Well, it already feels like it was so long ago, but I spent a delightful week in Maui just before Memorial Day. Having been to the island several times previously, my plan was a simple one: sit on the beach and swim in the ocean every day. And that was exactly what I did – with one notable exception.
Midway through my visit, I went on a tour to Hana with No Ka Oi Adventures. On one of my prior trips to Maui, I’d driven about halfway down the road to Hana, but never all the way, so this was a golden opportunity to see parts of Maui I’d never seen before. Wade, guide extraordinaire, had already assured me via email that he regularly included single travelers in his small tours and that I need not worry about being the fifth wheel. Given Wade’s perfect score on TripAdvisor (literally every review is a perfect score), I was pretty confident that I’d enjoy my trip.
WELL! It was even better than I expected. Wade picked me up at 6:20AM, then collected the two other fellows, Mike and Ken, on that day’s trip (you can imagine the sigh of relief from me when they advised they were from NYC – we’ll all get along just fine…) from their hotel. And the rest of the day was spent hiking, swimming, seeing countless waterfalls (seriously – I lost count), eating, snorkeling. I’ll let the photos speak for themselves, though some of the highlights included:
- Our first stop to hike through a bamboo forest, at the end of which Wade told the three of us, “Good – you passed the test.” Phew!
- Jumping off a rock into the chilly water at our first waterfall stop.
- Later, hiking a short way up to a waterfall and having Wade tell us we were passing that one for a better one. When we got to the second one and “oohed” and “ahhhed,” Wade told us that this wasn’t the one either! We were going a bit further to a waterfall he’d stumbled across while exploring. It was amazing and remote and we were the only ones there.
- Stopping at Coconut Glen’s for the best coconut ice cream I’ve ever eaten (this is not hyperbole – it was amazing and delicious). And – get this – it’s vegan. I KNOW! And it was still the best coconut ice cream ever!
- The red sand beach in Hana is beautiful. Weather not super-cooperative – it was gray and we got a bit of rain – but we still snorkeled and swam.
Anyway, it was a great day. Wade took us to places few others get to see, which makes for a wonderful trip. He is also very well-versed in the history and lore of Hawaii, the flora and fauna, and the current environmental issues affecting Maui.
But it wasn’t actually until the next day that I realized what made this trip so special – Wade was having just as much fun as his clients. Every time we stopped for a swim or took in another beautiful view of the rain forest or the ocean, Wade was grinning ear-to-ear just like we were. This is clearly more than just a job for him and it shows.
So, enjoy these photos – and keep in mind they don’t nearly capture everything I saw and experienced that day. And if you go to Maui, be sure to make time for an adventure tour with No Ka Oi and Wade.
Oh, and here’s a bit of live action…