Monday, Aug. 15, 2022 |
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After hopping on a flight after work in Lihu‘e, we touched down a couple hours later in Kahului with a few full days in store for us on the Valley Isle.
This being our first trip to Maui, we wanted to get a taste of everything we could in our limited time. So we started by taking that plan literally and headed to Moose McGillycuddy’s in Lahaina for a killer pau hana.
After many laughs and cocktails, my girlfriend Shelly and I strolled down the crowded Front Street and breathed in the balmy evening air. The scene stood in stark contrast to the quiet night life of Kaua‘i.
The next morning, we set off on a multi-stop loop around the western side of the island. Winding up around Honoapiilani Highway, we swung by Honolua Bay with its azure waters but it was the drive itself that became that day’s adventure.
Kahekili Highway traverses west Maui’s rugged north shore, offering jaw-dropping views and heart-stopping turns — especially as the alleged two-lane road narrows and you have to decide how an oncoming truck is going to get around. We hugged the inside curve.
Content with our dash around the western side, we lunched in Kahului, grabbed some camping permits and headed east down the much anticipated Hana Highway.
Traffic crept along at a pace perfect for us to snap photos of the scenic coastline, but I imagine it wears on the local commuters as much as my daily trip through the Kapa‘a-Wailua corridor on Kuhio Highway.
The Valley Isle could easily earn another nickname: Waterfall Isle. We stopped along our route seemingly every few miles to take in towering falls and rushing cascades (see photo below right).
A few short hikes led us to more secluded lagoons, perfect for a late-afternoon snack and a few winks in the shade.
We called Wai‘anapanapa State Park home the next night. Seabirds soared and the surf rolled in to a black sand beach that featured a volcanic coastline, a cave, native hala forest and natural rock formations (see photo below middle).
After kicking off the next morning with a stroll at ‘Ohe‘o Gulch, or Seven Sacred Pools, we hiked a few miles up the lush Pipiwai Trail through groves of banyan trees (see photo below left) and bamboo, ending at the base of 400-foot Waimoku Falls.
We backtracked to Kahului to crash at Kanaha Beach Park, readying ourselves for the climax of our trip — Haleakala National Park.
After getting sidetracked in the fun, quirky town of Pa‘ia, we made our way up the 10,000-foot volcanic peak. Haleakala at sunset (pictured below) was other-worldly. As the National Park Service describes it, the unique place melds geology, geography, biology and culture to form a compelling landscape.
The next morning we rose before dawn from our campsite in the cloudbelt at Hosmer Grove to head up to the summit for sunrise. Apart from tired eyes and freezing feet, the view was a moment we’ll treasure forever. As the sun painted the craters, the endangered silversword (pictured at left) captured the morning light.
Are we ready to move to Maui? Nope. But will we be back soon? Definitely.
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