Archive for the ‘Haleakala National Park’ Tag

Haleakala National Park   2 comments

Haleakala National ParkWhere Is It: Haleakala is on the island of Maui in Hawaii. It’s a five-and-a-half hour plane ride from Los Angeles (2,494 miles), but oh, is it worth it.

The Birth: The word Haleakala is Hawaiian for “house of the sun.” A Hawaiian legend stated that Maui, a demigod, imprisoned the sun in the volcano to lengthen the day. The Haleakala volcano last erupted sometime between 1480 and 1600 AD.

An area including the volcano’s summit down to the southern shore of the Pacific, as well as two volcanoes on the island of Hawaii, was originally created as the Hawaii National Park in 1916. The volcanoes on the island of Hawaii were made into a separate National Park in 1961.

It Happened Here: Bicycling down from the Haleakala summit is a unique way to see the island of Maui. Tour operators used to pick people up at their hotels, deliver them to the summit parking lot in the National Park, and then lead them down the 27-mile, 10,000′ slope to the ocean. After many fatal accidents involving cyclists on the twisting mountain road, in 2007 the Park suspended all bicycle tours within the park boundaries … so now tour operators have to start outside the Park, at 6,500′. Watch out for them as you drive up!

Size: 33,265 acres

# Visitors: 1,094,668 in 2012 – just about half of the visitors attracted in 1999. Visitation is relatively steady month-to-month, but July and August are typically the biggest months, with February and March the smallest. Interestingly, only one in six visitors to Maui also visit the National Park. Most people are making a big mistake!

Plants: Once plants and animals were brought to the Hawaiian island (the most remote island chain on earth), each species had to develop special adaptations in order to survive in their new climate. As a result, many species are unique to the islands, and rare. More endangered species live in Haleakala National Park than in any other National Park in the United States. As people have come to Maui and the National Park, some of these species have suffered. It is said that the silverswords, known to native Hawaiians as ahinahina, used to cover the summit of Haleakala Mountain to a degree that the mountain looked as if it were covered with snow.

Animals: The Hawaiian Petrel, AKA ‘Ua’u, is an endangered species with a large nesting colony atop the Haleakala summit. They are migratory seabirds that fly at night and are believed to navigate by stars. The state bird of Hawaii, the endangered Hawaian Goose, AKA nene, also nests at Haleakala.

Choices: The summit of the volcano is a totally different experience than the lush tropical forest at the shoreline. You’ll need to spend two different days to appreciate the top and bottom of the park: to drive from the summit to the Kipahulu station takes about 6 hours round trip.

Fees: The park is open daily; a 7-day pass is $10. Hold on to your pass; you’ll need to visit the shore and the summit on different days.

Staying There: There are no hotels in the Park. There are three primitive wilderness cabins available through a lottery for rental. To reach the cabins, you must hike at least four miles (Holua) or more (six to Kapalaoa and ten to Paliku). Wilderness camping is also available by permit only, and group sizes are strictly limited. Water may not be available in the crater, and won’t be potable without filtration.

Contact Info:

PO Box 369
Makawao HI 96768
(808) 572-4400

Current Issues: Many native Hawaiians fought the expansion of the observatory complex on the summit of Haleakala, but to no avail. Construction has now begun on a massive, $300 million telescope atop the summit which should be completed by 2020. Construction of the Advanced Technology Solar Telescope began late in 2012 after several years of delays caused by the controversy.

Don’t Miss This: You need to watch the sun come up over the crater, which I photographed in 2010. The link for The Haleakala Adventure is below.

The views for sunset are just as spectacular. It is said that if you see your shadow on the clouds during a sunset, then you will have wonderful luck.


Maui: Haleakala Crater

Maui: The Seven Sacred Pools

The Haleakala Adventure

National Park Service: Haleakala National Park

National Park Service: Kipahulu Coastal Strand Plants

National Park Service: Crater Aeolian Desert Plants

Maui: The Seven Sacred Pools   1 comment

This unique destination was originally called ‘Ohe’o Gulch, but a Hana hotel operator concluded that any name that included “Gulch” might not be a great tourist draw in a tropical paradise … so the “Seven Sacred Pools” were born.  They are a part of the Haleakala National Park … but the summit is 10,023’ above you, and you can’t get there from here.

What you can do is wander around the riverside, watching people break the rules as they scramble across the rocks and  frolic in the sun.

Seven Sacred Pools

Maui: The Road to Hana   2 comments

This is no simple road trip.  But if you are fortunate enough to visit Maui, you need to go on the road to Hana.

A tropical paradise is all around you!

This trip is not about the destination: it’s about the journey.  We’ve been to Hana, and found there really was no there there.  This isn’t about going to Hana … it’s about how beautiful it is to get to Hana.

Your driver will be busy.  There are 57 one-way bridges on the Road to Hana.  The drive is not that difficult, but it does require some road etiquette (let the first one to the bridge go through first) and patience throughout the drive.  Remember a few things:

  1. You are on vacation.
  2. You are not on a schedule.
  3. People want to pass you?  Let them.  More open road for you.  It’s prettier that way.

Gypsy Guide mixed historical trivia with scenic outlook tips and directions.

A great tool that we found for our trip was Gypsy Guide, which provides a purpose-built GPS system that will direct you to the wonderful sights along the road — it even shows you pictures of famous Hawaiians and explains their roles in history during your journey.  Just the thing so I didn’t have to talk to Velda on the road; well worth the nominal cost.  JOKE.  Joking.  I love talking to Velda.  Talk talk talk, that’s me in the car.

The Garden of Eden, currently $10 per person, is a nice diversion.

Picked the unit up in Lahaina at 6:30am; it was a great addition to the trip.  $39 for the day: very cheap for a guided tour.

But back to the road.

We got a recommendation to get on the road early, so we were through Kahului by 8am, and began our day with an early visit to the Garden of Eden Arboretum & Botanical Garden.  You’ve got to admit:  it’s a pretty grand name.  It’s definitely a good side trip:  it was a couple of hours in an interesting garden, but not essential.  Spend your time as you choose (remember, it’s about the journey).

We chose to stop at every waterfall.  Particularly noteworthy were 3 Bears Falls and Wai’anapanapa State Park and its black sand beach.  Don’t miss those!

Once you get past Hana, you can continue to the Seven Sacred Pools, which are a part of Haleakala National Park if you want to see it all … or wander back and see what you missed while you were driving east.

So, the day is yours.  Wander from waterfall to waterfall (see the pictures below), fruit stand to fruit stand (we found Longans, AKA Dragon’s Eye Fruit, for the first time on this trip, and that is no small thing!), Kodak Photo Spot to Kodak Photo Spot (remember those?).

Remember:  it’s about the journey.

It’s a short walk down the path to Ching’s Pond, where we saw some locals “cliff diving” from road level down into the pool about 25′ below. Not for the faint of heart!  Note the guided tour bus … just driving by.  Not the way I would choose to see the sights!

3 Bears Falls, AKA Upper Waikani Falls, is a gorgeous 3-part waterfall in a spendor of ferns and tropical jungle. This picture was simply taken from the road’s shoulder!

This spectacular shot is my favorite shoreline picture I’ve taken in Hawaii … and I’ve practiced extensively on 4 islands!

Wai’anapanapa is the only black sand beach on Maui.

Koki Beach has signage warning of the dangerous offshore currents. Not much danger when you take pictures from terra firma, though!

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