The Hawaiian island of Maui- road to Hana
Trip Start Jul 24, 2008
13Trip End Aug 25, 2008
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Maui has often been compared in shape to a turtle, due to it's two mountains, one small (head), one big (body) separated by a plain where the main industry and farming goes on. Both mountains have roads going round them, impassable in places to all but the most determined four wheel drive owner.
This might be the reason for a huge percentage of vehicles on these islands being modified 4 x 4 trucks (utes) (pick-up trucks) with bodies suspended high above huge widely spaced and protruding tires, almost necessitating a ladder to access the cab. It might be the reason, but I doubt that many of them spend much of their lives off road, as most seem to only exist to be seen and admired as macho fashion statements by lesser mortals with lesser vehicles- it just seems to be the fashion
Amazingly, and mostly quite unnecessarily, many of them have 4, 5 and 6 litre petrol engines, as well as many being huge diesels. All of them pretty well useless, inefficient and uneconomical as vehicles unless you have a constant need to tow huge loads off road through rivers, as the high centre of gravity suggests they are a disaster in terms of handling. Providentially, the current fuel crisis is so bad that it's said that even the average American citizen is considering trading the Truck or Hummer for a Toyota, despite the pathetically low taxes in the US on fuel.
These are also fearsome things to meet in your little Japanese compact hire car on a narrow road.
Which all brings me back to the Hana Highway which goes round the north-east side of the bigger 10,000 ft hill, Puu Ulaula (red hill) and as it is known as the worlds most beautiful drive for it's spectacular scenery, we decided to wander round there.
Needless to say it's mostly a winding single track road with passing places and it threads it's way in and out of valleys following the steeply furrowed mountainside, often with huge drops and great views on the sea side
It's also running through rainforest, as this is the windward or wet side of Maui. (we are staying on the opposite leeward side of the mountain, where it hardly ever rains in summer)
Much of the drive is through vast bamboo patches, and it's obvious to even the untrained eye that bamboo is slowly taking over the rainforest.
The photos speak for themselves, but a highlight on this trip were the many waterfalls, but we won't talk about those as they don't compare with most in New Zealand. In fact, it's amazing what a good reputation NZ has when you are in the States, and Hawaii is no exception- everyone raves about their past trip or their proposed trip. You really have to leave the country (but preferably in winter!) to appreciate your home country.
Our favourite on this trip was The Garden of Eden, a 27 acre botanical garden with well laid out trails set in the wonderful scenery beside the Puohokamoa falls. To give you some idea of the scenery here, do you remember the spectacular opening scene in the movie Jurassic Park where the helicopter flew in from the sea and up the wild and rugged Valley? Yup. This was that valley- the one behind Christine in the photo.
As you can see from the photos, this is a really wild coast, pounded by huge swells which have rolled all the way from Alaska.
Let's go to lovely Lahaina on the Easy coast next time.....
Richard and Christine