|No sign. An unimpressive start to one of thebest viewpoints ever! Maupiti, French Polynesia.|
|Maupiti’s ~1200 foot Mt. Teurufaatiu viewpoint, even more |
vivid viewed through my Maui Jim sunglasses.
|Maupiti’s ~1200 foot Mt. Teurufaatiu viewpoint in panorama.|
|Maupiti’s ~1200 foot Mt. Teurufaatiu viewpoint.|
Lush jungle-green mountains. A pristine clean town, picturesquely punctuated with a red-steeple church. A veritable giant’s “thumbs up” basalt spire. Waves crashing so violently upon the reef they churn white with spray traveling above their zenith as much as twelve feet. Our narrow entry pass, a skinny path between the reefs, water roiling a mile out*. Motus– sandy little palm-covered islets — fringing the island. And the water… aqua blue stretches dotted with brown coral heads, shallows casting a rosy-periwinkle hue and the sun-dappled deep midnight blue of the South Pacific ocean beyond. A manta ray, its huge charcoal-gray profile clearly visible as it lazily lopes about the pale shallows.
|Ridge view from the first part of our Maupiti bushwhacking.|
Cruiser Oliver of Inspirity and his visiting friend Renee, met climbing up, mentioned rather than doubling back down the trail, were headed over a ridge line trail to the other side of the island. They were good company and the little beach on the other side of the island looked inviting. I asked if I could join them, and they agreed.
|Intrepid and burr-covered Renee early|
into our bushwhacking on Maupiti.
We doubled back many times, with Renee checking trail coordinates on his smart phone and Oliver doing the same on his iPad. We clambered over rocks, wove through trees and dense often brambly vines and bushes. Descending down humus-rich jungle hillsides, it was often difficult to see if our steps were on solid ground, loose rock or crumbling wood. Often the difference between being on the trail and not being on the trail were negligible. Simply put, trail or not, it was at least 85% bushwhacking.
|Oliver approaches one of the few easily walkable parts|
of Maupiti’s “trail” — near its end.
After nearly four hours decent, we headed to the little beach bar Oliver visited before for a well-earned beer and shared bite of poisson cru coco au lait. My legs were wobbly. That’s very, very rare. I even got chafing day pack sores – a first for me on a trail. “This trail is one you take only once,” Oliver concluded.
Wayne and I rented some local once-speed beater-bikes for $10 apiece and rode to the beach bar, “Mimi’s.” The owner promptly returned my camera. Whew! Even though the camera wasn’t that expensive, I bought the camera at a reduced rate as a refurb, it would be difficult to replace en route. Much as I love my Olympus water camera, its zoom is a mere 3x. We were incredibly grateful! We celebrated by sharing a beer Wayne bought, for which he tipped generously.
|Waves as viewed from Mt. Teurufaatiu viewpoint|
the day after we went through Maupiti’s pass.
Before we left Maupiti I returned to the lookout with Wayne. That time we came right back down the way we came up. While I now have a better idea of how to use GPS to track an unmarked trail, if I encounter a trail as that hard to follow as that one was, maybe it’s best left alone.
|Glutton for punishment, GWT returns to Maupiti’s|
Mt. Teurufaatiu viewpoint with Wayne.