Posted by: kerryl29 | April 20, 2020

Hawaii Day 13, Part IV: South Maui Ramblings

[If you’re wondering why I’m detailing photographic experiences on this blog as if a pandemic wasn’t ravaging the planet, click here.  Be sure to read the comments.]


It was early afternoon by the time by the time I wrapped up at Kealia Pond,  That meant there was still time to explore the area of Maui south of Wailea.

There are numerous spots to explore as you approach the end of the road in south Maui.  The spot that was tops on my list was Makena State Park, and I stopped there first.  I didn’t even take my gear with me, as the light was poor and the area crowded.  It was a scouting session.  Makena State Park essentially provides access to two beaches, known colloquially as Big Beach and Little Beach.  There’s a tall, fairly decent-sized outcropping of volcanic rock between them.  Where I parked put me on Big Beach, and I slogged through the sand to reach the outcropping.  From there, a fine view looking down Big Beach can be found, and the outcropping itself, parts of which are covered by trees and naupaka, make an interesting spot.  I decided that I would return in time to shoot sunset from this west-facing location.

I returned to my car and continued south down Makena Road all the way to its end at La Perouse Bay.  This area provides access to a wild part of the south Maui coast by way of the Hoapili_Trail in the Ahihi-Kina’u Natural Area Reserve.  I hopped out, applied a new layer of sunscreen, grabbed my gear and hit the trail which runs several miles out to a couple of different desolate spots astride the ocean.

Hoapili_Trail, Ahihi-Kina’u Natural Area Reserve, Maui, Hawaii

As I wound my way through the trees and across stretches of lava-strewn beaches, I stumbled across a large herd of feral goats.  I’d seen some feral goats back on Day 10, on the way to the Kipahulu District of Haleakala National Park, but hadn’t had the opportunity to make any photos.  This time was different.  The feral goats on Maui are the remnants of goat ranching many decades ago.  Like just about every other organism, the goats have thrived on the island.

Feral Goats, Hoapili_Trail, Ahihi-Kina’u Natural Area Reserve, Maui, Hawaii

Feral Goats, Hoapili_Trail, Ahihi-Kina’u Natural Area Reserve, Maui, Hawaii

Feral Goat, Hoapili_Trail, Ahihi-Kina’u Natural Area Reserve, Maui, Hawaii

Feral Goat, Hoapili_Trail, Ahihi-Kina’u Natural Area Reserve, Maui, Hawaii

The goats seemed almost entirely unconcerned by my presence, as they caught up to and passed me.  But one baby goat ended up between me and the rest of the herd and seemed intimidated by my presence.  While the rest of the herd wandered off down the trail, this small goat was left behind, bleating plaintively.  I felt awful about this and decided to see if I could somehow rectify the situation, so I took my things and hid behind a tree trunk, in the hope that the small goat would interpret the coast as being clear and catch up to the rest of the herd.  And it worked!  While I remained “out of sight,” the little goat looked around and then raced off down the trail and was reunited with the others.  (Said small fry is shown below.)

Feral Goat, Hoapili_Trail, Ahihi-Kina’u Natural Area Reserve, Maui, Hawaii

After crossing several beach areas, perhaps a mile into the hike, the trail bends inland and then becomes really obnoxious, footing-wise.  The route crosses a seemingly endless field of small, roundish rocks.  The footing isn’t so much bad as it is annoying.  Imagine walking on nothing but grapefruit-sized rocks for miles.  The route splits at some point, with the shorter of the two paths heading off in the direction of a light beacon, perched on a cliff above the water.  There was literally not another soul on this stretch of trail, which ran at least an additional mile in length.

When I reached the beacon, I found myself at an extremely windy, desolate spot about 40 feet above the water.  Monster waves were rolling in, one after another, and lashing the lava coast below me.  As I had done one evening at Poipu Beach back on Kauai–Day 3, to be exact–I decided to engage in some wave photography.  I always find this a fairly challenging exercise as it’s much different than most forms of landscape photography; the subject is always moving and you can’t ever be entirely certain whether the shot is worthwhile until you see the final product.  But I spent about 30 minutes so engaged.

