Today the old transport road still runs along the western edge of Maui and John, and I found part of it north of the intersection of the main road of Caanapal. This now-abandoned road may one day be part of the West Maui Greenway, the proposed 25-mile trail from Ukumehame Beach Park to Lipoa Point on the northern tip of West Maui – a cyclist without a car.
Johnny and I walked about 10 miles on a dirt road that steadily climbed 600 vertical feet to Ironwood Ranch, one of the last equestrian ranches on the island. The owner, Kimo Harlacher, in exchange for helping the horses, let me load the bikes into the barn and put the hammocks under the plum tree. We used his electric mountain bike to get to the grassy terrain overlooking the ocean where travelers will be able to camp later this year. Wild boars roamed around the citrus.
The next day’s walk was spectacular, challenging and rewarding: a 22-mile-long epic that battered batteries while climbing 3,500 feet and climbing long distances that have a heart attack height profile.
The Honoapilan Highway, which becomes the Cahill Highway, has curves tight enough that cars can crawl. For three hours Johnny and I walked north west of Maui, the road was so narrow, sometimes the cliffs and rainforest cut off the central strip from it. We walked past Nakalele Blowhole and took the “wall”, a short, solid climb that left us even with the help of an electric helper. We rounded the blind corners, revealing thunderbolts and rocky cliffs. There were banana bread stands, farms, and eternal villages.
In a few places, we stopped the cars and then watched how these cars met the oncoming cars and started playing about who would be first behind. The trade winds blew our faces on the wide curves, and then whispered as we rounded the corners of ravines and drains. The battery-powered meter on my handle was lowered when the engine spun to the tilt. The descent came quickly and excitingly, and I got on the bike in the curves. You can fly to Maui only for this section.
That night, our last, we camped with George Kahumoku, a junior, Grammy Award-winning musician on his farm. For donations – it helps to feed the island’s homeless – visitors can come here on weekends for breakfast and music, but guests usually cannot stay here. He allowed it because he had just returned from a tour of my hometown of Oregon and he needed help to care for the tarot fields. For others, Kahului hotels are less than 10 miles away.