Archive for the ‘Maui’ 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

Hawaii’s Botanical Gardens   6 comments

The Na’Aina Kai Botanical Garden is what I wanted to see: exotic plants, manicured gardens, statuary and lovely vistas around every corner.

When we first went to Hawaii, I didn’t really know what to expect.  I mean, I had seen Hawaii Five-O (and played that wonderful theme song, like every high school band in the ’70s).  I’d even seen surfing contests on ABC’s Wide World of Sports, back when that was the only Saturday afternoon escape available for a nascent sports junkie.

But what was Hawaii really like?  I mean, a tropical paradise?  That’s what I saw when I watched South Pacific (and in spite of a spirited discussion we had one night with the family, that is a GREAT musical … but a dated & lousy film at this point!).

Given our love of photography and, uh, pretty things, Velda and I have visited several gardens in Hawaii.  Here is our ranking and recommendation for your visit to Hawaii:

1. Kauai – Na ‘Aina Kai Botanical Gardens

This is what I think a wonderful botanical garden should be.  It’s probably too big:  we did a guided tour that was about 2 hours long, and I don’t think we saw 30%, and I know we didn’t enjoy fully most of what we did see.

This garden has it all:  it’s got a huge variety of plants.  It’s got waterfalls.  It’s got statuary.  It’s a working hardwood plantation.  It’s pretty.  Gorgeous, really.  I recommend it without reservation — which you will need when you visit.

The Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden has a dizzying array of exotics, such as these Rose Grapes from the Philippines.

2. Hawaii (Big Island) – Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden

This garden is truly a tropical paradise.  You follow a creek through a meandering path with little grottoes liberally sprinkled around the path with exotic flowers and plants everywhere you look.  The path goes all the way to the ocean.  The views are gorgeous.  Do not miss this garden.

3. Maui – Garden of Eden Arboretum & Botanical Garden

Worth the price of admission, but not an essential part of going on the Road to Hana.  Pretty plants, wonderful paths to wander around.  See some pictures, below.

4. Hawaii (Big Island)World Botanical Garden & Waterfalls

This 3-tier waterfall is unusual for 2 reasons: it’s a 3-tier waterfall, and it can only be seen after you pay the admission to enter the World Botanical Garden.

I wrote about this garden previously, in 30: Hawaii.  As I said there, this is the least appealing garden we have visited.  Not all bad, but probably not worth the price of admission.

National Tropical Garden

5. Kauai – National Tropical Botanical Garden

There are 3 sites for the NTBG on Kauai:

South Shore – McBryde Garden
South Shore – Alerton Garden
North Shore – Limahuli Garden and Preserve

We visited the office on the South Shore without knowing what we were walking into, and decided that we didn’t have the time to spend on what seemed like an expensive guided tour.  We passed, and haven’t found time to go back.  I’m sure we will … but for now, I’ll simply state that their tours seemed expensive and their marketing hasn’t been persuasive.  We did spend an hour or so in their free access public area around the office, and that was, uh, worth what we paid for it.

The paths through the Garden of Eden are cinder-lined, which means they are not treacherous when wet; it does rain frequently here!

Norfolk Island Pine trees were planted by sailing ship captains who prized them for their long, straight trunks, and needed a ready supply of replacement masts when they stopped at the Sandwich Islands, as Hawaii was known in the 19th century.

Variegated Ginger

Rainbow Eucalyptus tree

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!

Maui: The Bee, part II   Leave a comment

Posted October 9, 2012 by henrymowry in Hawaii, Photography

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Maui: Haleakala Crater   3 comments

The crater of Haleakala — you can go camping there if you like. The cinder cone on the left is called Kamoali’i; on the right is Ka Lu’u o Ka ‘O’o (Plunge of the digging stick).

Posted October 8, 2012 by henrymowry in Hawaii, Photography

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Maui: Funny or Pretty?   Leave a comment

Pineapple Ginger, from New Guinea

Posted October 7, 2012 by henrymowry in Hawaii, Photography

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Maui: The Bee, part I   Leave a comment

Posted October 6, 2012 by henrymowry in Hawaii, Photography

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Maui: Wild Bananas   Leave a comment

Posted October 4, 2012 by henrymowry in Hawaii, Photography

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The Banana Bread Adventure   Leave a comment

As I’ve previously stated, you should plan on doing five things when you visit Maui.  Read about that idea as I describe the Haleakala Adventure.

This is one of a series of guidebooks that I highly recommend to anyone planning a trip to Hawaii. Andrew Doughty has a book about each of the islands, and he’s an entertaining read as well as an informative one. You need these books. About $15 on Amazon.

Another grand adventure was the search for the World’s Best Banana Bread.  It’s promoted as such in the Maui Revealed guidebook, and the baker has created a small local business (which her niece has put on the internet!) based on that recommendation.  Read about it on Yelp.  World’s Best Banana Bread?  Best I’ve ever had (and Velda even agrees!).

You can debate about why it’s so good on the drive back.  Personally, I think it’s the bananas; I had not had “apple bananas” before this trip to Maui.  Is that what Julia uses?  No clue.  Good news:  you can debate this all the way home.

And then you can talk about the wonderful scenery you see on the journey!

Olivine Pools is a great place to bath when the tide is right. Hope you brought your suit on the drive!

We were staying at the Westin resort on the Ka’anapali Beach, near Lahaina on the west shore.  The drive to Kahakuloa is not as long, nor as difficult, as the Road to Hana, but it is a somewhat challenging drive, nonetheless.  We chose to have a leisurely lunch in Kahana, and then proceed on the drive to Julia’s.

On the way was the location that’s christened the “Olivine Pools” by Andrew Doughty; that is pictured at left.  Double click the picture (and any of the pictures in my blog) to expand it to full size.

Back on the road, you’ll eventually see signs directing you to Julia’s that freely promote her status as the maker of the World’s Best Banana Bread.  The signs even show the Doughty book cover and cites the reference as page 62!

When you arrive in Kahakuloa, you’ll see a lovely, rustic valley with a bright green shack on the opposite hill.  That’s Julia’s.  Drive through town (avoiding or supporting the other vendors as you choose).

The drive itself is largely a two-lane road.  However, the last few miles do have a number of one lane bridges and narrow one lane passages around the bluffs that face the sea.  Well worth an afternoon’s leisurely drive!  Sit back, relax, and see the beauty around you.

Best Banana Bread!

Here’s a shot of Kahakuloa, with Julia’s green shack in the background.  When you get there, you can also buy coconut candy and taro chips, which are great. The banana bread, with the homemade butter, is simply heavenly. Buy one loaf to eat and one for tomorrow, and …

These lovely flowers were growing on a tree not far from Julia’s shack. Don’t know what kind of tree this is … please tell me if you do!

Mushroom Rock is another of the sights you’ll see if you — or better yet, your passengers! — keep your eyes peeled.

The road is not too narrow, and shouldn’t cause you any serious concerns. Take it slow and enjoy your day … and you’ll have wonderful banana bread to celebrate!

The Perfect Sunset   14 comments

In yesterday’s post, I talked about things you must do when visiting Maui.  Implicit in any itinerary is the search for the Perfect Sunset.

OK, not the perfect sunset, but definitely my best afternoon, under the umbrella reading on Ka’anapali Beach.

These young ladies were having a lot more fun than I sharing the sunset … immediately! The wonders of WiFi on the beach, creating instant jealousy among the friends back home.

Perhaps not the Perfect Sunset, but I’ll take it any day. Ka’anapali Beach, Maui.

Cue the sailboat….

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