Camping at Enchanted Rock State Natural Area

Here are a few photos of our overnight camping trip to Enchanted Rock State Natural Area. It was a wonderful getaway, just 1.5 hours from home. Highly recommend (when it’s not too hot)!

Photo info: FUJIFILM X-E4, 18mm, f/5.6, 1/2200 sec, ISO320
“Loop Trail” Enchanted Rock State Natural Area, 2022
Photo info: FUJIFILM X-E4, 48.4mm, f/4.5, 1/210 sec, ISO320
“Mushroom & Shrimp” Enchanted Rock State Natural Area, 2022
Photo info: FUJIFILM X-E4, 21mm, f/1, 50 sec, ISO4000
“Tent and Stars” Enchanted Rock State Natural Area, 2022
Photo info: FUJIFILM X-E4, 18mm, f/10, 1/600 sec, ISO320
“Loop Trail” Enchanted Rock State Natural Area, 2022

Grandpa’s Artwork

Photo info: Apple iPhone 12 mini, 4.2mm, f/1.6, 1/120 sec, ISO80
“Hawaiian Host” Honolulu, 2022

Today we flew back home to Texas. While at the airport I took a photo of the boxes of Hawaiian Host candies. My grandfather was an artist and teacher, and drew the original tiki that has been on the box since the beginning. (see below)

For the past year or so, the company has been transitioning to a new box design, and the tiki is now embossed in gold, but I noticed that the drawing is slightly changed. Small details like the shape of the hands, the nose, and teeth have been updated. I’m sad to see the original box go, but at least we have photos!

Photo info: Apple iPhone 12 mini, 4.2mm, f/1.6, 1/120 sec, ISO125
“Grandpa’s Artwork” Honolulu, 2022

Anyways, our vacation to Maui and Molokai has come to an end. It was a spectacular trip with plenty of excellent experiences and good memories created. I’m very happy!

Photo info: Apple iPhone 12 mini, 4.2mm, f/1.6, 1/35 sec, ISO640
“In-Flight” Honolulu, 2022

Maui – ‘Iao Valley, Ancestors, Pā’ia, Haleakalā, and Beer

Photo info: FUJIFILM X-E4, 18mm, f/6.4, 1/220 sec, ISO320
“Iao Valley” Wailuku, 2022

Today was book-ended by two of Maui’s classic landmarks: ʻIao Valley and Haleakalā Crater. First up was ʻIao Valley, which is just a few minutes away from our house. I’ve been here several times but I always enjoy visiting and reading about the history of the valley, especially the battle that was fought here between Kamehameha I and Kalanikūpule.

Photo info: FUJIFILM X-E4, 18.8mm, f/3.2, 1/1500 sec, ISO320
“Battle Placard” Wailuku, 2022

Later that morning, we visited my grandparents’ and great-grandparents’ graves. We laid flowers down and noticed that someone (probably my brother or nephew) had left a golf ball for my grandpa, who was an avid golfer. The place where they are laid to rest has a nice view of ‘Iao Valley and their old house on the hill. 💜

Photo info: FUJIFILM X-E4, 18mm, f/9, 1/1600 sec, ISO320
“View Home” Wailuku, 2022

For lunch, we headed over to Paia Fishmarket in Pā’ia. It’s a popular restaurant with a few locations in the islands, but it wasn’t too busy today and we got a nice table to enjoy our lunch. We’re eating so good on this trip!

Photo info: Apple iPhone 12 mini, 4.2mm, f/1.6, 1/120 sec, ISO100
“Fish Burger” Paia, 2022

Next, we headed upcountry to Haleakalā Crater. The park has a truly otherworldly feel to it. What a fun place for photographers! Someday I’d like to hike into the crater and even stay at one of cabins or campsites there. Wouldn’t that be awesome?

Photo info: FUJIFILM X-E4, 18mm, f/13, 1/750 sec, ISO320
“Haleakalā Crater” Kula, 2022
Photo info: FUJIFILM X-E4, 55mm, f/4, 1/3000 sec, ISO320
“Silversword” Kula, 2022

On the way down from the park, we stopped at Mahalo Aleworks in Makawao for a beer and a bite. The sun was setting and the view was really cool because you could see the ocean on both the north and south sides of the island. Very neat!

