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Maui: Jogging Route, Part 1

One of my joys when I visit Maui is my morning walk or run. It used to be my morning run but aging knees make it difficult to run every day — so it is now a run or walk depending on how I feel.

When the sun starts to rise and the birds start chirping, I can no longer sleep. So it is time to check the weather to see if I can go — view the clouds above Kapalua — and assess my knees to see how fast I can go. This day was marginal, but I decided to walk and take my small camera — together with a plastic bag just in case the showers came.

I have a favorite route that I have followed for years — John even walked it with me when he and Patty were still on Maui. But after they left, I discovered a new and improved favorite route. I still start out in the same direction — north on the Lower Hono`api`lani Road until I pass Napili Kai Beach Club — but now I cross the public parking lot to Kapalua Beach — my favorite beach on Maui.

Deserted. No one around so early in the morning. Perfect.

By the time I got to the other side of the beach, the sun began to peek through the clouds. Love this view — not just the beach but Moloka`i off in the distance and the old Bay Club Restaurant — which is now Merriman's Kapalua. I remembered dining at Merriman's on the Big Island some years ago. Mental Note: check it out — because the other Merriman's is one of the finest restaurants I have ever dined at.

And a new discovery. I knew that the Kapalua Bay Hotel had been torn down to make room for some very expensive condos but this was my first view of the new Residences. Perhaps you might recall I mentioned these some time ago — where the cheapest condo cost $3,900,000!

I always wonder who could afford such a vacation home — and that thought was running through my mind when I happened to run into an older woman also walking on the new shoreline path (one good thing to come out of this redevelopment). We started talking and it turned out that she had purchased one of the units but she wanted to sell it even before moving in. She said that she did not realize how big this complex was going to be — and she did not like the size.

She had a point. If you're going to lay out the big cash, you would like it to be a bit more exclusive.

Then I found my condo — now where did I leave my checkbook? There are only a couple of units like this one with the overhanging roof and the fantastic views. $40,000,000! At least according to a guy I met who runs the activites booth on the beach.

Glad I forgot where my checkbook was hidden.

Although the first photo of The Residences made it look like a junky construction site, this one shows that they are making good progress toward their grand opening — at least on this side of the project. The construction workers are pushing dirt around in anticipation of the final touches — namely, landscaping.


Continuing on the new shoreline trail, one can see this abandoned building. I don't know what it used to be but apparently, it has become the site for a rite of initiation for local high school students. They have to climb to a particular perch then jump into the ocean before the authorities come to chase them away.

Somehow I expect this to be gone before too much longer.

Oh my goodness — what views can be had here. That's why some folks are willing to pay the big bucks for a condo — and why I love this walking/running route so much.

And here is something new — at least new to me — a path that leads out to the lava outcropping. Signs warn about nesting sea birds. I didn't see them but didn't want to disturb them anyway.

And here is our reward for following this path — scenery like this.

Wow! A new boardwalk to help traverse above Ironwood Beach. This is progress — one can walk or run along here without damaging the fragile vegetation.

And the view from the boardwalk is wonderful. Waves crashing on the rocks on one side.

In the other direction, a surfer getting ready to attack the waves. This is a favorite beach for surfers because some days the waves at this beach are awesome. Today? Just nice. Good for a beginner.

The cliff at the far end is actually the famed hole number five of the Kapalua Bay Course. It is a par three — you have to hit over the ocean — a little cove — to the green. With the usual trade winds, this task is even more daunting than you might think.

Ironwood Beach is actually relatively lightly visited. There is not much parking available so it is splendid if you can find a spot for your car — you just got away from the crowds.

Part of the reason for the sparse attendance is the fact that the Kapalua Ironwood community sits above the beach. This used to be where the rich and famous owned homes. Carol Burnett, Jim Nabors, Tom Selleck. That crowd.

I don't know if any of them still owns a home here now that the rich and famous have even more expensive properties at Kapalua to consider — such as the Kapalua Plantation Estates. The only celebrity that I know of who lives there is golfer Jim Furyk. I'm sure there are others, but they haven't notified me yet.

At this point, the trail heads back up to the lower road. Of course, the Ironwood Estates have wonderful landscaping — I couldn't help myself, I had to shoot this orchid tree. Lovely.

Just a few strides down the road, is the tee box for hole number four of the Bay Course. This one is not that difficult but it sends the chills up your spine knowing that number five is next.

Just across the street is the Kumulani Chapel which is primarily used for weddings. I still remember it when it was painted in the plantation pattern of dark green with white trim. I believe at that point it was a Methodist Church. My understanding is that the organization still functions as a non-denominational church but they hold their Sunday services up the hill at one of the other Kapalua buildings.

Ah, time to breath deeply because it is time to climb up Office Road.

Enough for today — and I'm only half-way through my walking/running route. More next week.

Life is good.

B. David

P. S., All photos and text © B. David Cathell Photography, Inc.