To Really See It: September 2016

THIS TRIP. This trip was its own category of ridonkulousness. It was a great reminder to me that travel can be both a) crazy frustrating & b) incredibly fulfilling.

We’d been excited about this adventure for months, knowing both the couples we’d photograph on Maui had planned the most intimate, personal celebrations. 

We got to Columbus airport around 7am, checked in our masssssive backpacks (when security pulled us aside to go through them – most likely because of our tent poles – I thought Reese might cry. He’d taken so long to pack everything just so) and boarded our first flight to Chicago. Smooth sailing. Easy peasy. I hardly noticed the little-teeny-tiny-nothing-to-worry-about-scratch in my throat.

By the time we landed in Kahului 30 million hours later, I felt like my body was dying (I know I’m being dramatic, but this wasn’t my first time getting sick while lugging around a 30+ pound backpack. All backpacks of the world must be plotting against me).

We’d planned to camp the entire trip but I was so sick we had to check into a hotel. I ended up sleeping for the next 3 straight days, only waking to drink the juice and eat the hot meals my awesome husband brought me. We were in Maui and I was holed up in the cheapest seaside motel we could find, blinds drawn, wrapped in all the blankets available & taking NyQuil by the box. Say it with me: PARADISE.

During this time Reese spent every minute outside trying to avoid catching the plague. Here’s some shots he took at Iao Valley – it was pouring & the waterfalls were going off. I found a video of him running around the valley by himself with his shirt off and fishing-hat-thing on, looking like some sort of crazed Amazonian man and I fell in love with him all over again. 

The 72 hours of sleep miraculously healed me by Amy & Dan’s wedding – after that we were able to get back to our plans of camping on Mount Haleakala.

I don’t have much to say about camping on a volcano above the clouds except it was one of our most favorite things we’ve ever done. And worth every second of junk we navigated to get there – I think there’s a life lesson in there somewhere 🙂 

We spent most nights at the campsite bundled in our sleeping bags reading Harry Potter And the Chamber of Secrets to each other by headlamp (if you’d ever thought we were cool, you may now replace cool with nerdy).

One morning we woke at 5:30, quietly slipped out of our tent and drove to the summit where we stood in stillness with a hundred or so other people in the freezing cold. There’s this unspoken sacredness about the whole experience. Right before the sun came up, a local strummed his uke and sang Hawaiian songs – the chords seemed to float out & envelop the abyss. Then the sun broke through the clouds and all I could think was, “Thank you, thank you, thank you.”

I shared this photo on Instagram & a friend texted me: “That picture with the couple watching sunrise… it takes me back to the night I knew Jeremy & I were something good.. Literally hiked up a mountain & lost track of time talking & stayed there till sunrise.” I loved that thought. To all the couples out there in love with mountains & each other: you are something good.

This was the view behind us – the moon was still out & that triangular peak is the mountain’s shadow. 

We ended up hiking the 12 miles through the center of the volcano – this wasn’t part of the plan, we just started walking the trail after sunrise armed with water & Clif bars, “just in case.” Completely entranced by the beauty – the whole place looked like Mars – we realized we were almost halfway and that it would take just as much energy to go back up the way we came as it would to forge ahead and finish the trail. So we decided to push on instead of turning around – I think there’s another life lesson in there 🙂

The day before Ashley & Alex’s wedding we tackled Road to Hana. Because, how can you stay on Maui for 10 days & not? 

Our honest opinion was that it felt too touristy to us. Lush & dreamy, yes, and don’t get me wrong, we’re grateful we got to see it!! But if you’re like us and crave the untouched, keep driving. Drive until you hit Kaupo then keep going – you’ll find insane waterfalls and waaaay less traffic. Which probably has to do with the crappy dirt roads that make up the south side of the island. But you’ll see a side of Maui that isn’t commercialized & so vastly beautiful you’ll want to gouge your eyeballs out (think waterfalls spilling out the sides of cliffs and into the ocean enclosed by black sand beaches): sososo worth it. 

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