Saturday, February 19, 2011

Kitty Interlude

Oh my, but it is taking me a long time to recount our Hawaiian adventure.  Feeling a bit overwhelmed by the house (yes, we are still trying to finish the remodel and move in), work, a short trip to Las Vegas for some riding, and these guys.

 They are so dang cute that I don't give a second thought to spending extra time playing and petting and feeding and caring for them.  

They get into everything.  Here they have found the paper recycling bag.
They do everything together.
And spend hours getting into things and roughhousing. 

All that play tires them out!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Hawaii Day 3: The Rest of the Way Around

So the road to Hana is more about the road and the sights along the way than the town of Hana, but still, you have to wonder what Hana is all about. Well, not too much.  There are some houses, some food stands, and a lot of laid back living.  Cute little town wit h a remote and tiny airstrip that Drew drooled over.  At Hana harbor, our book told us we could find a red sand beach.  In my sand collection I have glauconitic greensand (Minnesota), white gypsum sand (New Mexico), white silica sand (Minnesota), yellow silica sand (Minnesota), orange silica sand (Minnesota), red silica sand (Utah), brown Italian sand, green olivine sand (Big Island, Hawaii), black volcanic sand (Big Island, Hawaii), but no red volcanic sand.  We had a goal!

To find the red sand beach described in our guidebook, we were to hike over a landslide along an iffy trail to a point out past Hana Harbor.  By this time, Drew was tiring of my fascination with extraordinary sand, so we stopped at a smaller pocket of red sand. 

We stayed long enough to snap some pictures, bag up a little sand,
and check out the geology of the cliffs.  The point was made by a late stage magma eruption in which the lava comes out with a lot of gasses.  Instead of flowing, the magma shoots out as cinders, ash, and "bombs". Here, it piled up and froze together.  In the picture below you can see a small bomb surrounded by smaller welded particles.  Plastic knife for scale.  The rock and resulting sand are red because of high iron content in the magma, which is oxidizing to rust.
Drew was a trooper while I geeked out on rocks and sand.

We passed through Hana and headed out to more unknown.  Most people drive to Hana and turn back to return the way they came, on pavement.  Not for us!  What are rental Dodge Chargers for if not to beat up on a curvy, mostly 1.5-lane, unpaved, washboardy road connecting settlements 50 miles apart?  The landscape just past Hana was gorgeous, lush, steep, and tropical.   
We sailed past a guidebook "must-see", Seven Sacred Pools National Park. We were waterfalled, beached, and swum out and it was getting late in the day. We accidentally drove past Charles Lindberg's gravesite.  After countless rock stops, we miss one of the only aeronautical stops on our vacations. Drew gets the short end of the stick again.

Last stop for goodies is the Kaupo store.  This place is the definition of eclectic!  Odd antiques, various types of "American" and "native" snacks, and to our delight, one refrigerator stocked with at least 15 types of beer and another with as many types of ice cream treats.  The owner loved to talk to strangers; I guess you would have to with so few other people around.

As we continued on around to the leeward side of the island, the topography opened up and dried out. Maybe it is because of growing up in wide-open spaces, but to me, this was the most beautiful scenery in Maui. Stunning!  I guess it might have had something to do with the very obvious geologic features too.  The big notch in the mountainside here is the Kaupo Gap, an huge canyon carved by erosion that later filled with lava. The crashing ocean waves, the low-angle sun on the deeply incised mountainsides, and the grasses waving in the wind were spectacular.
We stopped briefly to snap a photo of Pokowai sea arch and watch whales spouting off in the distance. 
Continuing on, the land became drier and drier, with only signs of sheep to let you know anyone was around. The road climbs away from the shoreline to a few thousand feet elevation, giving us a grand view of  360-foot high Pu'u Ola'i cinder cone.

 As we climbed higher we entered clouds and farming villages in the town of Kula.  It was nice, but it was late, so we drove on down to Kahului, completing our circumnavigation of southeast Maui.  One of our few dinners out we had at Saeng's Thai restaurant in the town of central-Maui town of Wailuku. Our guidebook said "hot" meant hot. Not so much, but the food was tasty and the beer was moderately cold.

After the drive back to the condo, we soaked in the hot tub before crashing out.  All that driving made us two tired cookies.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Hawaii Day 3 - The Road to Hana - halfway

By our third day on Maui, most of the beaches were still closed or at least had very dirty water, so we chose today to drive the Road to Hana.  Hana is a small community on the easternmost point of Maui, accessibly by one very curvy, narrow, paved road with loads of one-lane bridges. 

The destination was not actually Hana, but the sights and smells along the way.  We got an 8 AM start and drove once again by mile after mile of sugar beet fields and the big ugly sugar factory.  

As we traveled farther to the windward side of the island, the vegetation got thicker and thicker.  

Our first excursion was the Four Waterfalls of Na’ili’ili-haele.  We hiked through tunnels in the bamboo forest much more like Costa Rica than anywhere in the U.S.  

The trail was unmarked and had several spurs leading off into the shadowy bamboo. Our sense of adventure and the unknown was high!  We lingered at the first waterfall for a few minutes 

before continuing on a relatively wide but very steep trail.   As we continued to claw our way up through the jungle using vines like monkeys, I had a strong feeling that we would soon pop out onto someone’s marijuana field.  Finally, the trail got so steep, narrow, and overgrown, we decided we must have taken a wrong turn. Back to the waterfall to discover a steep rock wall we had to scale using a rotten rope to pull ourselves up.  From there, the trail was flat and easy to the next waterfall.

To see all Four Waterfalls of Na’ili’ili-haele would have required a 100-foot swim holding our bags above our heads and climbing ladders in the jungle.  We stopped at two. There would be more waterfalls along the way.

And indeed there was. Next stop was Lower Puohokamoa Falls for which we had only to walk a couple of hundred yards to see this 200-footer.

By this time we had worked up an appetite, so we headed off on a road spur to Ke’anae peninsula and village to find a fine spot to watch the waves on the rocks while we ate our packed lunch. We ate our turkey sandwiches, pita chips and hummus as we soaked up the sounds, sights, and smells of waves pounding this rocky point. 

Back on the windy narrow Road to Hana

every couple of miles we would come upon another gorgeous waterfall like this one, Hanawi Falls 

and cool Makapipi Falls, where, when we looked down from the bridge, we were looking directly down onto the pour off point. 

We were getting closer to Hana, but first a diversion to one of the only black sand beaches on Maui. 

Unlike the younger, still volcanically active Big Island of Hawaii, Maui’s volcanoes have been dormant long enough that the black sand, which is really just small pieces of lava, has been broken down and washed away.  The exception is this protected cove near one of the youngest lava flows on the island (500 years). Drew innocently noticed one topless sun bather, who does not appear in this photograph.

We swam a little in the warm water and lounged on the hot sand and pebbles.
After collecting a bit of sand for my sand collection, we said farewell to the black sand beach and its little sea arch.

It was getting on in the day, so it was time for destination Hana.