid, but it didn't take him long to warm up to the sand and waves. After dipping his toes in the ocean and seeing what it was all about, he would then giggle uncontrollably when the waves would come up and hit his feet and legs. Back to the room for his first nap, then we played in the pool and the ocean again for most of the day. After a long 3hr nap, we poked around a few shops in town then went to the playground and back to the condo to bqq at the awesome grills that they have next to each building.

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12/13/10 - Haleakala!
It was another early wake-up, and after playing around in the room we drove up Haleakala. It took about 2hrs but was a great drive.... past sugar plantations, huge trees, and through many different zones as we climbed up towards the 10,023ft summit. 38 miles of lots and lots of turns! There was almost no wind and it was a clear, nearly cloudless day... didn't need more then shorts and a long sleeve shirt, luckily. We took in the view of the enormous summit area (not actually a crater, but an eroded valley) and the lava flows and cinder cones from recent eruptions. The browns and reds of the cliffs looked awesome against the blue sky. We had the top to ourselves for awhile until a couple buses arrived, and we hiked around to a viewpoint then down part of the Sliding Sands Trail. Miles enjoyed hiking on his own and watching the horses go by. Before getting too far down the trail we headed back up with Miles on my shoulders and to the true summit. We stopped at the Leleiwi lookout on the way down where the clouds were swirling all around and the views would open and close within seconds. Long curvy drive down then we stopped in Kehei for lunch before another 3hr nap for Miles, then we headed back to the beach for digging holes and watching the amazing sunset. Beautiful!!!!!!!

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12/14/10 - West Maui Loop
Yep, Miles was awake at 4am again! Today we drove a big clockwise loop of West Maui. Our first stop was a scenic overlook near Ma'alaea where whales can frequently be spotted. After not seeing any we told Miles the whales must be asleep and we got back into the car. Miles turned on the tears and was crying hysterically while saying "whalessssss, WAKE UPPPPPPP". It was hard not to laugh, but after a couple buckets of tears he was okay again. Along this stretch of road right along the coast are several parks with people camping, kayaking, etc. Next stop was the cool little town of Lahaina, an old whaling port. Banyan Tree Park was amazing!.... a giant banyan tree with aerial roots and 16 different trunks besides the main one spread out over an acre. Lots of coral-walls around town. We walked along the dock showing Miles all the boats (each of which he tried to get on) and stopped at a bakery for yummy treats. Next was a drive through the posh Ka'anapali golf resort and the town of Kahana, where we almost stayed. The road hugs the cliffs above the coast for awesome eye-candy the entire drive. Honolua Bay overlook was amazing, and we made a mental note to take a snorkel boat into there on our next visit. Deep breaths were in order since the clean air has traveled thousands of miles over nothing but ocean. So cool to see the bright blue water lapping up against countless beaches which give way to the thick vegetation and lush cliffs up the jagged peaks of the island. More curvy narrow cliff-side roads with the occasional one-lane blind-corner sections then we stopped at the Nakalele Blowhole. It was pretty breezy on the north-side of the island creating giant waves that smash up against the lava cliffs. A short hike down to the blowhole and it was shooting water ~20-30' into the air, each time with a deep "whoosh" sound. Amazing views all around, once again. Driving through the tiny village of Kahakuloa we wondered how the heck (any why) they built this road! Mileage-wise it wasn't far.... but the stops, twists, and turns kept the speed real slow. It was good practice for the Hana Highway the following day. We continued back through Wailuku then home, where Miles refused to nap..... so we headed back to the beach for more digging in the sand and running all around. Miles loved when the ocean would splash his face so he could lick off the salt water! More bbq'ing and watching the sunset.

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12/15/10 - Road to Hana!
600+ turns along a narrow 1 and 2 lane road, narrow bridges, dense vegetation, waterfalls galore, amazing views of the coast.... WOWZA! We got another early start so we could maximize our stops along the way to Hana. After Kahului we saw folks surfing some big waves and passed the turn-off for the famous big-wave surf spot named Jaws. Soon after the fun began.... not a drive for someone who gets motion sickness easily! Its hard to describe this drive and the surrounding beauty. Our first stop was at a turn off and a 100ft hike to a view of the 200' Lower Puohokaka Falls. The bridge and cars above looked tiny. Next was carrying Miles down a short and slippery trail to Haipua'ena Falls and the pool below. Going 10' off of the trail or road would mean being lost forever! A great view of the coast from the Kaumahina State Wayside and a stop shortly after looking back at the coast and the ribbon of road cut through the vegetation along the cliffs. We turned off at Ke'anae Peninsula and had some banana bread and shave-ice at Aunty Sandy's stand. We walked around checking out the coast and the wild giant waves pounding up against the jagged lava, geology in the making! The ocean was such a deep shade of blue. Next was the Three Bears Falls, very cool! Now paradise.... the road to Nahiku. Like the book says, "when plants go to heaven, Nahilu must be their destination." At the end of the road we sat under some trees and relaxed in paradise. 360degree amazing views! Its my new "happy place". Miles had fun throwing seeds and hiding under a blanket as it flapped in the breeze. Views for miles and miles along the coastline. Back to reality and on towards Hana, we stopped outside of town for delicious pork and rice bowls, then found our home for the night, the Hana Kai Maui. Another WOW! I've never stayed in such a nice place. A beautiful room with giant sliding doors to the lanai looking down to the hotel grounds and the palm tree lined Hana Bay just 100ft away, hardwood floors, and Egyptian sheets (whatever that means). There was no sound except the pitter-patter of Miles' feet and the ocean lapping up on the beach. Miles ran all around the garden and watched the fish in the koi pond, then we spent the evening on the porch eating frozen pizza, drinking wine, and watching the ocean.

