One Last Aloha

Ohana at the beautifully majestic Iao Valley Needle.

Written By Lauren & Amanda

On our last day in Hana, we got lunch at the Thai food trucks and met Lipoa at the ‘ili she is working to protect. Lipoa was so generous in sharing her stories with us, and we feel so lucky to have the opportunity to visit such a special place. The next day we stopped at food trucks for lunch and transferred to Waihe’e Refuge, where we met our host Kia’i. We spent our first day with Penny on her taro farm. Though we were introduced to some biting cane spiders, we had an incredible day planting taro, weeding, and clearing plant debris. That night, we played a haunting game of Mafia back at the campsite. We spent the next day with Pat Simmons at his taro farm in Hana, where we got deep in the mud digging trenches to connect the river to the taro patches. We had an epic mud fight.

Covered in mud after a fun morning of taro with Pat.

We also met Napua that day, who told us about the path she has taken to reclaim land and fight for Hawaiian Sovereignty. We headed over to Paia in the afternoon for our favorite flatbread pizza and artisan ice cream sundaes. Sunday morning we hiked the beautiful Waihe’e Ridge Trail and then went into Wailuku for some delicious açaí bowls.

Beautiful sunrise views from the river at Waihe’e Refuge.
Lauren and Amanda laughing while looking back at Natalie hiking the Waihe’e Ridge Trail.

We did a ramen themed escape room and then met Leah, one of the interns at our organic farm placement, for a lovely sunset yoga class. The next day we stopped in Wailuku for coffee and to charge our devices, and then headed over to the breathtakingly beautiful Iao Valley. We walked up to see the needle and then went swimming back at the spot Ua had shown us.

Swimming in the river at Iao Valley.

At night we went out for sushi, and Jane was welcomed back with a cane spider and it’s sack in her tent. Tuesday we met Shelby at Kahana Beach Park for our first day with the Pacific Whale Foundation. We picked up trash on the beach and then went back to Ma’alea to learn about whales. And of course we couldn’t go to Ma’alea without stopping at our favorite Hula Cookie and ice cream shop. The next day we accidentally went to the wrong beach at first, but we eventually met up with Caitlin at Haycraft Beach. We picked up more trash and then learned about plankton and sand back at Ma’alea Harbor. And how could we not stop at the delicious Hula Cookies again! That night we got flatbread from Paia again, which we ate during our life changing session with Summer Starr. We were so inspired by her perspective on the patriarchy, gaslighting, and colonization.

Thursday morning we packed away our camping gear and transferred to the Sacred Garden of Maliko Retreat Center, where we were welcomed by the comforts of the indoors. On the way we stopped at our favorite food trucks in Kahului, where we got lemonade, coffee, and the iconic Earth Aloha Eats. At night we had many laughs during a game of telephone pictionary. Danielle, our yoga teacher, assigned an element to each day so we started with fire on Friday morning. Each day began with a meditation that started at 15 minutes and by our last day we were up to an hour. After each meditation we participated in an asana practice or the poses of yoga. Later we transitioned into the house for some pranayama or breathing exercises and a lesson in ayurveda. We had the afternoons free so on our first day we visited the town of Paia for some shopping. Each night we met again for a meditation and on Friday for fire day we threw notes into a campfire and shared some journal prompts. Saturday’s element was earth and that morning we took a quiz to find out which dosha we were according to ayurveda. That afternoon we went to a very windy beach in Paia before giving up and going to get pedicures and shave ice. At night we met Eve the owner of the retreat center and she took us on a labyrinth walk. Sunday’s elements were air and ether and we participated in a day of silence. Some of us did very well but a few of us had a hard time not interacting and ended up playing spoons on the loft. At night with Danielle we meditated and made vision boards all in silence as well. Monday was our last day working with Danielle and water was the element of the day. To honor the element of water we opted for a beach day in Kihei where we swam in the ocean for the last time. Before returning to the Sacred Garden we stopped at food trucks for our last of many Thai food meals. Back at the retreat we met Danielle for our final hour long meditation. Everyone made it through although a few of us may have fallen asleep. We followed it with a laughing circle where Genevieve’s wonderful laughs kept us all going to the point where we couldn’t stop for the rest of the night. Tuesday was our last full day together so we went to visit our farm family one last time so see Evan, Bija, and Señor. We also got to say goodbye to the interns including Leah who spent the retreat with us as well. We ordered takeout for our last dinner and went to a park to watch our last sunset. Dinner was followed by a beautiful closing circle where we got to watch the awesome video Peter made for us and enjoy some mochi to stop the tears.