Thursday, May 21, 2015

Lanai Snorkeling

Once again the wife and I took the Pacific Whale Foundation's Lanai Wildside snorkel tour to the coast of Lanai. We were fortunate as the weather cooperated and the waters were clear. I absolutely love snorkeling Lanai since the water does tend to be clearer (thanks to less development), you get to see things like the Triangle Butterfly fish and pods of spinner dolphins you don't normally see off the waters of Maui, and the underwater topography can be very interesting. If you're a good free diver, there are plenty of caves and sea arches to challenge yourself. Below is my video of the trip, shot in Go Pro HD. Below that are other good videos that give you an idea of Lanai's great snorkeling. 

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Waihee Ridge Trail

To my shock and horror, I was looking at my list of blogs and discovered that I had not yet reviewed Waihe'e Ridge Trail - bad haole! Bad! That said, here is a review of said trail that is a tad north of Wailuku, east of Kahului in Maui.

I'll begin by saying that this is a hike suitable for just about anyone provided you can get past the first two hundred feet or so of concrete road that climbs about a 30% incline. So, yeah, just about anyone can do that though it's an auspicious way to begin a hike. Rest assured it is the toughest park of the hike...provided the rest of trail isn't wet. 

While Waihe'e Ridge Trail is a relatively easy five-miler round trip when it is dry, wet conditions make this a bit more challenging without hiking sticks. (And the trail is wet most of the time, even in summer.) After the concrete road you'll find yourself under a canopy of trees and a whole lot of exposed tree roots underfoot. Eventually you'll come to some viewpoints of the valley on one side and the more scenic Waihe'e Valley on your left, which - when it is clear - is a wonderful view. (Be warned, though, all three times I've hiked this trail it has been cloudy which detracts from the view, in my opinion.) After the viewpoints you'll eventually hit the cloud line where the trail gets even wetter than it probably already is, thus reminding me more of hikes on Kaui than Maui. You'll climb muddy switchback after muddy switchback hoping to see a waterfall to no avail. (The closest waterfall you can get a glimpse of is across a valley on either side of you.) 

By the time you hit the 2.0 mile marker, you begin to wonder if this hike is worth it. Well, it is if you just like hiking, but honestly there are many hikes on Maui that are most interesting as you can see in my video below. There is no payoff when you reach the top of the trail; just some water to splash in that surrounds a dilapidated picnic bench up in a cloud. You might want to rest here for a few minutes and ponder how annoying it will be to get down off this hill if you don't have a hiking stick. 

This is a convenient hike - not to mention inexplicably popular hike - if you just happen to be out Wailuku's way, which is to say I had other business this day and that's why I agreed to the hike. Frankly, I would have rather done 13 Crossings just a little further up the road, but my wife doesn't like to walk in streams. Sigh. 

Directions: Take Highway 32 / Kaahumanu Ave. west of Kahului until you reach Highway 3400 right after Kahului Harbor. Turn right here and go north to Hwy 330, about three miles. Turn right on Highway 330 and continue until it becomes Highway 340 at mile marker 2. At 9/10 mile past mile marker 6 is Mendes Ranch on the right. Turn left here on to a gravel/unimproved road and it is approximately 1 mile up hill until you reach a small gravel parking area.