Anna-Lisa and I spent eleven days in Maui with my Dad and his girlfriend Susan at the beginning of November. It made for a relaxing reprieve and a nice way to mix things up after spending all summer hiking peaks and running trails in Colorado. Truth be told we spent most of our days playing tourist on the beach, kayaking, snorkeling, scuba diving, and indulging in local fare. But on a couple of days we decided to head inland to explore a few trails, as well as Maui’s prominent mountain volcano, Haleakala.
The first of such days involved the adventurous drive from the resort laden beaches of Kaanapali to the town of Hana on the opposite side of the island. The long, windy, and incredibly scenic road (known simply as “The Road to Hana”) was recommended to us by several people in the form of “you have to do it once and then will never want to do again”. In hindsight I guess that sounds about right. We were blessed with a pretty uneventful drive which allowed us to take our time and enjoy the scenery. But I can imagine with lots of traffic and/or weather, the road to Hana could turn into a nightmare quickly.
From Hana we continued south into Haleakala National Park and hiked the 4 mile Pipiwai Trail to Waimoku Falls – a beautiful and unique trail that parallels a deep gorge, heads through a bamboo forest, and ends at a 400 ft waterfall. We also stopped to visit the Sacred Pools, a solid Hawaiin BBQ joint, and several scenic waterfalls along the evening drive back to Kaanapali. Some photos do a good job of telling he rest of the story:
A few days later we (including my Dad) decided to check out Haleakala, Maui’s 10,023 ft shield volcano which also happens to be the 10th most prominent peak in the US. Experiencing Haleakala can be done in a number of ways, the most popular of which is to drive to the top and watch a sunset or sunrise over the Pacific Ocean. For us, parking a few thousand feet below the summit and hiking to the top seemed like a good idea instead.
The interior of the nearly 7 mile wide crater is home to a fairly extensive trail system that connects both the Kuapo and Ko’olau Gaps to the main summit. We linked up a few trails through the crater and eventually hit the Sliding Sands Trail, which ascends to the summit. What really struck me was the uniqueness of the landscape, being several thousand feet above the Pacific Ocean inside of a big volcanic shield crater. Quite the difference from hiking peaks in Colorado.
After spending some time on top, we ran into our Ukrainian friends whom we had met a few days earlier on the Pipiwai Trail. They graciously offered to drive the three of us back down to the Halemau’u Trailhead, and from there we descended through a thick fog which had enshrouded the lower-mountain.