Monday, October 29, 2012

Camping at Wai'anapanapa State Park

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Two of our nights on Maui were spent camping at Wai'anapanapa State Park. The ocean breeze felt amazing, and the views of the crashing waves were captivating.

Months before our trip, we reserved our spot online, which cost about $38. The form we printed out as confirmation says that one must check in by 4 p.m., but when we arrived the office was closed. A sign posted outside said to attach the form to our tent. (I'd guess that it probably is not imperative that one arrives by that time.)

You must set up your tent in the grassy area, which isn't that large. Luckily only two other tents were set up when we were there, so we still had some space. Expect to see tourists who stop here on the road to Hana walking about the camp sites and to the nearby blow hole and black-sand beach. There were some grills we used to cook hot dogs and canned foods. There are also restrooms (I would recommend bringing some wipes or toilet paper, just in case).

We didn't need to bring our camping gear from the mainland to Camp on Maui. We rented our gear from Camp Maui for $50 (plus a refundable $100 deposit) for 3 days. This included tent, sleep sacks, table, eating utensils, flashlight and an ice chest. The owner throws in a s'more kit, which we were grateful for after dinner. We also Liked his Facebook page and got an air mattress and pump to use for free.

During our stay some tourists from France asked what it was like to camp in the rain. I slept well, though it may have been thanks to exhaustion from our adventure-packed days. The rain woke me up frequently, but it was calming at times. It seemed to come in bursts rather than continuously. The wind made me more nervous than the rain, since at one point the tent felt like it might blow away (though it was secure). If you're up for an adventure, I'd recommend camping at Wai'anapanapa State Park.

There's much to explore at the park:

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Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Haleakala summit, Maui

It was an incredible feeling, being above the clouds. We woke up around 3 a.m. to drive the windy, dark way from Hana to the summit at Haleakala National Park at sunrise. And while we were a few minutes late, the views were worth it.

It takes some time for the drive because it is so windy and you have to slow down. It was also still dark as we drove, so we were cautious.

The summit can be popular at sunrise, so arrive early. We still found plenty of parking left though. Bring a jacket, as it can be much cooler here, even if it's warm on the beaches of Maui. And bring a camera!

The drive down took some time as well, because people take bike tours down the summit road, and they tend to speed down. We were more nervous than they were about hitting them, probably.

Going to the summit was one of the highlights of the trip, and I wished we had allotted more time for hiking.

Driving up.

Have you been to the summit? 

Monday, October 8, 2012

Arizonan on Maui: Views along the Road to Hana

Almost everyone will recommend the road to Hana on a Maui trip. They aren't lying about the incredible views, narrow bridges and countless turns.

The point is to enjoy the journey, so make sure you give yourself plenty of time to stop along the way.

Out first stop:  Hoopika Beach Park. 
Twin Falls was just a short, easy but sometimes muddy hike away.

One of the many one-lane bridges along the way.
Lots of pretty flowers to admire.
Love the branches on the trees overhead, though it scared me when when a fruit fell and hit the windshield.

The last stop was Waianapanapa State Park, where we camped. More on that to come later. 

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Grand Canyon weekend trip

It was a grand weekend. We took advantage of fee-free entry into national parks Sept. 29 to visit the Grand Canyon. I loved the change in temperatures and scenery on the drive there.

Somewhere on Highway 180

Many volunteers devoted their time that day to help with projects such as picking up trash. I admired them and hope to join in a future project.

These canyoneers picked up litter blown, or thrown, into the canyon. Apparently there is a big problem with people throwing coins, which animals may ingest.
The views were incredible as always.

It was a nice day for hiking the Grandview trail. I would like to hike all the way down to the river on a future trip.

A plein air painter tries to capture the canyon's beauty.
Desert View is my favorite lookout because you have such good views of the Colorado River.

Inside the historic lookout tower.
On the way back to Grandview to watch the sunset, stop by the Tusayan ruins and museum.

The best part? Sunset.

Next time, I want to bring my mountain bike to ride around instead of driving or taking the shuttle.