A Few Shots from Maui

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Sunset over Lenai, seen from Kaanapali Beach, Maui.

Sunset over Lenai, seen from Kaanapali Beach, Maui.

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:

Banyan Tree on the Pipiwai Trail.

One of the prominent landmarks along the Pipiwai Trail is this large Banyan Tree. Branches propagate out from the main trunk, eventually burrowing into the ground to form subsequent trunks and then more branches.

Bamboo forest boardwalk. It continues along like this for over a quarter mile.

Bamboo forest boardwalk. It continues along like this for over a quarter mile.

I enjoyed simply checking out the flora in the area, after being so used to pine, conifer, and willows.

I enjoyed simply checking out the differing flora in the area, being so used to pine, conifer, and willows.

The falls, which are said to be 400 ft tall.

Waimoku Falls.

Braddah Hutts BBQ stand - a must-try or Hawaiin BBQ fans.

Braddah Hutts BBQ stand in Hana – a must-try for Hawaiin BBQ fans (or just BBQ fans).

Waikani Falls, seen along the Hana Highway.

Waikani Falls, one of many stops we made along the Hana Highway.

And lastly, Twin Falls near

And lastly, Twin Falls near the Makawao Forest Reserve.

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.

Descent into crater

Starting off from the Halemau’u Trailhead at 8,000 ft. Before we could go up we had to go down though…

Descent into the crater

After a mile the trail drops 1,000 ft of elevation down into the crater proper (that’s Anna-Lisa and my Dad on one of the many switchbacks).

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.


Looking north at the Ko’olau Gap, a large break in the crater rim where lava flowed down to the ocean fifty thousand years ago.


The word Haleaka translates to “House of the Sun”, which seemed appropriate as temperatures soared on us once in the crater.


Haleakala “Silversword”, a threatened species of plant that only resides on Haleakala above 7,000 ft.

Dark remnants of volcanic lava flows at the bottom of the crater.

Dark remnants of volcanic lava flows at the bottom of the crater.


On the Sliding Sands Trail looking back down into the massive crater. We hiked up from the low-point in the distance on the left.


On Haleakala’s summit and the end of a 10.5 mile, 4,100 ft ascent.

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.


Fog on the Haleakala road.


Back to the other side of the island for dinner at Pacifico in Lahaina.

A parting shot. Until next time, Hawaii.

And a parting shot. Until next time, Hawaii.

6 thoughts on “A Few Shots from Maui

    1. Ben Post author

      Yeah I love that place! Would like to get back to Kauai someday. Hope you guys had a blast when you were there 🙂

  1. Derek

    Hey Ben-

    The best way to make the most of the Road to Hana experience is to stay there for a night. Driving to and back, especially from some the western resort towns like Lahaina, in a single day is exhausting. Twice I’ve car camped on the ocean cliffs in that National Park at the Seven Sacred pools and that experience has been the best part of the Road to Hana. It also gives you two full days to take in all the different aspects of the “journey” and not just the “destination (or lack thereof)”

    1. Ben Post author

      Hey Derek, I don’t doubt it! Unfortunately we were only able to make a day trip out of it. Because we went during the week and left early, it wasn’t TOO tiring getting there and back in a day. But I hear ya, still wound up being around 8 or 9 hours of driving.

  2. Brian

    Colonol – just re-read this after Rebecca and my trip. Funny how similar our trips were. Only difference is you guys braved those GOBAR waterfalls along Road to Hana. Rebecca and I breezed through most of them, and even when we did stop, we couldn’t physically get out of the car. Braddah Huts might’ve been the best BBQ I’ve ever had. I know I have a reputation for speaking in absolutes, but it was surely a unique take on the standard American fare we’re used to.

    That Halemau’u trail looks cool, albeit insta-melanoma. I hope you had your 1000 SPF on that day.

    One of these days I’ll write up a supplement to this with more extensive reporting on Hana since we spent a couple days there. Amazing place to visit – but I don’t think I could ever live there. Just seems like a classic trouble in paradise type scenario.

    Thanks for the report!

    1. Ben Post author

      Sounds like you guys had a great honeymoon! My only regret from this trip is not spending more time (at least one or two nights) in Hana like you guys did. Maybe we will next time if we ever go back. I think Kauai is calling my name again whenever we get around to another domestic tropical vacation. And yes you should throw a report together now that you’ve got a place of your own to write from…

      Haleakala was damn hot and I applied sunscreen probably 4 times and still got burned. I’m surprised TJ put up with all that nonsense. I did warn him though.

      P.S. Will you drink a Big Swell ever again?


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