Tag: kids

Beautiful Makawao Forest Reserve Hike

Makawao Forest Reserve
Map of the trail system. We walked from the parking lot to the first picnic bench on the right side of the trail loop (and back). Looking forward to exploring more.

We’ve been meaning to go hiking in the Makawao Forest Reserve. This past weekend we finally made it there. Compared to the Olinda hike, this is quite an extensive trail system and is actually set up for mountain bikers. Some of the trails are strictly for bikers, so do pay attention to the signs.

The hike itself is a 6.5 mile loop in the forest. We didn’t go nearly that far, but hiked past the two sets of ramp areas for bikes and then through the ravine. I really enjoy seeing this different (non beach) side of Maui. There are tall pine trees and beautiful trees with stripped bark.

This trail is covered with leaves and often wet. Do bring sturdy shoes, slippahs are not appropriate here.

Makawao Forest Reserve
I attempted to take a vertical panorama shot of this tree. I guess you’ll just have to go see for yourself. The forest is beautiful!
Getting to the Makawao Forest Reserve is a little adventurous.

From Kihei you are looking at about a 50 minute drive. Driving on Makawao Ave (from the Haleakala Hwy), go straight through the 4 way stop with Baldwin and then take your first right after the church and cemetery. Pass the Piiholo Ranch Ziplines and when you come to a Y intersection, turn left (Waiahiwi Rd). The road gets narrower, windy and there are very few signs. There will be a few ‘no outlet’ signs. Eventually you turn right onto Kahakapao Road (don’t go straight onto private Piiholo Ranch property). Eventually you get to park gates (open 7am-7pm). Now the road is quite narrow with some pretty good ‘dips’ in the road (they are marked, slow down). Pull into the second parking lot on the right (after the horse trailer parking lot). It’s a fairly large parking lot with good signage.

Bring your own snacks and water along. There is a port-o-potty.

Do not leave any valuables in your car.

If you are interested in mountain biking it, there are a few bike rental places on Maui – Krank Cycle is likely easiest as it is right in Makawao.

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How about giving the ukulele a try?

Did you know, the ukulele has its origins from Portugal? Over 130 years ago Portuguese sugar cane workers brought machetes (instruments, not knives) to Hawaii. A few tweeks and modifications later and Hawaii’s ukulele was born. It became a hugely popular instrument as it is small, portable and with four strings, easy to learn. By the way, ukulele is pronounced oo-kuu-leh-le (oo as in too, not you-kuu-leh-le).

At the local elementary school, kids take group lessons starting in second grade. It’s easier on the ears than recorders, trust me! They remain a popular instrument, especially with men. I am sure you have heard of one of Hawaii’s most legendary singers IZ who accompanied himself on the ukulele (Somewhere over the Rainbow). Also, check out Oahu’s Jake Shimabukuro.

A tenor (26 inch) from Mele Ukulele, and a cheap 21 inch ‘ABC store ukulele’

If you are in the market for an instrument, you are in luck. Here on Maui you can find them everywhere. Try the ABC store or Whalers General Store for a cheap instrument. Or, if you are looking for a better quality or perhaps even hand-made, check out Mele Ukulele at their Shops at Wailea or Wailuku stores! They have instruments for all budgets and from our experience great customer service, from helping you choose your perfect ukulele to doing repairs. Yes, they service all their instruments. Remember to get a case to protect your instrument! You can even get an electric pick-up installed so everyone can better hear you practice (if you have an amp, I guess)!

Free group lessons!

On the fence? Mele Ukulele offers FREE group lessons at the Shops at Wailea every Monday from 5:30-6:30pm at the center courtyard (you may need to stop by the store to borrow an instrument). Learn how to play and how this instrument is part of Hawaiian culture!

Want more? Every 2nd and 4th Wednesday there are additional lessons as part of Wailea Wednesdays’ Ukulele Mix Plate program, also in the courtyard.

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Maui geocaching

Did you get into the Pokemon Go craze this past summer? I am apparently behind the times. This summer I downloaded the geocaching app on my phone to try some Maui geocaching. I know, this app has been around for years and some of you won’t believe I am new to the game. On the other hand, some of you probably haven’t heard of geocaching either. No worries, you aren’t alone.