Breaking Wave, Hoapili_Trail, Ahihi-Kina’u Natural Area Reserve, Maui, Hawaii

Breaking Wave Black & White, Hoapili_Trail, Ahihi-Kina’u Natural Area Reserve, Maui, Hawaii

Breaking Wave, Hoapili_Trail, Ahihi-Kina’u Natural Area Reserve, Maui, Hawaii

Breaking Wave Black & White, Hoapili_Trail, Ahihi-Kina’u Natural Area Reserve, Maui, Hawaii

It was about 2 1/2 miles back to the trailhead and by the time I got there It was only about an hour until sunset.  I made the short drive back to the Makena State Park lot and headed back along the now mostly deserted sand of Big Beach to the rock outrcopping that separates Big and Little Beaches.  I picked out a spot up on the bluff to photograph Big Beach.

Big Beach, Makena State Park, Maui, Hawaii

Then I headed down closer to the water and set up to photograph the sunset.  It wasn’t the best sunset of the trip, but it wasn’t the worst either.

Sunset, Makena State Park, Maui, Hawaii

Sunset, Makena State Park, Maui, Hawaii

Sunset, Makena State Park, Maui, Hawaii

As the sun went down to the right–from my viewpoint–of Kaho’olawe on the horizon, I hoped that the prodigious clouds to the southwest would light up, but it didn’t quite happen.  Still, the sky–as it always seems to in Hawaii at the edges of the day–took on a variety of interesting hues.

Sunset, Makena State Park, Maui, Hawaii

Sunset, Makena State Park, Maui, Hawaii

Sunset, Makena State Park, Maui, Hawaii

Sunset, Makena State Park, Maui, Hawaii

Sunset, Makena State Park, Maui, Hawaii

That brought the second to last full day of the trip to a conclusion.  The final day would be quite different in nature from any of those previous…


Responses

  1. Amazing Sunset pics!

  2. Beautiful photos! I’ve not been to Maui in years, always seeming to end up on Oahu or Kauai. One more addition to my list for future when travel opens up again.

    • Thanks!

      This was my first time back on Hawaii–any of the islands–in 40 years. My time on Oahu on this trip was limited to about 45 minutes at the airport in Honolulu. But I was on both Kauai and Maui for a week apiece and, needless to say, a great deal had changed on both islands over the last four decades.

  3. I’ve been to Oahu a number of times, but only once to Maui, in October 2018. We had only a little less than a week there–not nearly enough time. It’s great to be able to see what you were able to do in your week!

    • Thanks!

      A week is a pretty good amount of time on Maui, but that comes with the caveat that it depends entirely on exactly what it is you want to do. I circumnavigated the entire island, easily, while I was there and spent the equivalent of more than a full day in interior (Iao Valley, Haleakala). The area I really wish I had more time for was the Hana Highway. If I ever go back, I’ll look into staying in Hana for a few days.

      But if you’re looking for a beach vacation, a week might not be anywhere near enough time. 🙂

      • The real caveat for me would not be what I would like to see, if I had the leisure time to pick and choose, but rather what I would be able to see in the limited time available. Gone are the days when I could spend hours following interesting routes on a map and taking any random tangent that looked appealing. Nowadays it’s trying to get an hour or two to myself from the omnipresent family group who are there with me. Still, they are usually open to an excursion suggestion, and occasionally one pays off—as does the opportunity for a new set of family photos, which are always worthwhile. Nevertheless, I really hope to get back there one day with more time on my hands. I’ll remember your Hana suggestion. Thanks, Kerry!

        • Hi Gary. Completely understood. A few years ago I posted an entry that discussed trip planing and one of the key motifs was drawing a firm distinction between “photo trips” (i.e. those excursions where the principal, if not sole, goal is photography) and trips that included some picture taking (but where the latter isn’t the prime directive). The two have far more distinctions, in my view, than similarities, and definitely should be approached differently.

          Here’s a link to that post, incidentally:

          https://lightscapesphotography.wordpress.com/2015/04/13/preparing-for-a-photo-trip/

  4. Such beautiful images of light.


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