Don’t Look Down!

Kapalua's Mountain Outpost takes adventure to new--gulp!--heights.

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Matthew Thayer

kapalua maui ropes courseHeart pounding and palms sweating, I climbed to balance alone atop a thirty-two-foot-tall telephone pole. My only lifeline was a single rope secured to a harness at the middle of my back as I stood on the ten-inch-diameter pole and took aim at a trapeze hanging seven feet away.

The Kapalua Adventures activity called Leap of Faith is aptly named. It takes faith in yourself, the equipment and the guide to leap off that pole when there’s nothing but the ground below. No nets, no pond. Just dirt—and the upturned faces of your expectant family and new friends. I’ve learned not to hesitate in these situations. Each second to think makes it that much harder. I gathered myself to jump, then stopped to rebalance. Gulp. “These guys must know what they are doing,” I thought as I flung myself into the mountain air.

In the 1970s and ’80s, Kapalua was known worldwide as a place where well-heeled clientele landed in search of quiet relaxation. Paradise was poolside mai tais, and lying in the coco-buttered sun until your tan sizzled to perfection. If you had suggested back then that guests strap on a harness, climb to the top of a tall pole and leap off, they would probably have given you the same look as if you had asked them to hold a live chicken on their lap while dining on chateaubriand at the Bay Club.

How times have changed. Many guests now arrive looking for thrills. They long to explore, to get off the beaten path and experience Maui’s hidden spots. High in the meadows and forest above Kapalua is the seaside resort’s answer to this relatively recent travel phenomena.


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