Photo info: FUJIFILM X-E4, 18mm, f/4, 1/1250 sec, ISO320
“Sunset to the West” Makawao, 2022
Photo info: Apple iPhone 12 mini, 4.2mm, f/1.6, 1/1050 sec, ISO32
“Mahalo Aleworks” Makawao, 2022
Photo info: FUJIFILM X-E4, 18mm, f/4, 1/850 sec, ISO320
“Clouds above Haleakalā” Makawao, 2022

We got home in the early evening in order to get ready to fly back to the mainland the next day. I did take some time to set up my tripod to take a photo of Kahului and the airport with planes taking off and landing. I think it turned out pretty good!

Photo info: FUJIFILM X-E4, 18mm, f/2.8, 5 sec, ISO160
“Night Sky with Airplanes” Wailuku, 2022

Lāhainā Whale-Watching and Sunset Dinner

Photo info: FUJIFILM X-E4, 18mm, f/6.4, 1/1250 sec, ISO320
“Whale-watching Gathering” Lahaina, 2022

While we were on Molokai, we decided to book a whale-watching tour in Lāhainā. It was last-minute, so we were only able to reserve a spot on the first boat out. That meant we had to arrive at about 6:30 am!

The early start worked out nicely because the drive over from Wailuku was quick and we were able to park in the Lāhainā Free Public Parking lot, which was just a couple blocks from where the whale-watching boats depart from.

Photo info: FUJIFILM X-E4, 18mm, f/5, 1/1250 sec, ISO320
“Whale-Watching” Lahaina, 2022

We chose Ultimate Whale Watch & Snorkel because of the excellent reviews, and they were great – informative and funny. The boat itself seated about 20 people, and you had a good view from wherever you sat. We started on one of the seats at the rear of the boat, but then moved up to the front for an even better view.

March is the tail-end of whale-watching season, but we saw plenty of humpback whales – mothers, babies, and males sparring for the females’ attention. It was so cool! We even saw a few breaches (whales jumping out of the water) which were spectacular.

The early morning tour meant we were treated to the sun rising over the western Maui mountains, and the sun wasn’t too intense. It was great.

Photo info: FUJIFILM X-E4, 55mm, f/6.4, 1/1400 sec, ISO320
“Tail!” Lahaina, 2022

After the 2-hour tour, we grabbed a table at the nearby Papa’Aina restaurant. The menu is on the pricey side, but that’s expected for a premium location in Lāhainā. We ordered the fish & eggs and biscuit. Yum!

Photo info: FUJIFILM X-E4, 48.4mm, f/4, 1/480 sec, ISO320
“Fish and Eggs” Lahaina, 2022

We shopped around Lāhainā town for a bit, and then drove back to Wailuku and ran some errands which included some shopping at Takamiya Market and Tamura’s Market. Wailuku is an old town so it’s interesting to visit the businesses that have been around a long time. (Takamiya, not Tamura’s)

Photo info: FUJIFILM X-E4, 27mm, f/5.6, 1/600 sec, ISO320
“Takemiya” Lahaina, 2022

The evening’s plans took us back to Lāhainā because we had dinner reservations at Kimo’s. Our table had the best view of Lanai and the setting sun, and we ordered a couple of tropical drinks to celebrate our Maui vacation. It was one of those magical vacation moments!

Photo info: Apple iPhone 12 mini, 4.2mm, f/1.6, 1/900 sec, ISO32
“Drinks” Lahaina, 2022

Drinks were followed by macadamia nut calamari and ahi poke & avocado appetizers. So good.

Photo info: Apple iPhone 12 mini, 1.55mm, f/2.4, 1/120 sec, ISO32
“Appetizers” Lahaina, 2022

By this time, the sun was dipping lower and many diners were taking sunset photos. It was fun and everyone was enjoying the vibe.

