Living the Dream, Maui part deuce

Life on the goat farm was a flashback to growing up in Medora. Our host had two teenagers so he played the father figure, we just fit into the family and followed the work hard play hard culture. We had agreed to help build a new fence and thus create a new pasture for the goats. So the first day we started clearing old fence, cutting back the tall grass, and trimming tree limbs as needed. There were neighbors that stopped by often to see what was being worked and have a short conversation, so it was easy to meet the neighborhood just by putting in a few hard days of work. This was hard work, manual labor, it’s as hard as you make it, can be a game at times, or similar to going to the gym for a workout, except you not only sweat, BUT: get dirty, hit your thumb with the hammer, cut yourself on the barbwire, get hives from the fresh cut grass, sunburned, and shit on from a bypassing bird. However the work was still intrinsically rewarding in the present and all those discomforts floated away, I had to constantly reminded myself and others to take a break, drink some water, take in the amazing scenery, sounds and smells, eat some fresh fruit, smoke some maui waui, we were living the dream.

Monarch Butterfly larvae, Hawaii is a breeding grounds for the monarch, what an amazing journey they make!!

Day 2 on the goat farm, another friend joined us from the previous farm, so there were now 3 of us, we all shared one bedroom in the house and there was a big couch in the family area. Was an upgrade from the previous farm on the basis of running water alone, but the house was trashed from the social and dinner we had with the 3rd day nursery crew the night before. So we made cleaning the house a twice a week chore, as the parties continued for the following 2 weeks, reminiscent of a good summer in Medora. A melting pot of good people all here for the same reason, to learn new culture, organic farming methods, and live in paradise.

Day 3 we were already headed on our first adventure, roadtrip to Hana! The whole crew went, 3 vehicles, one truck, one vw bus, and a Subaru..filled to the brim, there was rarely an open spot on any roadtrips since people way outnumbered vehicles from our standpoint. It was a late start after a late night, but we finally got on the road, quick stop at the Ching store for more beer and snacks, hey it was our day off afterall. Heading south on the Kula highway we came around the bend near Ulupalukua where the moisture level drops off tremendously, the country is covered in glycine, grapes for the Tedeschi winery, few trees and a lot of a’a lava rock from the last lava flow in the year 1790. This is where our first farm was, within 10 miles of the change in climate, however the climate wasn’t always this way, the ancient rock walls we were uncovering at Liberty Vista belonged to thousands of natives in the 1800’s who were living in a lush rainforest like climate, this changed, goats and cows outnumber humans. Passing the deck at the first farm we kept driving south, new territory for me as we got closer to the cinder cone and beyond on this narrow road filled with curves, ascents and descents, coming around the SW corner of Maui the scenery changed again, there were bigger beaches filled with cobbles that were flat and smooth, rounded from the constant wave action. We all got out for a hike at the top of a incline before descending into a valley which was made of cinder and previous lava flows. I hiked down into the valley and then out to the ocean, getting close to the cliff edge it was 100 feet or more to the water, hurling a stone off and watching the fall gave me a sense of vertigo, I took it in for awhile standing near the edge and observing. Our next stop was down the road a few miles at another cobble beach, some jumped in there for a swim while myself and others hiked back along a dry creek to find a dry waterfall and a little pool of fresh water. This is usually a flowing waterfall and larger pool but drought has hit this area as well. Some swam in the pool, I hiked around and took in the scenery, there was fruit trees way up on the cliff edge, 80 feet above us, some were breadfruit, but I could only find spoiled fruits, nothing to eat or take with. I took the dry creek all the way back to the road instead of the trail, there were large boulders to climb over and spider webs to avoid, some large enough to provide resistance if accidently going through. Back on the road we still had 20 miles to Hana, which is an hour drive yet on this road, with all the tourist and local traffic. Next stop was Venus pools, our destination for the day, but some wanted to continue onto Hana for food at the local food trucks, so we grabbed a few avocados from the farm produce box, self-serve 50 cents each! I was so excited, grabbed two avocados, got back in the truck grabbed my knife and starting cutting one in half as we drove towards Hana. These avocados were huge, softball size, I had to rotate my knife all the way around to slice the fruit in half, as I was almost finished, drooling to taste that fresh fruit, the knife slipped and went right into the palm of my left hand, ouch, there was immediately a pool of blood in my hand, I reached for a towel and caught the eyes of a friend who was sitting next to me, luckily she had seen the whole thing happen and knew first aid. No one else in the vehicle was really aware of what had happened and it didn’t matter, with ice on my neck and constant pressure on my palm the pain was subsiding, my vision was becoming clear again, and I somehow held it together. Putting lavender oil on the cut drastically reduced the bleeding and I was able to join the others for food, I was feeling better, ate lunch, but was still drained for the rest of the day, my body had gone into healing mode. We went back to Venus Pools, several folks jumped off the cliffs into the seawater below, while I read a book and enjoyed the afternoon with friends.

