Waihe’e Ridge Trail run – Maui

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Not being a winter person, I decided after my last winter in Colorado that I need to go somewhere sunny and warm this year.  I know, Colorado is sunny all year and not too cold, so I shouldn’t complain, but I do anyway.  A few days after a backcountry ski trip to a yurt where the temperature dropped to -20 F (Zimms, I’m counting on you to write about that one), I flew to Maui with Toberer and met up with his mother, who was escaping rainy Oregon.  While I was plenty excited to lie on the beach, snorkel, and whale watch, I was also really looking forward to some warm, non-snow-covered trail runs.  So, we headed to the wet side of the island in search of trails, and found the Waihe’e Ridge Trail.

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The run began up a steep private road and then passed through some fields (maybe the first 1.5 mi?) before gaining the ridge.  Once we entered the forested, jungle-y ridge, the trail got very muddy and steep.  Almost un-runnably-muddy and steep, because the two combined together meant every step forward slid half a step back.  From my experience, this is pretty standard for Hawaiian trails anytime of year, and is just part of the fun.  But I did find myself thinking of how similar it felt to running in the ice and snow at home, and wondering if screw shoes would help…

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Despite the slow pace, we made upward progress through several different types of microclimates relatively quickly, through open fields and jungles with roots everywhere and ridgelines, past waterfalls, steep, forested cliffs, eucalyptus groves, and even some evergreen-looking trees.IMG_0542

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In some areas, it wasn’t clear from above that there was even a trail there.

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At one point, we were above the helicopters giving people aerial tours of the valleys below.IMG_0547

As we ran up, the mist moved in, making us glad we had gotten an early start to enjoy the views.  By the time we were back at the car, most everything above us was shrouded in fog, and the rest of the tourists had begun hiking up.  I wonder if they realized what they were missing.IMG_0548

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We looked back down at Maui and the trail below, its sugarcane fields, beaches, and waves far below.

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We hit the top and headed back down the slippery trail.  The way down took almost as long as the way up, and there were a few moments of mud skiing, but no complete falls.  I enviously looked on as a hiker made his way up with trekking poles.  Next time!

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All in all, a perfect way to spend a winter morning.

Strava route here.

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