|Oheo Gulch waterfalls|
Hawaii- everybody's dream destination ... huh? Yeah, it was for me too ... Tropical Paradise they say ... I was fascinated, mesmerized, speechless by the live volcanoes and the landscapes created by this fury of nature! These islands away from the mainland have very interesting weather, their eastern coasts get rainfall almost throughout the year and western coast is hot at the same time! Well, my first stop was Maui, rated best in the islands to visit the most beautiful volcanic beauty! Well, I took an accommodation in Kihei with the view of Charlie Young Beach.
|Pools of Oheo|
Haleakala National Park, which houses the highest peak Haleakala Volcano (10,023ft) on the island, which errupted last in 1600AD. Haleakala means house of sun in Hawaiian. The legend says that the demigod Maui imprisoned Sun here to lengthen the day! The park is divided into two parts based on the landscape- a volcanic crater and the lush coast. Both have different climatic conditions anyway :) Most popular, most beautiful and most unique is the Haleakala crater. It is huge, 7 miles across and 2600ft deep studded with numerous cinder cones within. It seems on clear days it looks like the landscape from moon! The Kipahulu coast is different all together. Lush forests with streams, waterfalls and pools- another beauty to behold. And that is the reason Maui is considered the best of islands. The island has so much to offer- I could easily spend 6 months, everyday discovering something new which is mesmerizingly wonderful! Hikes, sports, unique flora and fauna, history and the finest observatories to name few.
First thing, I wanted to explore the green heart of the island. I went driving on the most popular winding Hana Highway. A narrow road through lush rain-forests, roaring waterfalls and swollen streams. Though driving on a narrow road with hairpin turns is tedious people can enjoy the incredible island views and dramatic seascapes. My destination was the mesmerizing Haleakala National Park's Kipahulu coastal area, 10 miles from Hana. I went on a hike Pipiwai Trail to the 400ft high Waimoku Falls on the lower slopes of Haleakala volcano. But, more than the Waimoku falls I enjoyed the other unnamed waterfalls and beautiful pools on the way.
Pics: Trail through bamboo forest, Makahiku waterfalls, Waimoku waterfalls.
It rained all the time leaving almost no opportunity for photography! I saved myself and my camera gear with a poncho. When the rain subdued mosquitoes from bamboo forests took the charge. Well, when I almost reached the destination there was a considerably swollen stream on the way. Slippery rocks, rushing water got me down twice, fortunately my camera gear still remained dry. Couldn't even be there for long due to rain. Retraced my footsteps ... Then went up on another short hike to see the Pools of Oheo. Flowing out of the lush forests the stream that feeds these pools empties into the ocean.
It was time for the Haleakala Volcano, the highest point on the island. This part of the park could be reached by Hawaii State Road 378. My expectations were high! I didn't sleep whole night thinking about early morning drive up the winding road just to witness the specatcular, enchanting and popular sunrise over the vast volcanic crater. Well, I was there in time but, the whole landscape was covered with thick blanket of fog. Leave alone the sunrise, I couldn't see the sun for all most whole day. I wanted to hike down the crater and wander around to check the cinders. I went down on Sliding Sands trail which almost felt like walking on the clouds! When there was a bit of clearing and no rain I clicked few pictures.
|Ahinahina or Silversword|
I had my point-and-shoot handy while my other photo-gear was safe in the backpack. At times I could see well ahead and at times I couldn't even see the land below my feet. At times it rained like forever! Still, I felt great while my friend was not happy. She wanted to get over with the hike and almost ran ahead of me all the time, she didn't like that rain. Everyone has their own choice :) This is one of the unique landscapes I have ever seen. We went up to Puu o Pele crater before retraced our steps back on the uphill trail.
Ahinahina or Haleakala Silversword is an endangered species of grass only seen in Haleakala. Now, seen sparsely on the slopes of crater. I wished to have a sight of nene, a Hawaiian geese, in their very natural habitat. But, no! The trails down the crater are equestrian and once in a while a group of horse riders could be seen. I saw a horse rider just 4-5ft away in the fog filled landscape which really threw me off, I screamed a loud scaring the horse and its rider!
Pics: Haleakala Crater landscapes
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Related article- Hawaii Attractions.
This post is linked to Our World Tuesday and Nature Notes.
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Scrapbook- A Travel Blog by Kusum Sanu is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.