Everything happens for a reason, with my hand injury I could not continue the manual labor at the pace I had worked earlier, the house really needed to be cleaned so I tackled that and starting the long process of clearing weeds in the current goat pastures. We had 2 baby goats, one a few months older and a mama, in the nearby pasture right below the deck of the house, an acre at most. They needed to be fed grain twice a day, and since they depended on humans they were easy to interact with. Picking grass and glycine, they would eat right from your hands, like dogs just not completely domesticated. There was a grapefruit tree in the nearby goat pasture, and wild chickens that laid eggs anywhere, if we wanted eggs it was like going on an egg hunt every time, there were always rewards for wandering around the pastures. The further fenced in pasture was 6 acres, more lush but filled with weeds or plants that the goats either didn’t eat or were poisonous to them. At the far end of this pasture were several 100 year old avocado trees, there were at least a thousand avocados among them but most at the far reaches of the tree, where a ladder or scaffolding is needed to get at the majority of fruit. However wandering along the base of the trees, we could usually find a perfectly ripe avocado that hadn’t been sampled by ants, rodents or goats. We got craftier the more trips we made to the avocado trees, climbing, standing on logs, and jumping for those delicious fruits. There was a billy goat in this pasture a 200 lb goat, with an attitude and 7 females to watch after. This guy was very intimidating at first but it got easier the more visits into his pasture.

The billy and his babes.

Goat pasture.

The weekend came fast and we were off for more adventures. We went to Paia for the day, visited the beaches and watched surfers take to the famous waves on the north shore. Our host took us over to see Jaws, a huge wave that crashes into a cove of lava rock, this was a small day, and the face was easily 30-40 feet tall, do-or-die for surfers, there has been a lot of video shoot here, unfortunately no one was taking the risk that day. We went back to the beach and swam next to some sea turtles, then made our way to a park to play some soccer. Upon returning to the goat farm we were approached by 2 wild pigs, it was near dusk, and the large black figures resembled bears to me, then I noticed the boars hump! They were huge pigs, at least from my experience. I stayed on the porch, where I could comfortably watch the ensuing battle. The host and his son grabbed guns and were soon firing while holding up near a close rock wall. The large gun misfired and the kid gracefully got a few good shots off, his first pig hunt in his own back yard! While reloading the pigs made it behind a house further up the hill where they met their final seconds, a shot to knock em down and a slit of the throat to finish the boar off. It sounded like an all-out battle from the porch as I could not see the ensuing fight, but it was full of pig squeals, quick and short movements, completed with cries of success! They were immediately hung from poles and skinned that night. Beaches, soccer, and pig slaying all in one day, could life get much more interesting?!

