Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Cycling Upcountry

Mark and I went cycling "upcountry" yesterday, starting at Pa'ia and turning around just past Kula, making for a 30-mile ride. The "upcountry" is the region of the island that skirts the extremely wide lower slopes of Haleakala, the huge volcano that formed the eastern part of Maui.

The route was almost entirely uphill, but a gradual ascent. We started at 7 feet above sea level and the highest elevation we reached was 2900 feet, making for an average road grade of approximately four percent. Our total elevation change was 3200 feet.

The uphill bit was made more challenging by the winds we were dealing with. We've decided we need to get out of the condo very early in order to avoid the winds that pick up later in the morning. Yesterday's were pretty strong; fortunately, however, they were mainly cross winds (although there was plenty of headwind, too).

The ride up to Makawao was uneventful. We stopped in this tiny town (which probably has more galleries per capita than any other place on the island) for a breather and a drink, which I purchased at a pharmacy. When I came out, I was greeted with the image pictured above of Mark slinging his leg over the saddle of his bike, an image I've seen many, many times and wanted to capture. 

As we shared out Diet Coke, a car drove up an parked in front of the pharmacy. A woman got out and went into the store next door, while her passenger, a Hawaiian woman I assume to have been about our age, stayed in the car. After a few minutes, she said to us, "Where are you guys headed?" "Kula," Mark replied. A brief look of astonishment passed over the woman's face. "You're going uphill?!," she questioned. We nodded. "Man ..." Apparently, this was a very novel thought to her, since most tourists who cycle in the area are taken up by truck or van a number of miles above Makawao, then they ride bikes down (for which they pay fees in excess of $100).

A few moments passed. She was looking at us. "Are you guys professionals?" I had to chuckle, saying "Oh no, no, no." We departed at that point, leaving her with a perplexed look on her face.

A view from near Kula, with the ocean visible in the upper left-hand corner

Apparently, the Holy Ghost has his own church in Kula

From Makawao, we headed on up to Kula. As we approached the area, I saw my first Jacaranda tree, pictured in the lead photo, with beautiful purple blossoms. Apparently, they grow only in the Kula area, and we saw a number of them as we made our way through the Kula area. The photo below is of some cacti (?) that were planted underneath the Jacaranda tree. They looked like huge succulents. I'd never seen anything like them before.

The pictures below were taken yesterday afternoon on Little and Big Beaches. We only had a few hours on the beach yesterday, but we're going to make up for it today. And tonight, we get married!

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