A duck pond? in Kihei?

Geocaching is a real-world treasure-hunting game using GPS coordinates and an app on your phone. You choose which cache you want to find, follow the directions on the app to get close, read the hint and then look for a physical cache. Some caches have small trinkets that you can exchange, others just a log to mark your find. Check out the geocaching website for much more information!  I think it’s a lot of fun – you’re going on an adventure right in your back yard!

where in Kihei is this path?
where in Kihei is this path?

Kihei (and Maui) have a number of free geocaches. But if you sign up for their premium account (yes, I did – after all, it’s ‘educational’ for the kids), there are a whole bunch here in Kihei alone. Since downloading the app this June, our family has knocked out a few of the local geocaches. It’s been fun doing this with the kids. It makes going for a walk a lot more interesting. My hope is that they will become more aware of their surroundings as we do this, looking for treasure of their own! Hey, I can dream!

We found one at a duck pond in Central Kihei, one in a rock wall, one on a guard rail, another with a great sunset view near Keawakapu beach. We have also had a few ‘no finds’. Sometimes caches are discovered by ‘muggles’, people who are not aware of the game, who toss them because they think they are trash.


You do need data on your phone to go geocaching. If you have a Canadian phone plan, check on that. It may be a really expensive hobby to do while traveling in the US thanks to roaming charges. We have Tmobile with unlimited data in 100+ countries, so we were good to give it a go while traveling this summer.

Now THAT is a nice reward for finding a geocache!
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Maui’s November events!

How is it November already? I find this so hard to believe. Although…. the sun is setting earlier (around six) and the weather has been slightly cooler…. After a long hot summer, it’s refreshing to have some ‘cooler’ temperatures. Okay, it’s still in the high 80s, but not in the low 90s! Time for a list of Maui’s November events!

This weekend:

maui's november eventsNovember 5 8:30-4pm the 3rd annual Made in Maui County Festival on the outdoor lawn at the Maui Arts and Cultural Center. I just read there are 40 new vendors at this event. I went a few years ago, it was great! Think craft fair – Christmas shopping! Admission is $5/person.

November 4, 5, 6 and 13 Seabury Hall’s drama department presents – Sister Act, the musical! Check website for tickets and go for an upcountry drive!

November 5 is Maui’s first ever Maui Comic Con! It’s taking place at the Lahaina Cannery Mall (in Lahaina, just before you get to Kaanapali). Tickets are free.

November 6-12 is Wailea Restaurant Week. Twice a year Wailea Restaurants get together to offer prix-fixe 3 course menus. This is a great way to try out a new restaurant or two! No coupons required, but reservations are recommended! Check out the website for participating restaurants and menus.

November 15 Dine Out for Hospice with 30 participating restaurants.

November 17-December 28 Maui Film Festival presents First Light. More information on films, dates and times coming soon – check out their website!

November 25-December 11 Mary Poppins at the Historic Iao Theater!

November 27th Maui Choral Arts Association presents Yule Be Home For Christmas at the Castle Theater.

I hope you have a great vacation, and also that you are able to take in some of Maui’s November events. I’d love to hear what you thought of them!

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Hiking in a Pine Forest

waihou trailThis weekend our family went hiking on the Waihou Springs Trail. Actually we had planned to go to the Makawao Forest Reserve, but after doing a bit of reading, decided this one would be more up our alley. It is designated for hikers only, and is a short 2.5 mile loop hike (as opposed to 5.7 miles) with no bikes. Perfect.

To get there, you drive to Makawao, and then turn right (up the hill) at the only four way stop in town (Makawao and Baldwin Ave). When you turn right at this intersection, you are actually on Olinda Road. You follow Olinda for 5+ miles into the Waihou Springs State Forest Reserve. The road is narrow and winding and in parts quite steep (go slow). After passing the bird sanctuary you will see parking for it on the right hand side of the road (by an experimental pine forest).

Waihou trail
pine needles on Maui?
pine cones on Maui!!
pine cones on Maui!!

The hike itself is a relatively easy walk through the forest. Watch out for tree roots. There are a lot of pine needles and later leaves on the path. If it’s wet or muddy, I imagine hiking here would be very slick. We didn’t quite walk down to the Waihou Spring (a side-trail off the main trail) as the path was narrow and steep and a little more excitement than we had in mind for a Sunday afternoon walk.

