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Maui on my Mind, Part 5

For decades, while visiting Maui, I have turned from Napilihau Street onto Honoapiilani Highway (which incidentally, is really a two-lane road and not what most folks think of as a "highway", so locals tend to call it the "Upper Road") and while waiting for the light to change, have observed a sign advertising horseback riding at Ironwood Ranch. On this visit, I noticed that a housing project was being developed on the mauka side (mountain side) of the Upper Road, and therefore I thought maybe it was time for me to explore and see the Ironwood Ranch for myself. The road to the ranch is about a mile and a half from the Upper Road and goes through that new development, eventually turning into a gravel and dirt road before arriving at the Ranch.

After I parked, I followed the signs to the office. Two young men were just unlocking the door and I asked permission to take photos. They said it was fine but I later discovered they were there to work (cleaning up after the horses) and probably did not have the authority to grant me that permission.

This photo is of a stained glass window over the entrance to the office. Well done.

I later encountered an older man who was either a foreman or the owner and he also said it was fine to take photos. He said the ranch was closed for a few days because of the rain Maui had received the last few days — the trails were slick with mud and they did not want to take chances with inexperienced riders.

So, camera in hand, I explored. Here is a gazebo that I would guess is used as an assembly place for groups of riders prior to hitting the trails.

Nearby, you can hear the sounds of small streams of water dropping from level to level in this lovely fountain.

Further exploration took me to an outhouse — if I were going riding for a couple hours, I would probably appreciate the opportunity to use the outhouse prior to my ride.

And now, to the stables. Here is a handsome white horse. They all seemed rather gentle and not at all concerned as I walked around taking their pictures.

In my mind, they seemed almost anxious to go for a walk (from their point of view). That makes sense since they are used to taking guests along the trails — and because in their wild state, they would be able to roam the plains unencumbered by fences.

This handsome horse seemed to playing close attention to me with his ears perked up and his eyes wide open.

This horse, on the other hand, looked more like he wanted to nap than follow me around.

According to their website, "Ironwood Ranch offers absolutely the best riding horses on Maui. We love and take great care of our horses, and the results are fine riding mounts that are happy to take you there and back! You will be matched with a well-groomed horse, appropriate to your experience, for the ride of your life!"

Also from their website, "You'll love our rides! You'll ride your horse through some of Maui's most scenic and unspoiled territory, seeing the best of Maui in great style — old Maui on horseback!"

By the way, Hawai‘i (including Maui) is home to many fancy chickens (just check out the 4H competition at the Maui County Fair). This rooster is a fine example of them. The horses don't seem to mind.

To be continued...

Life is good.

B. David

P. S., All photos and text © B. David Cathell Photography, Inc. — www.bdavidcathell.com