The day after Carson's ordination, Trevor and I left for a week long trip to Maui. My mom stayed with the kids as we escaped our real life (the first time for an extended vacation without kids in about 4 years). Much needed...and what better place than Hawaii. The best.
We stayed at the Wailea Beach Marriott Resort and Spa which is right on Wailea beach. It was fantastic. Amazing amenities, several pools, breathtaking views, gorgeous lobby and restaurants, and upscale shops. Truly, you could stay at the resort and not want for a thing all week. But without kids in tow, we ventured out quite a bit to local restaurants (refusing to eat at any chain-anything) and adventures. I was glad we decided on the car because the hotel was private and tucked away from a lot of business. Maui is more spread out that way and you definitely need a car.
The weather is 80 degrees year round in Hawaii. But we did hit a couple days of rain, which was, frankly, so disappointing. Even the locals kept commenting on how they "never have this much rain"... yadda yadda. Boo! Thankfully the rest of the time there was beautiful, but we did have to plan our days around the good weather and race out to the pool on those rainy days when there was a sun break for an hour or two.
Lots of pictures coming at ya.
We raced out to the beach as soon as we arrived at the hotel to enjoy the rays for a couple hours before the sunset.
Wailea Beach is fantastic! We rented an umbrella and chairs each day we spent there.
The infinity pool overlooking the ocean was amazing!
As was the amazing greenery and trees at the resort.
On one of the rainy days we did some shopping (and eating!) and saw a production called 'Ulalena' about the history of Maui put to dance. It was awesome and we somehow scored 3rd row seats!
We also drove up to the north side of the island where I'm sure the dharma initiative or jurassic park was filmed. So lush and beautiful.
We took in the crowd favorite Ululani's shaved ice. The best. Seriously.
Breakfast on the beach.
We rented a kayak for awhile and explored the beach around the resorts and scoped out the nearby ones too (there are a lot of pricey resorts on this side of the island!)
A sea turtle came up for air right next to us...it was so cool!
We took a charted boat out one morning for some snorkeling. The weather was not very good but the breakfast and lunch on board were delish and the water was fantastic. It was great taking a boat out to the best snorkeling spots that you can't get to by land. We saw thousands of fish and a couple more sea turtles too. Winter is also the time for whale watching in Hawaii and we saw many breaching the water in full body leaps. So incredible, but hard to capture with your phone.
One of the things I really wanted to do was bike down the Haleakala volcano. The weather wasn't cooperating to do the the "sunrise" ride, but we did the day time one and it worked out perfectly. The tour bus dives you 26 miles up the mountain at 6500 ft and drops you off for the ride (at your own pace) back to sea level in Paia. The bike only has one gear (they prevent from increasing speed down hill over the coasting speed)...so it is definitely my kind of bike ride. Super fast and amazing views.
We spent the rest of that day at a nearly empty beach in Paia and visited a local market to try some local fruit for lunch. Those hairy red fruit are rambutan and have the sweetest 'grape' type things in the middle. So good! That was my favorite.
We couldn't pass up the luau put on at our resort. It was pricey but worth it for the fresh leis, amazing dinner right on the beach, and a fantastic show that reminded me of the PCC in Oahu.
Oh and it all backed to this amazing sunset.
We were on the fence about driving the "Road to Hana" (a two lane road, with a zillion hairpin turns, along the north edge of the island), but I'm so glad the weather cooperated to do it! It definitely was the most beautiful part of the island!
My sister let me borrow her CD with a guided tour that you start and stop along the road. I definitely recommend it because it tells you the "must see" spots and the other spots to skip over and encourages you to get to the very end with the most spectacular sites...
These 'rainbow' bark trees were beautiful!
So fun to have the convertible for this leisurely drive.
We stopped at several small waterfalls.
And this beautiful black sand beach.
We hiked through this cave to get this shot.
The last stop was at Haleakala National Park that included a 2 mile hike to Waimoku Falls. Along the way were several beautiful waterfalls.
This amazing tree....
And a walk through a dense bamboo forest. Parts of it were so dark because absolutely no sunlight reaches through the bamboo. It's crazy!
And then finally at Waimoku Falls...400 feet beauty!
Also part of the National Park were the 7 sacred pools. It was gorgeous and serene and we were there right at sunset.
The long trek back on the road to Hana was ... long and dark with lots of curves. Definitely not as exciting when you can't see.
We did come upon this house...there were definitely a lot of Seahawk fans in Maui!
The next day we listed to the Seahawks win in the Superbowl while we were looking out at this view. Turned out to be a great Superbowl Sunday!
More whale watching from the shore that day...
It's so hard to leave paradise and return to our normal, crazy life. But we missed the kidlets and were anxious to get home to them. We enjoyed the rest and relaxation and time to reconnect sans kids. I'm ready to go back!