We picked the perfect afternoon – it was dry, the sun was shining. Within the forest it was about 72F (perfect weather for walking or hiking).

The kids tried to talk us into dinner at the Makawao Steak House or at minimum the Stop Watch (sports bar in Makawao). Instead we stopped at Costco, bought steak and bbqed it at home. A perfect afternoon!

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Lahaina and the Maui Tropical Plantation

My hunny is away, so today the kids and I spent a fun day doing Mom-son stuff. Lahaina was on the agenda (we had to make a stop at the Adidas outlet store for some new shoes) and without Sig present we had a big decision to make…. where to have lunch? In seven years of living on Maui we have twice NOT gone to Bubba Gump’s when in Lahaina – yes, Sig is a huge fan of Bubba Gump’s. To be fair, it has a great location on Front Street, the building being on stilts over the ocean, but…. I like a little variety. (FYI, the other two places we’ve been were Longhi’s and Pi Artisan Pizza – both very good).

our burgers at Cool Cat Cafe

Today’s lunch choice was the Cool Cat Cafe for some burgers. This restaurant is located on the top floor of the Wharf Cinema Center across from the Banyan Tree. Our burgers were excellent, and honestly, we should not have ordered the shared basket of fries… we had way too much food.

After lunch we headed across the street to a fun gift/clothing shop, Maui Memories, owned by Austrian transplant Dany White. This shop relocated from Wailea to Lahaina a few years ago and is now in the old Pioneer Hotel building, also across from the Banyan Tree. I had a gift certificate burning in my pocket and found some beautiful abalone jewelry for myself ‘for Mother’s Day’.


On the way home… a stop at the Maui Tropical Plantation

After some successful shoe shopping, we headed back towards Kihei where we took a little detour to visit the local ducks at the Maui Tropical Plantation. If you haven’t been here, do go check it out – it’s only about five minutes from North Kihei! Apart from the obligatory gift shop, they have repurposed some old sugar cane factory gear in their landscaping and an actual steam engine in the bar at the Mill House. So very cool. I have yet to come hear for dinner or drinks, but it’s on my list…. Additionally they have a (beginner) zipline, coffee roaster etc.

A train in a bar? Yep! Only on Maui 🙂

What a fun day! Unlike the Anaheim Ducks (who were soundly defeated by the Edmonton Oilers today – oh dear), the local ducks were in great spirits, happily eating what kids were feeding them 🙂

Now back to the grind – cleaning and doing homework for the kids, blogging and making dinner for me.

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Coupons and that kama’aina rate!

Have you ever wondered how you can get a kama’aina rate? Wondering what a kama’aina rate is? It’s a discount some shops and restaurants will give to local customers, hoping they will be repeat customers.

Generally you need to have a State of Hawaii driver’s license or other State of Hawaii ID to qualify for that local discount. By the way, did you know Hawaii driver’s licenses have a rainbow on them? I would show you a picture of mine, but…. well…. as with most IDs the picture turned out ‘just great’.

If you are staying at one of our four condos, we have the next best thing to a kama’aina rate: the Pueo Premier Card – a discount card for our guests to use! This is a fundraiser put on by one of the local elementary schools. No worries, you do not need to buy one – we always buy them and leave them in the condos for our guests to use. The discounts are similar to what some of these businesses offer as a kama’aina rate, and some of these businesses don’t actually offer a kama’aina rate, so this is as good as it gets!

In case you can’t zoom in on the picture here are some of the businesses participating in this year’s Pueo Premier Card:

