Paradise Lost: Unexpected Adventure in Maui

Hiking in Maui
Hikers at Waimoku Falls in Maui. Photo by Gina Kremer

You would like the Commando Hike. It’s really hard. But you can’t chicken out”

My challenger was Nat, a doctor who had been introduced to me by friends. I was vacationing in Maui, and chomping at the bit for an outdoors adventure.

“Oh I can handle it. You’re on.”

We set the hiking date as the upcoming Saturday, the day of my departure.

In the 48 hours before the hike I managed to squeeze in a week’s worth of activity.

I drove the road to Hana (a three hour drive involving 600 turns skirting mountainside cliffs), slept at Koki Beach, woke to the sunrise at Koki, found the hidden red sand beach in Hana, checked out the caves and black sand beach at Wai’anapanpapa State Park, dangled 3,500 feet in the air from a motorized hang glider, hiked the Pipiwai Trail which led amongst waterfalls, through a bamboo forest and at the footsteps of a 200 foot waterfall, swam in the Seven Sacred Pools, drove another three hours skirting the southeast side of the island amongst mountainous hills and endless turns and cliffs, drove up to the Haleakala Crater at sunset (an extinct volcano whose size forces the entire island to seek transport near the ocean line), stared at the stars on the front of my car with a flask of whiskey, woke up at 4:15 for the Haleakala sunrise and caught breakfast in Kula, then did a morning mai tai in Paia, Maui’s famous hippie surfer town.

Hiking in Mauai

When Saturday midday rolled around, I was tempted to cancel. I was wiped out. But I didn’t want to miss out on this mysterious trail. I met up with Nat to satiate my curiosity.

“It takes an hour to get there and the hike is about two hours,” Nat explained.

We pulled up to a nondescript fence on the right side of Hana Highway. No signage, nothing. You could have passed it without a second thought. After dosing up on water, we set out. We packed light, armed only with water shoes and one headlamp.

We enjoyed a sunshine-filled stroll amongst the grass and were greeted by a golden brown cow grazing next to us.

Along our walk, Nat plucked strawberry guavas from the trees.

Our path then led to a stream.

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