As we came though the tunnel at the end of the Pali and the Oluwalu point came into view I could tell we were going to have perfect weather conditions for our sunset horseback ride at Lahaina Stables. The winds were non existent, the sun was shining bright and the minimal clouds on the horizon made it seem like there was a very good chance that we were going to experience a magnificent brightly colored Maui sunset.
As we pulled into the parking lot of the ranch I could see our guide lining up the horses that we were going to be riding. The horses all had a youthful look to them and their coats were very shiny. It took a few minutes for the rest of our group to arrive. Once everyone was there we all filled out our safety waivers and then our guide gave us all a brief tutorial on how to ride the horses as well as some tips about things we should watch out for. After our guide was done with the briefing he assigned us to the horse we were going to ride and then helped out get mounted on the saddle.
The horse that I got paired up with was a large, dark brown horse named "Hanalei" that had a build that resembled a clydesdale. Once I was all mounted up I was pleasantly surprised to find out that despite the enormous size of Hanalei, she was still very responsive and easy to ride. As soon as the rest of the group was all mounted up we began to work our way up the hill towards the massive Laniopoko Valley.
The first section of the trail we rode on wound through the top of the Laniopoko subdivision. Eventually we had passed the last house and the terrain we were riding through began to transition from open grasslands to a much more forested environment. Our guide explained that we were going through an ancient forest of Wili Wili Trees. These trees were initially brought to the island by polynesian settlers who used it as a anesthetic. These trees were extremely prevalent throughout the islands until 2005 when a new species of wasp mysteriously made it's way to Hawaii. This species of wasp found the wood of the Wili Wili Tree a very accommodating place to call home. This pest has been devastating to the Wili Wili tree. Researchers from the Hawaii Department of Agriculture estimated more than 90% of all the Wili Wili trees in the state of Hawaii would be wiped out by this invasive wasp in a matter of only a few years. Desperate for a solution the Hawaii Department of Agriculture worked tirelessly to come up with a solution to the problem. In 2008 a solution was found in the form of another wasp. This second species of wasp is known to prey on the larva of the other species of wasp and the Hawaii Department of Agriculture was confident that this would be an effective method of biocontrol. So far it seems like to solution is working. Slowly but surely the Wili Wili trees that were not completely killed by the wasps are coming back to life. Our guide showed us many examples of such trees that were on the brink of death and are now seemingly making their way back towards a much healthier state.
The trail continued through the Wili Wili forest up into the Laniopoko Valley until we eventually reached a medium sized, manmade reservoir. Here we stopped for a rest. Our guide prepared a buffet of snacks and cold beverages for us on the picnic table while the rest of the group members walked around and stretched their legs. We stayed here for about fifteen minutes or so before we remounted our horses and began to make the decent down the valley back towards the ranch. As we came out of the valley the view of the sunset appeared in front of us. From our vantage point high up on the mountain we could see the orange light reflecting off the surface of the water. As the sun worked its way closer to the horizon the colors became more and more vivid. Our guides timing was impeccable. We arrived back to the ranch at dusk, just minutes after the sun had finished dropping over the horizon. Our guide helped us off our horses and then thanked us all for coming out. We in turn thanked him and then made our way back towards the parking lot. Our ride at Lahaina Stables proved to be an amazing way to spend the afternoon.
When most people get off the plane on Oahu I don't think they have any idea that you can have the sort of experiences that we had today. Today we took a trip with Hawaii Nautical that took us snorkeling on the Western coastline of the island.
Yesterday I looked at the three day forecast and saw that there were glassy conditions predicted until the end of the week. Being that the whales are currently here in record numbers I thought it would be ideal to schedule a whale watching trip.
As we got down to the harbor to board the Scotch Mist I could tell that we were in for an amazing time. The weather was ideal, the day before a winter storm front had come through from the west.
We decided to go for a hiking adventure with Hike Maui through the Wailele Permaculture farm and the surrounding park areas and waterfalls. We met our guide in Kahului at the "Park & Ride" parking lot.
Everyone dreams of experiencing a perfect day out on the water. Smooth seas, warm air, whales spouting off all around you, dolphins coming up to the boat, snorkeling with Sea Turtles.
Of all of the different fishing trips that we offer I think it is fair to say that as a general rule of thumb, the bottom fishing charters that we have generally catch a larger volume of fish then our deep sea sport fishing charters.
Paragon Sailing Charters operates a type of catamaran that is not utilized by anyone else in the Hawaiian Islands. The designer of the catamarans that are used by Paragon Sailing Charters is the owner of the company, Eric Barto.
One of the most popular categories of tours that we carry on Maui are the Haleakala Bike trips. There are many companies that we carry that offer this trip, but what many people do not realize is there is quite a bit of difference between the different varieties of downhill biking trips.
Hawaii is an equestrians paradise! The rich Paniolo (cowboy) history of the islands dates back well over a hundred years. There are still many large ranches located throughout the state of Hawaii and if you're interested in getting out for a horseback ride while your here then we can easily make that happen.
This is a honeymooners' delight and what West Maui is all about-- the most gorgeous sunsets in the world. Champagne and chocolates will be served.
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