5 Palms Restaurant (at our Kihei Surfside condo) – 20% off

808 Wellness 10% off

Aloha School of Massage Therapy – $5 off

Amigo’s 15% off

Cow Pig Bun 15% off

Cupie’s Drive-in 10% off

Dina’s Sandwitch (at our Sugar Beach condo) 15% off

Fat Daddy’s Smokehouse 15% off

Fork & Salad $1 off

Duo Steak & Seafood 10% off

Four Sisters Bakery – buy 1 doz, get 1 free

Hawaiian Moons Natural Foods 10% discount

IHOP 10% off

Java Cafe 15% off

L&L Hawaiian BBQ – free soda

Maui Brick Oven – free soda

Maui Sandwich Shack 15% off

Panda Express 3 for 2

Peggy Sue’s 15% off

Round Table 20% off

Ruth Chris Steak House 15% off

Sanrio 10% off

Taqueria Cruz 50% off 2nd entree

Tutti Frutti 50% off 2nd cup

Wow Wow Hawaiian Lemonade 10% off

Where can you find this card? If you are staying at one of our condos, look for it in the condo (near the business cards, at our Palms at Wailea condo it’s next to the kitchen phone). You are welcome to use the card, please just remember to leave it in the condo when you leave so our next guests can take advantage too.

If you are not staying at one of our condos, swing by Kamalii Elementary School on the corner of the Piilani Hwy and Alanui Ke Alii (just up the road from Kamaole I beach) in Kihei. They have them for sale in the school office (by the flag pole). Thanks for supporting the kids!

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How to treat a sunburn

We recently returned from a family vacation off-Maui. After several weeks away, we had lost most of our suntan! You know what that means when you get back to Maui! Yup – a sunburn!

On our first beach day back I burned horribly. The kids were wearing water shirts and were just fine. Too bad I am too vain to wear them too.

We have a collection of sunscreen in our cupboard (I am not endorsing any of these, though I do like the Neutrogena Sport Face).

I know many tourists burn badly when they come to Maui. Maui is located at 20.7 degrees latitude, the sun is much more intense here than the US mainland and Canada. Particularly for the first few days of enjoying the wonderful Hawaiian sun, you need to make sure you heavily lather on that sunscreen (and renew it every hour or two). If you have rented a convertible (those Mustang convertibles are quite popular), BEWARE. That’s a sunburn waiting to happen right there!

A few sunburn remedies

I’ve polled some of my friends as to their best sunburn remedies. I would love to hear your favorites. Of course, the best thing would be to actually avoid the sunburn altogether. That is another topic.

A few sunburn remedies in my bathroom

Aloe Vera  ~ I was surprised how many of my friends use aloe.

  • pick an aloe leaf and apply the juice directly to the burn. Of course, you are traveling and will most likely not find an aloe plant you can pick.
  • aloe gel – I asked, like the BananaBoat Aloe Gel? While one friend uses that approach (she keeps it in the fridge so it’s nice and cold), apparently there is an aloe gel you can get at a health food store (Whole Foods or maybe even Hawaiian Moons here in Kihei)
  • aloe cream or ointment  – check out Maui Vera at the ABC Store (or Amazon).

Coconut Oil ~ Coconut Oil seems to be really popular with locals – I’ve heard of people using it as hair conditioner, moisturizer, eye makeup remover etc. I’ve never tried it! One of my friends adds several drops of peppermint oil to hers (again, something you get at the health foods store).

Cool moist Towels ~ after you’ve burned, put cool moist towels on the burned areas to help pull the heat out of the skin.

Moisturize ~ we all know what happens after a sunburn… the peel! Moisturizing helps minimize the peeling skin. Ideally use a thick unscented moisturizer like Cetaphil.

Stay out of the sun ~ I know, you’re on vacation, but do give your skin a chance to recover.

Have you ever had an itchy sunburn?

This happened to me – about 48 hours after the sunburn it got incredibly itchy. I admit to self-diagnosing rather than checking with a doctor, but according to this website, it may be ‘Hell’s Itch’. Ouch.

Advil ~ this has been my best friend this week, I do confess.

Vitamin A&D Cream ~ one of the online forums mentioned this. I picked some up at Target, it’s a petroleum jelly and is quite soothing on my sunburn.

From a landlord’s perspective (yes, I wear that hat too)…. please don’t apply ointments and creams and then lay down on the sheets or sit on the couch…. they do stain and ruin the sheets.

Do you have a favorite sunburn remedy? Please share it! A special thank you to my friends who contributed ideas for this blog post.

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On being a tourist where you live

I I told another condo owner that we were going on vacation. He laughed – I always wonder where people who already live in Hawaii go on vacation! Good question. Let me tell you. We go back to the ‘mainland’ to visit family. We may even do some touristy things while we’re there!