Sunset on the north shore

On Sunday we went to little beach, part of the larger Makena beach area with a much larger “big beach”. Little beach being the private nude side and big beach the public side. We had 11 people in one truck and took a windy road down to Kihei before reaching the Makena area a few miles to the south. Big beach was a thousand feet from the main parking lot, a nasty surf but a great view and really large beach for such a young island! We could see this beach from the deck on the first farm, and now with binoculars you could see the deck on the farm from the beach! Both views were amazing in their own ways, I reminisced of my first days in Maui when this beach was just an arm’s reach away but so far to drive, I was finally here, and it was felt like home. Little beach was another ¼ mile through the sand then pass a basalt cliff where larger boulders were used as stepping stones, followed by a treacherous path up a lava flow then to the top where you could see both beaches, only to descend into a much smaller beach full of good people, it was like a mini festival, I just wanted to give people hugs and tell them “welcome home”!! Our group had found a spot next to the driftwood where a drum circle would soon take over. Swimming in the ocean, body boarding and surfing, hanging out in hammocks up away and overlooking the beach, dancing to the beats, and being thankful for life. This was church for many on the island. Just getting settled in after a good swim, the drum circle started to take form, soon I noticed JoJo from Wookiefoot playing a djembe then Heatbox himself hanging nearby..whoa I actually was home. On a subsequent visit I approached JoJo and gave him a hug, I could finally tell someone “welcome home” and they actually knew what I meant. Every time I made it to church, a good conversation of life was held with JoJo at some point during the afternoon. It was nice to reminisce of the little festival days and to see it spread to the far reaches of our planet, “I believe in the good things coming”! I made it to church 5 out of the 8 weeks I was in Maui, on valentines day I hung out at the apex between the beaches and greeted over a thousand people that came home that day, it was truly amazing! Sorry no pics, I don't take my camera/phone to church :)

Shaine arrived one day, he was getting married that week, the whole reason I came to Maui in the first place. He came and picked me and a friend up that afternoon and we went to check out Lahaina and the resort area of the island. After getting lost for awhile, knocking on the wrong door at the wrong hotel obnoxiously until someone answered, we finally found his parent’s hotel room..full of family and foreign food. I felt extremely akward and was very happy another wwoofer had come with. Farming and working on the land for 3 weeks definitely changed my perspective on life already, not that I enjoyed the tourist side of things to begin with, I certainly did not care for them after learning the real local Hawaiian culture! As a reward my friend got to indulge in pizza, pasta, and cake, for both of us since I’m gluten intolerant. The week continued with more shenanigans, friends from all over the world started showing up for the wedding and fun adventures were happening daily. One afternoon 2 carloads drove to Twin Falls on the rainforest side of the island, taking the Hana highway through Paia and beyond further than I’d explored yet. We parked at a fruit stand, bought some pineapple bananas and wandered into the bamboo forest. Hiking back bit further the trail splits, one way up the hill had a gate across saying local access only, we went the other way to the left and found a fresh water creek with a nice 20’ cliff to jump off of into a pool below. Some did this, I hiked further up the stream about another ¼ mile and found another pool with a small waterfall and a rope swing. I decided to go back and tell the others, upon my descent I met some locals that said to meet them up at the top waterfall, so I did exactly that grabbed a few friends from the pool and we crossed the local gate, I felt like a local at this point anyway, some other people decided to follow us, it was an old 2 track road ascending up the mountain, breaking off into private driveways every so often, the trail finally went around a large bend, there were no signs just the everyday clues of following your instinct. Around that last corner there was an old aqueduct system splitting the stream into two, beyond that a large waterfall, but we had to hike through water to get to it. I hadn’t planned on swimming but this was too cool, I stripped to my underwear and jumped in. Under the falls the main downpour of water was cold and refreshing while two streams of warm water trickled through the roots, it was the best outdoor shower I’ve ever seen! The cave the pool had formed during high water was cool, flat roots running all over since they’d originally grown through cracks, springs coming out of the rock, and green life of ferns and algae everywhere, it was beautiful and one of my top 3 Maui destinations, another Iao Valley.