Photo info: FUJIFILM X-E4, 27mm, f/16, 1/220 sec, ISO320
“Lanai Sunset” Lahaina, 2022

For the main course, I got the cheeseburger (hey, I haven’t had a burger in a while!) and Mariko ordered the “Lobster Topped”. Both dishes were, as expected, delicious.

Photo info: FUJIFILM X-E4, 27mm, f/3.6, 1/20 sec, ISO3200
“Cheeseburger” Lahaina, 2022
Photo info: FUJIFILM X-E4, 27mm, f/3.6, 1/30 sec, ISO3200
“Fish Dinner” Lahaina, 2022

For dessert, we shared a Hula Pie. The macadamia nut ice cream and chocolate cookie crust was awesome. OMG we were so stuffed.

It was another long, but memorable day. So far, this vacation has been a blast!

Photo info: FUJIFILM X-E4, 27mm, f/16, 1/100 sec, ISO320
“Molokai Twilight” Lahaina, 2022

Hike Through Halawa Valley to Mo’oula Falls

Photo info: FUJIFILM X-E4, 18mm, f/2.8, 1/1100 sec, ISO320
“Mo’oula Falls” Kaunakakai, 2022

Today we did a hike in Halawa Valley to Mo’oula Falls. It’s one of our planned highlights of our vacation and we were really looking forward to it.

But first we needed some breakfast so we headed into town to pick up some goodies and coffee at Kanemitsu’s Bakery and Coffee Shop. The pastries were delicious!

“Kanemitsu’s” Kaunakakai, 2022

The drive to Halawa Valley follows Kamehameha V Highway east for about 26 miles, and is really narrow for the last few miles, with tight turns, so drive slowly and carefully!

We were told to bring some snacks or lunch to eat at Mo’oula Falls so we stopped at Mana’e Goods & Grindz at mile marker 16. They opened at 8am, and we got there right before. Mana’e has a pretty big menu of local food and when we asked the lady taking orders what would be good to take on the hike, she suggested the bento, and wrapped it up securely with plastic wrap so it be okay in our backpack. Thank you Mana’e lady!!!

Photo info: FUJIFILM X-E4, 18mm, f/3.6, 1/1500 sec, ISO320
“Mana’e Goods n Grindz” Kaunakakai, 2022

We arrived at Halawa Park and met our guide, Greg of Halawa Valley Cultural Tours, who was friendly, funny, informative, and passionate about educating people about Hawaiian culture, and specifically Halawa Valley.

Photo info: FUJIFILM X-E4, 18mm, f/6.4, 1/160 sec, ISO320
“Welcome Gifts” Kaunakakai, 2022

At around 9:30 am, we proceeded on the tour to Greg and his father’s residence where we participated in a welcome ceremony. The whole time, the interesting information kept flowing and we could really feel the value of the tour. It’s well worth the price.

Photo info: FUJIFILM X-E4, 18.8mm, f/2.8, 1/1250 sec, ISO320
“Cultural Hike” Kaunakakai, 2022

The hike up the valley to the falls was not too difficult nor long, but there are a couple of water crossings and your feet will most likely get wet. I suggest some water shoes or hiking sandals. The weather for our hike was perfect, with lots of sun, and a gentle breeze to keep us cool. There were lots of mosquitos, however, which attacked me when we stopped walking for our water breaks, so I recommend bringing mosquito repellant and using it liberally.

Photo info: FUJIFILM X-E4, 18mm, f/2.8, 1/850 sec, ISO320
“At the Falls” Kaunakakai, 2022

When we reached the falls, Greg jumped into the 30-foot-deep pool for a swim, and a few of us followed. The water was cold, but not unbearable, and I was able to swim to the base of the waterfall. It was awesome. Make sure to bring a swimsuit!

After that, Mariko and I broke out the bento and had lunch. It was a wonderful experience!

The hike back to Greg’s residence was quick because it was downhill, and there were less breaks and I believe we reached our car at about 3 pm.

I 100% recommend the Halawa Valley Cultural Hike. We expected it to be a highlight of our vacation, and it didn’t disappoint!