Sunday, September 21, 2008

Dolphin Quest

I went on a Dolphin Quest with my friend Elizabeth in search of dolphins to swim with. We went to La Perouse Bay on the south side of Maui, just past Wailea and Makena. The day we arrived, the dolphins weren't there--again. So I have yet to see them. But they're out there, these celestial beings of the ocean, and one of these days I'm going to swim with them. I did capture some photos of the lava-rock beaches of La Perouse. It was a gray day and there was quite a bit of vog (volcanic fog) drifting over from the Big Island.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Exploring the Island of Maui

Wow what a week! I finally launched my debut novel and now it's out there selling in book stores and on the world wide web. I was surprised to discover that it's even selling as an ebook. I put so many long hours into preparing for the launch that I began to feel like an anti-social-homebody-workaholic. I wrote about my struggles with this in my blog post "Revelations of a Workaholic."

I needed a mini vacation and finally took one. Since I'm already living in Hawaii, a vacation destination, I decided to go out and explore some parts of Maui I hadn't seen yet. There are so many beaches, rain forests, sacred sites, and mountain vistas here it will probably take me a year to see them all. Adventure for me is more than just about the excitement of writing and publishing fiction. It's also about getting back to nature. One of my favorite things to do when not working is to go hiking and exploring new places. Here are some photos of two hiking trips I took last week with my good friend Greg "Magick" Bernstein.

That's Magick in the hat. He's a retreat leader here on Maui and knows about many of the sacred places to explore. First, we went hiking the Waihe'e Valley, a rain forest region located on the northwest side of Maui, just a short drive from Kahului.

The sky was an azure blue that day.

A very wise and ancient banyan tree watches over the trail.

We crossed several streams like this.

Two of the streams have swinging bridges.

The trail ends at waterfalls that flow into a swimming hole.

It's a great place to picnic and swim.

On September 2nd, the day my novel released, I celebrated with my buddy Magick by hiking Haleakala volcano. If you've been to Maui, you probably know about Haleakala. It's the peak where tourists go up to the top and watch the sunrise then ride bikes down to the bottom. The volcano is dormant, so there's no lava flow. That's only on the Big Island. At the top of Haleakala there's a vast wilderness with 27 miles of trails for hiking and riding horseback.

At the entrance to the Halemu'u trail

we were greeted by two Hawaiian Geese called "Nene."

The Nene is Hawaii's state bird.

Haleakala is literally up in the clouds. The beginning of the hike was a mystical experience because there was a constant mist. Just past those rocks was a sheer drop-off.

The crater has a barren desert side and a lush green side with lots of ferns. On this particular day, Magick and I hiked the lush green side. The first mile gradually descends to the valley.

There were plenty of breathtaking views.

We spent a good five hours hiking and had lunch overlooking the valley. At one point we watched an owl fly along the cliffs. It was a magical day.

When we got back to the car, the Nene were still there to bid us farewell.

If you find yourself feeling stressed-out about working long hours, I highly recommend a mini-vacation in your area. Explore the outdoors, get back to nature. I feel recharged and ready to get back to writing my next novel.

Special thanks to Greg "Magick" Bernstein for introducing me to such enchanted places. Not only is he a great friend, he's also an amazing life coach and retreat leader here on Maui. I've attended a few of his retreats that are absolutely fantastic. You can read more about him at http://www.sacredvoyages.com/.