You know how it goes, you don’t really appreciate the wonders of where you live until you consciously do touristy things. It’s amazing how many sights we didn’t see when we lived on our farm in Chilliwack BC. Now that we live on Maui, we finally have time to explore our former stomping grounds with our family.

By the same token, we don’t do many touristy things on Maui either. You will laugh – months will go by when we don’t even go to the beach. We’re just busy with life and work. I do try to do some touristy things for you, my blog readers. After all, I do need to have new things to write about!

But part of me is also hesitant to be a tourist in my chosen home. We’ve lived on Maui for 6 years now and my Canadian accent is still stubbornly there. Although sometimes when speaking with other locals my voice does start to emulate the sing-song local-style speak, I definitely don’t speak pidgin. Pidgin, the local-style English which goes back to the immigrant sugar cane plantation workers. Generally as a (more recently landed) Caucasion or ‘haole’ you look a little foolish speaking pidgin.

I admit it irks when a well-meaning waitress or store clerk aiming to make small talk kindly asks how my vacation is going. I can’t blame her, I am Caucasian and that Canadian accent is there… ‘Oh, we live here in Kihei.’ Really, she asks, how long have you been here? Six years is an impressive number. Six years means there is a good chance you’re staying. Six years means you’ve pretty much committed to Maui. Too many newcomers come for a year or two before leaving again, not quite able to stay in Hawaii.

Why do people leave? There are many reasons. I think probably the biggest one being, reality sets in. Moving to Hawaii doesn’t mean being on permanent vacation. It is expensive here, there is a real housing crisis, education options are limited and well-paying jobs are hard to find, though the island has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the nation. It is not uncommon for people to hold two jobs just to make ends meet. Pair this with distance to friends and family, people do reconsider their move.

It can be difficult for newcomers to fit in and make friends unless they are able to connect with other recent newcomers. Locals are wary of newcomers who come and then leave again. You invest in a new friendship, only for it to become uprooted when the person moves away. While you know it’s not their fault, with time you learn to guard your heart and maintain some distance so it doesn’t hurt so much.

Back to the being a tourist at home topic. Our kids proudly wear their Canadian tshirts and Canadian hats on Maui. While I sometimes wish they didn’t dress like tourists, I do understand. They are proud of their heritage.

As we fly on vacation to Canada, the kids proudly wear their Canada shirts. And yes, the lady at the checkin counter asks how our vacation was.

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Do you love hockey?

the oceanfront hockey rink at Kalama Park in Kihei

Did you know that Maui has a hockey rink? It’s a Maui-style rink which also doubles as the local roller rink. Yes, that’s inline hockey, not ice. Hawaii’s only ice rink is located on Oahu – our Maui guys and girls only dream of skating on ice – though one of the adult goalies has plastic furniture movers attached to his leg pads which allow him to glide on the concrete ‘like on ice’.

The location is perfect, in Central Kihei at Kalama Park which is an oceanfront public (outdoor) park. During season (September – May) the kids play late afternoon/early evenings (Monday Tuesday and Thursdays) starting at 5:30. The men start on those nights somewhere around 8pm. These days the sun is setting after 7pm, so you always get great sunset viewing along with the game! Now during the summer there are still casual pick-up games.

hockeyCan you join the game? Yes! Monday nights is adult pick-up hockey starting around 7:30pm. It being Maui that means plus or minus, typically it starts later. But come down early and you can sign a waiver and borrow gear. For more information check out the Maui Inline Hockey Association website or their Facebook page.

In addition to hockey, there is also ‘open skate’ roller rink time Wednesdays from 6-8pm, Friday and Saturdays from 6-9pm. Skating is free, but you can rent skates for $5 for the evening. The skates do need to stay in the rink (no taking them outside the rink area). The roller rink is a public County of Maui facility, however it is run by hockey parent volunteers. All proceeds from the skate rentals and small concession go to the kids. Come support local hockey!

Re: Kalama Park. There is a great playground with fun climbing trees, a ball park, a skate park (skateboarding), and also five tennis courts. Unfortunately this is also a hangout for some of the island’s homeless population. While generally harmless, do be aware and use common sense. And remember, there is no smoking or drinking allowed in Maui County public parks and beaches.

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