There are a lot of options when it comes to Hawaii sightseeing. One attraction which is unique to anything I’ve done before, though, is the ride and shoot program with Lanai Grand Adventures. It was like driving through the Wild West on a golf cart on steroids in the heart of a tropical island, all with the intention of doing some target shooting at the end. My target? Well, that was a pineapple that had another thing coming.
More on that in a second.
Shortly after the Lodge at Koele courtesy shuttle dropped me off at the nearby Stables at Koele, I was out on a muddy trail in a UTV. What’s a UTV? Remember the golf cart on steroids? Yeah. That’s it, an off-road golf cart. And I zipped along on it with a guide, bouncing and skidding along on the muddy trails which used to be roads for the Dole Pineapple Plantation that once occupied much of the island of Lanai.
Dirt and mud kicked up into my face from the UTV. I wanted to laugh, even let out a cheer, but I dare not open my mouth. Not with all of the mud. But that’s what made it so much fun, the dirt and grit flying all over the place. It was fantastic, something which I never imagined I’d be doing on a trip to Hawaii.
Remnants of plastic used in the cultivation in the pineapple from the plantation days – too much to clean up – still litters the ground. It is a reminder of when Dole owned much of the island and grew pineapple, long before Oracle’s Larry Ellison bought 98% of it almost a year ago. Now the old pineapple lands are open, roads cutting through them used by locals and tourists alike.
After nearly 30 minutes of rumbling over the old dirt roads, the guide and I finally arrived at our destination – the shooting range. I had an option to shoot sport clays, which another group was on hand to do, or go back to my youth – back to the days when my occasional babysitter was a few bucks and an archery range while my parents worked at the Minnesota Renaissance Festival – and opt for the bow and arrow.
I had nothing against little clay pigeons – or other fake animals, for that matter – so I opted for the archery range. Besides, the pineapple on the target looked oh so smug hanging there, daring me to shoot it. And shoot it I did, repeatedly. Again and again I filled the pineapple full of arrows, only occasionally missing the target altogether. It was a blast, as much fun as the ride up, since it reminded me of those days long since gone.
Finally, at a point – no pun intended – I was told if I put two arrows into the target I would win a prize. What’s the prize? Can’t tell ya. Um. Okay. I pulled back and loosed, pulled and loosed. I’d get one arrow deep inside the pineapple, but always missed the second once the pressure was on.
Normally the crystal pineapple goes to the winner of a group, like it would with those who were doing the clay shooting. But as I was on my own, part of a Lanai Visitor Bureau trip, I only had to hit a certain mark. I did it, too, repeatedly, at least before the pressure was on. So, yeah, I choked. I’ll admit it. But because I had done so well each time before, even on my first try, sticking at least two arrows inside the pineapple, my guide took some mercy on me and offered me the big prize anyway. And so I left, crystal pineapple in hand, and lips pressed tightly in a smile, allowing no mud in as I hummed with pleasure on the UTV ride back down to the stables and, later, a shower back at the Lodge.