Hana to Kipahulu — May 31


Black Sand Beach

It is very late, technically, it’s Monday, and I am in a most wonderful spot in Kipahulu, feeling blissful on so many levels.

I woke up at Wia’anapanapa State Park and went for a morning walk. I have taken Scooter for his morning walk for years and now he has me trained. Even when he’s not with me, my body craves and expects a walk first thing. After that, I strolled down to the black sand beach and did yoga. I can totally understand why many yoga videos seem to be filmed in Hawaii – the two go together like peanut butter and jelly. I worked some of the kinks out and felt so much more open and limber. Interesting to note in the geological world, the black sand was actually made in a matter of days, when the lava hit the water and froze immediately. The sand is finite and should not be taken as a souvenir, which took willpower on my end.

The lava caves fronting the ocean at the park had intrigued me when I had walked by them earlier to scope them out. And they certainly lived up to their intrigue! I am not sure if my words can quite capture what I saw and it was hard to take pictures, at least without a go-pro. But these caves had large lava formations hanging from the ceilings, in the shape of quartz crystals, perhaps each “crystal” was about two feet across. There was a second chamber that I could only reach by swimming and in there the black crystals are undergoing some sort of mineralization. The rocks are coated with shades of white and red and green, almost like some sort of psychedelic painting. It was eerie and honestly, I was scared to swim around in the caves for fear that some sort of monster would jump out and attack me. But I forged through my fears and did many laps and had the most awesome views of these otherworldly formations. At some points, I would climb up the walls and sit on crystals and reach out to touch other ones. This was simply one of the coolest things I have ever done. Loved it!

Lava Caves, but the 2nd Room Is Much Cooler Looking with the Colors

Lava Caves, but the 2nd Room Is Much Cooler Looking with the Colors

But it was time for me to keep moving on and so I did. I Headed toward Hana and I stopped for some food. Hawaii is so much like Oregon, it makes me smile. I got a gluten free ahi (locally caught) quesadilla and it hit the spot.

There was an in town hike I decided to go on. It is called Lyon’s Hill. It just meanders through a ranch and leads to a quite the vantage point. A huge cross is on the top made from lava rock. And it looks down upon the Hana Bay which opens up to the Pacific. Although it was late morning, I would venture to guess that this is a primo viewing spot for sunsets.


View from atop Lyon’s Hill

I was eager to hit the red sand beach, as it is spoken of highly. It was a bit tricky to get to, but worth the effort. I walked on a narrow, craggily path that hugs the mountain and at some point, it opens up to a most spectacular cove, filled with red sand which was formed from the red rocks that skirt the area. There were a few people there and being nude appeared to be totally acceptable. The weather was a bit cool for me to want to go in the ocean, but I sure did enjoy laying out on the beach. It never got crowded, but people came and went during the few hours that I was there. Like other places I have been on this trip, I noticed people come and see something for a few minutes and then move on to whatever is next. When I heard a couple whiny teenagers yelling at their mom about wanting to go and so forth, I became very thankful I was traveling alone and did not have to endure a complaint filled trip with my son. I drifted off for a bit and enjoyed relaxing to the fullest.


Red Sand Beach

I knew I was headed to Cafe Attitude in Kipahulu, because my friend Brooks had suggested I do it and I had reserved a cabin beforehand to stay the evening. Yesterday I had gotten the number to Cafe Attitude, because I wanted to get directions. Well, the directions consisted of “when you pass Laulima fruit stand, ask them for directions. They close at 5pm”. Because of these cryptic directions, I left Hana with plenty of time to allow for getting lost. No sooner than I had hit the road, did I stop to pick up a hitchhiker, who was also headed to Kipahulu. He had recently moved to Maui, and he mentioned to me he was living and working at Laulima fruit stand and asked me if I was going to Cafe Attitude. I told him yes and could he show me exactly where it is – no problem, he stated! On the ride, which is about 11 miles and almost an hour, we discovered that he used to live in Eugene and, at the same time, we remembered taking a sauna together at the Blair Housing Co-op two winter solstices ago. How’s that for a small world?

