Monday, June 3, 2013

Northern Maui Adventure

All great photographers have fascination with adventure. Street photographers explore cities in search of documenting life as it happens. Landscape photographers travel the world in search of unique angles and locations. Wildlife photographers use their animal instincts to capture dangerous species in their natural habitats. Without their desire for adventure a photographer is crippled.

Taking the easy and safe road is a desirable one for most but everyone has a youthful instinct for adventure that we eventually lose over time. Like learning to play a musical instrument, an individual's drive for adventure takes dedicated practice. With regular training ones skill for adventure becomes heightened; you learn to know when to take the appropriate risks and your instincts for impending danger becomes heightened so that it can be avoided. But the most disarming thing of any great adventure is a persons initial un-easyness of the unknown. We're often scared of getting hurt, lost or distressed and when we start to dwell too much into the intangibles we start to think that maybe this was not a good idea.

Everyone feels this fear but we must force ourselves outside of our comfort zone in order to experience something truly magical. On our recent trip to Maui we experienced just that. While trying to get back to the West side of the Northern tip of the island from the Iao Valley we decided to punch in the coordinates of D.T. Fleming Beach Park. The GPS prescribed a different route then the way we came and I was initially unsure about it. I read that there were roads along the North tip that car rental companies won't allow you to travel. I heard that if you took this said road and your car broke down that you would have to wait hours for help. I was told that the road around the Northern tip was not developed for vehicular travel and that it was extremely dangerous. This was the turning point; do I turn the Jeep around and find the multi-lane highway back the way we came or do I point the steering wheel in the direction I was told never to go. My nerves were jittery at first. My grip on the wheel was tight. Sweat formed on my brow but with an uneasy chuckle I resolved that we keep on and see where this road will take us.

The road quickly tightened on our wheels and the rugged terrain engulfed us into a landscape that was breath-takingly beautiful but obviously unforgiving. On the driver side was a jagged volcanic rock face and on the passenger side was a sheer drop down to the rugged shore; a safety barrier was deemed not important by the civil engineers who created this road. Two way traffic was constricted to a single lane and allowing for a vehicle to pass had to be choreographed like a grand waltz or else both vehicles will be left in peril. The first few hairpins were terrifying but soon I was loosening my grip on the wheel and releasing the tension in my jaw. I was quickly starting to enjoy this road and was taking in the striking vistas as we continued on, stopping when safe every now and again so I can take a quick photo or hike down from the road to get a better view of the waves breaking on the shore.

I wouldn't have known what I would have missed should I have decided to turn the car around. We still would have eventually arrived to our destination of D.T. Fleming Beach, which in itself was sublime but it's always said that it's not the destination but the journey that is more preserved. The experience was truly amazing and now stands as one of the greatest travel memories I have ever had and one of the most incredible drives I have had the pleasure of navigating. So just remember, when you feel the butterflies in your gut and your mind tells you to think again, follow your heart and let your instincts take over so you don't miss out on a great experience.

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