bamboo forest


Twin Falls

Iao Valley

There was a luau one night, a wedding day, camping on the beach, snorkeling, farm tours and then the ultimate trip around Haleakala camping in the national park both nights. Three of us set off on an adventure around the island, with no schedule except to camp the first night near the beach and the second night near the summit. We took our time, stopped at Bully’s burgers which was just a mile past the first farm I started at, we waited for 45 minutes but they never opened so we moved on. Next stop was the natural arch I had seen previously, then a beach full of black rounded cobbles and coconut trees among the thick cane grass. I found a faint trail and slowly creeped back in towards the trees trying not to get sliced open by the cane grass blades. There were downed coconuts that I grabbed, some small other much larger, proceeded to take them back to the beach and try and open them primitive style with a rock. The water inside was drinkable but very sour tasting, it was worth the effort and the memories. Continuing on we went through Kipahulu and picked up 2 hitchhikers just outside of café attitude. They were headed down the road to pick coconuts and bring them back for the café dinner tonight. Sweet we decided to join them, getting out at a famous church, one of the guys had a knife in his teeth, barefoot, and shimmied his way 40 feet up into the coconut tree. Hanging from the fronds he began cutting down coconuts, one, two, three singles fell then ten at a time, some would break open and we would take turn as bystanders to gather them and drink the water or pile them for later consumption. Tourists came and went on their tours during this, taking pictures or avoiding us all together. One lady took several pictures maybe even a video on her Ipad, I approached her to ask if she wanted to try some fresh coconut water and she looked at me like I was an alien, haha, I couldn’t get anyone to try the coconut water on the bus, but I’m no salesman afterall, more for us. But before leaving we checked out the grounds there were a few noni trees and we were able to harvest 2 fruits, this super-fruit due to its high levels of antioxidants is highly sought after in its juice form, the fruit had the aroma of aged blue cheese, my favorite, I ate some and put the rest in the car for later. Driving our new friends back to the café, we dropped off 20 coconuts and kept the same amount for us, plenty to go around! We went and found a camping spot at Oheo Gulch in the National Park, it’s actually free to camp 3 out of 30 days in this park, so cool! After setting up camp, me in a hammock the others in a tent, we walked the mile and half back to café attitude for the best vegan meal I’ve ever had all locally derived ingredients and an open mic to remember. I walked back to camp that night alone, there wasn’t another car on the road in that 1.5 miles, I turned off my headlamp and wandered aimlessly just staying on the road, the starts were popping out at me with no light pollution anywhere. Random jungle sounds ensued to keep the all my senses active, the energy was strong and I was overwhelmed with joy.

Resort Life

Succulents for the wedding!

Black cobblestone beaches with cane grass and coconut trees

Hala trees at camp

Safety First

Another sunset worth capturing

The next day we hiked up to the top waterfall at Oheo Gulch, through a thick bamboo forest that played notes as the wind swept through the poles clinking them together. At the top, we found a waterfall streaming down a 1000 feet rock wall, there was not much water but it was still falling, I followed the trail up away from the pool below and found a meditation spot where all I could hear was fresh water and nearby birds. After renewing myself, I walked back to the stream and found a yoga spot, before catching up with the others and descending back down. We drove through Hana, finding a food truck to eat from then continued around the island, past Hana was still the rainforest as we came up the east side of Maui, the highway was newly paved but crossed 50 creeks, thus a one lane bridge to yield for oncoming traffic, it ended up being a long road-trip back around to Kula but the scenery was absolutely breathtaking. Just before Kula, we took the road up towards the crater, Haleakala summits at 10,000 feet above sea level, we made it Hosmer grove campground sitting at 7,000 feet by dark. Finding a place to camp amongst the others, we set up our tents, slept for 6 hours then got up an hour before sunrise took our tents down and headed for the summit. Near the top a parking lot held the 300+ tourists that came to see the sunrise, I joined them reluctantly at first, but then found a good spot on top of a set of large basalt boulders where I could do yoga and be part of my own world. The sunrise was absolutely amazing, I did yoga for an hour during the rise, including a flying pose that felt like I as cruising above the clouds away from everyone else. As it began to get light again, people started moving, I had to get I ran down the summit hill, goat-like, and took off on a trail leading into the crater I made it about 2 miles before hitting some unique vegetation, the area did look like Mars. I took it in, catching my breath, then turning to jog back up to the parking lot, it took me at least 10 stops of catching my breath, nearly passing out each time from the lack of oxygen, it was an invigorating morning and it was only 7am. I waited until most of the tourists were gone then proceeded to talk with park staff on the logistics of backpacking into the crater for future adventures. That was the last day of wedding friends on the island, we went on got local coffee at the Kula bistro, and then to Paia for drinks and sunset at the beach, a solid week of good times, I couldn’t believe they were leaving, I still had 4 weeks to go, Aloha!

Oheo gulch waterfall

sunrise at Haleakala summit

Haleakala Crater (Mars)

Running trail


Popular posts from this blog

Solo Hiking the Centennial Trail (unabridged version)

Living in Paradise, Part 1

Home Sweet Home - Maui