I dropped him off at the fruit stand and drank some coffee from the trees there. Most excellent. I bought a cacao pod that I am going to try to smuggle back to the Mainland as well as a few other gifts. By the end of our time, we were hugging each other goodbye.

Charles Lindberg's Grave

Charles Lindberg’s Grave

Within a quarter mile of the fruit stand, is a church where Charles Lindbergh is buried. It is a modest church with a modest cemetery. And inscribed on his grave is “if I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea”. I am not sure what in me loves cemeteries and visiting graves of well-known people, but hanging out with Jim Morrison and Charles Lindbergh and iconic people, instills me with inspiration and a reminder that all great things come to an end.

I went straight on to Cafe Attitude and was greeted by a nude man watering the garden who showed me where to park. Then I walked around and met Peter, the man I had communicated with beforehand about the cabin. He happens to be a New Yorker, like myself. We chatted about all manner of things and I admired how in tune he was with the land and the evening before him. I helped him carry pitchers for tea. He had a blend he called Epic and it contained cardamom, fennel, ginger and turmeric – some of which was grown on this land. Their land is the total Hawaiian paradise with beautiful and productive gardens, a bamboo house, a few simple cabins, also made of bamboo and other natural materials. There are also other smaller structures that are used for community spaces and a sauna. A man made pond. Solar panels, heating water through the wood stove in the sauna, cooking in a contraption that processes woody debris and twigs in a very efficient way. Cell phones and computerized devices are strongly discouraged from being used here (I am in the cabin, typing alone, it’s our secret). I saw avocados, as big as my feet, laying in a pile. While I was talking to Peter, I noticed nude people strolling about the gardens. At the bottom of the property, some stone steps went down a steep slope and led to a canopy of trees with rounded rocks at the base and then the land sloped off sharply, into the ocean. The waves rhythmically pounded at the shore and I was still in awe that I was getting to share this bit of paradise for the evening. I was in the Garden of Eden and mentally thanking Brooks for insisting that I make this part of my Maui experience.

Pacific Ocean View from Kipahulu

Pacific Ocean View from Kipahulu

The sauna was fabulous. People led chants and we all sang in harmony. The music offerings ranged from Sanskrit, to Pagan, to Lithuanian. There was an ebb and flow in the number of people who needed to sweat at any given time. Outside the sauna was a pond, it was mucky, but I jumped in it anyway, and followed it off with an outdoor shower. On the rock wall, sat bowls of red clay, which I covered my whole body with, and noni fruit, which I rubbed on my face (it smells like stinky cheese). After I was clean, I rubbed coconut oil on my skin. Another woman was doing the same thing. This was truly an earthy experience. I was drinking in the elements and minerals that the land had to offer, quite literally. I rinsed off, got dressed and headed up to the community building where dinner and music was happening.

I lost track of time, but the next five or so hours were spent listening to soulful and spiritual music. Different people came to showcase their offerings, in what seemed like a very organic way. The meal was Thai inspired and most everything came off the land. At the end, after you handed in your rinsed dish, you got a homemade popsicle. The popsicles had very little sugar in them and are made from coconut milk that they make from scratch. I have made coconut milk from scratch in the past and it is a very meditative process. The campfire was divine and the people were divine as well. A very spiritual bunch. I met a young woman who lives in Munich, who told me if I ever get to Germany, I have a place to stay with her. I met an ethnobotanist from Colorado and we delved into many topics within the plant realm. I expect to stay in touch with him, his work is fascinating. I had observed how the community handles issues as well. A man who was smoking commercial cigarettes and a woman politely told him that while tobacco spirit was amazing, she prefers not to have it accompanied by chemicals. Another woman was acting a bit unruly and I wondered if she was drunk. I saw a man approach her and talk to her calmly. Not sure what he said, but she quieted down and then wandered away. I realized that this community self-governs itself. The order comes from within and from people’s desire to be authentic and speak one’s own truth.

As much as I could have stayed at the fire until the sunrise, I went over to the hosts and gave them an earnest thank you for all that they are and do and slipped into my cabin for some solitude.

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