Living in Maui we are fortunate to be surrounded by almost endless possibilities for adventure. Exploring our outdoor environment invigorates the mind, body and spirit and fosters a special connection with our child. Here are two adventure suggestions. More can be found at everydayadventuresmaui.com.
Less than 20 minutes from downtown Wailuku, the Waihe’e Ridge trail is an escape into a land of stunning ocean and valley views and precious native Hawaiian plants. Just 6.2 miles north of Wailuku on Kahekili Highway (Highway 340) is the road that leads to Camp Maluhia and the Waihee Ridge Trailhead, part of “Na Ala Hele”, the State of Hawaii Trail and Access Program.
About 1 mile up is a large gravel parking area with a port a potty. Beginning with a cement slope, the trail then ascends through Cook pines, and strawberry guava. At around .5 miles up the trail there is a lookout toward the waterfalls of Makamakaole valley. Up the trail, past a stand of yellow strawberry guava trees, the trail looks south toward Kahului and Waihe’e stream winding through the valley far below. From here on up, the upper region of the trail becomes very narrow, rocky and slippery passing through a native Hawaiian cloud forest (you will need a carrier for little ones). Ohia lehua trees, found only in Hawaii, bloom like red and yellow fireworks alongside the trail which ends at a plateau in the cloud forest. The views, as well as the climb up the ridge, take the breath away. The lower section of the trail has been easily traversed by 3 year olds that are experienced walking in the forest; energetic 5 year olds and older have tackled the upper section. It is advised to always use caution and supervise your children closely on this trail especially on sections of the upper trail that pass by dropoffs.
Centrally located, on highway 310 between Kihei and Ma’alaea, the Kealia Coastal Boardwalk open 6am to 7 pm traverses the border between Sugar beach and Kealia pond. The wide walkway, with handrails throughout, provides access to strollers, wheelchairs and those folks with limited walking abilities. The best time of day to go is just before sunset, or even better, spend the day playing in the white sand and gentle waves of Sugar Beach then stroll the boardwalk as the sunset colors hit the sky and the wildlife becomes active.
The air is filled with the chatters of the A’eo, the Native Hawaiian stilt, found only in Hawai’i. With a black and white body and long pink legs, kids love to spot the A’eo and say the Hawaiian name. ‘Alae ke’oke’o, the Hawaiian coot, with its black body and bright white beak, paddles through the shallows in the summer. At sundown, black crowned night heron, ‘Auku’u, arrive to hunt fish. Kealia boardwalk is fun for the whole family, from toddlers to Tutus, to enjoy the cool sunset breezes, watercolor palette views of ocean and mountains, and rare Hawaiian wildlife. Enjoy!
Image Credit: Meredith Richmond