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12/16/10 - Hana back to Kehei
It was sooooo great to wake-up and hear the ocean right away! We sat on the porch drinking coffee and watching the sun come up over the bay. We walked down to the beach which is covered in rounded lava rocks. Here was the coolest sound.... the waves bring up smaller rocks and when the waves retreat, all you hear is the sound of rocks tumbling against each other. We tossed rocks and explored while Miles filled his shoes and diaper with black sand and pebbles. After hanging around for as long as we could, we got back on the road and made our first stop at the Venus Pools. Since Miles was snoozing in the backseat, we took turns walking down to the serene and peaceful pools. More narrow roads under the tree canopy and along cliffs with occasional waterfalls, then we stopped at the Seven Sacred Pools (O'Oheo Gulch). A short hike led up to another paradise..... waterfall, pool, waterfall, pool, waterfall, pool, ocean. The lava was smooth from lots of visitors, Jean and Miles took in the views while I went for a swim through several of the pools. Some folks were jumping from the different cliffs down into the pools. An amazing place. Back to the car and driving along the south coast was a pothole filled and gravel road for several miles for a nice butt massage and testing the shocks of the car. Quite a different area along the south flanks of Haleakala.... very dry, almost like a desert. Since the road doesn't quite connect to South Maui, we had to drive back along the road to Haleakala to Hahului then down to Kehei. Miles had a nice long nap then we went for a night walk through the garden while looking for frogs. We found one, but Miles told us that the rest of them were sleeping on top of the trees. 

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12/17/10 - Whale Watch
Not wanting to disappoint our lil' guy, today was our day to see some whales. Miles actually slept in until 4:30am and after breakfast we went looking for frogs again. We drove up to Ma'alaea to the Pacific Whale Foundation for our 9am whale watch. No wind and calm seas held favorable conditions for spotting the ~40 ton humpback whales. Right after leaving the bay aboard the Ocean Spirit, there were dolphins swimming along the bow of the boat and jumping out of the water! Soon after, the boat took us towards whales that we could see in the distance. At first they were about 100yds away and it was great to see them spouting water and their tails/back arching above the water. The have a microphone to lower into the water to hear their sounds, Miles was fascinated by this and spoke "whale" back to them. Next there were two whales swimming right under our boat! With the water so clear, it was easy to see them. Its amazing how gigantic and graceful they are. The full two hours we saw tons of whales. Miles had so much fun that he fell asleep toward the end! Back at the port we bought Miles some souvenirs from the PCF store then stopped for some famous Hula Cookies ice cream sandwiches then headed back to our condo so Miles could dream of whales during his long nap. Once he woke up we walked down to Moose McGillycuddy's for great food in a fun place. The kuhula pork tacos were so tasty I got them again the following night. Across the street at the beach we did some more swimming, playing in the waves, digging holes, running around on the beach, the ended the evening with another perfect sunset. Funniest part was when Miles did a face-plant in the sand and he lifted his head and looked like a raccoon since his face was covered in sand except for his big while eyes! We washed him off in the ocean while he giggled and giggled. Unfortunately it was our last night in Hawaii, but a fantastic way to spend our 5th anniversary.

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12/18/10 - More beaches!
Since our flight wasn't until 11:30pm, we paid an extra $50 so we could check out at 6pm instead of noon. That bought us some more time to play around for the day, so we drove the 15mins south to Wailea Beach, which is frequently voted as the "Best beach in America". Right off the bat, we could tell why.... close parking, posh hotels and a walking path behind a palm tree lined beach that's in a perfect crescent shape with sand as fine and soft as talcum powder. Wow, doesn't get much better then that! The water was crystal blue and the waves small so we had Miles in the water splashing and jumping around while we played "shark daddy" and "shark Miles". We headed back to the condo for Miles' nap, packing, and trying to eat the rest of the food in the fridge. Once he woke up, we headed a little further south to Big Beach. Another beautiful long beach, but giant waves! We couldn't believe how tall and powerful these waves were pounding on the beach. Jumping in them was all about timing, if you got hit by the wave it felt like being in a washing machine.... even ripped my watch off! But if you got in before the break, you just bobbed up and down and watched them slam the beach from the other side. Miles wanted nothing to do with the water here and was content sitting on the beach digging holes and having us bury his little legs. A rocky ridge up Pu'u Ola'i made for a nice backdrop to the awesome beach. Back to the condo and dinner at Moose McGillycuddy again, one last sunset and a slow drive to the airport. We really didn't want to leave, but were already making plans for another visit. We killed time in the airport until our flight, then all slept on the way home making record time due to the fast tailwind. Another fantastic vacation and memories for a lifetime!!!!!!!

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