Remember that relay race on the way to Hana, and how we had to turn around half way there the first day we tried to go? Well, we said we were determined not to let it ruin our day, and it didn’t. After stopping at Twin Falls and playing for a bit, we had to make a new plan. We stopped for a picnic lunch at Ho’okipa Beach Park (where the great surfers and windsurfers are) and I suggested we drive around the northern part of the west side of Maui. We had tried to drive in a clockwise direction all the way around that side of the island a few years back, but had to cut our drive short in order to get to a scheduled event that evening.
This time, we’d be going in a counter-clockwise direction, and covering the ground we had missed last time. Before getting started, though, we ate Hawaii’s famous shave ice for the first time ever at Tobi’s Shave Ice in Pa’ia. Shave Ice is a local favorite, where a block of ice is shaved into a ball and then flavored syrup is poured on top. (Very similar to your Snoopy Snow Cone Machine for those of you who had one, but shave ice is okay for adults!) Tobi’s was just great and we were able to easily share a small shave ice with Carlos. We got a Haleakala Sunrise, named after the volcano here on Maui, flavored with pineapple, guava and mango – yum!
We started out on our second drive for the day, and we had a blast. Elliott got really good at driving that one lane road hanging off the cliffs for which this drive is famous. He enjoys it, so it was a ton of fun. We passed a sculpture garden but it was closed. We stopped a few times for views and waterfalls and said hi to the cows we saw. We hiked around a large natural rock formation, Kahakuloa Head, and stopped at Julia’s and bought some of the world famous banana bread; it was fresh from the oven and warm.
Eventually, we came to the Olivine Pools, numerous natural lava swimming pools on a lava shelf next to the ocean. The lava and sandstone actually contain large amounts of the semi-precious stone, olivine. Depending on the tide and the currents, the pools can be very dangerous or very safe to swim in, and last time we were here, they were too dangerous to explore. Not this time. We hiked and made our way to the pools and I walked in Elliott’s flip-flops b/c I had managed to rub a raw spot between my toes on one foot with my Africa sandals. (How we seem to be so unprepared with hiking footwear these days, I cannot explain.)
We sat on the edge of the clear, pristine pools for a while before getting in to tread and play. I could have stayed there forever. There were fish swimming all around us, and once in a while a huge wave would come along and splash over the lava side of the pool, creating a wave inside the pool. We could tell the tide was rising and in a few hours this treasure would be dangerous again. Eventually we reluctantly left, getting a bit lost trying to find our way back to the road once we hiked up. I hiked up in bare feet and was proud of myself for being able to manage that. At this point my toes were so sore I couldn’t even wear any flip-flops anymore!
We drove back the way we came along the cliffs on the northwest side of the island, appreciating all the scenery once again, and then we took the western north/south highway down to Kihei since I don’t think we ever had before. I was still in the mood for swimming so after we got back to our hotel we walked across the street again to the little cove beach and I swam for a bit. Elliott just relaxed and took photos of all the cool crabs on the beach, darting in and out of their holes. Then we took another beach walk and appreciated the gorgeous sunset. That night, to round out all of our local Hawaiian treats for the day, we went out to Da Kitchen for Elliott’s favorite local dish, loco moco*!
*Loco Moco is a Hawaiian specialty usually eaten for breakfast. It consists of white rice, a hamburger patty on top, and a fried egg on top of that. The whole mess is drowning in brown gravy with onions. The dish is said to have originated when some surfers with almost no money went to a diner and asked for the most food they could get for the little cash they had on them. Whenever Elliott tries to order it at a diner back home, the waitresses look at him like he’s crazy. (Okay, he *is* crazy, but that’s another story for another day.)