And last, but not least, flowers and plants from Hawaii:
Row 1: Unknown, unknown, leaf, banana, pomegranate, plumbago, ohia lehua, plumeria, hibiscus
Row 2: Unknown, bougainvillea, plumeria, Tahitian gardenia, ginger, hibiscus, Hawaiian Cotton, rhododendron, agapanthus
Row 3: Green jade, plumeria, leaf, Helconia, unknown, unknown, unknown, hibiscus, hibiscus
Row 4: Torch ginger, spider lily, banana, leaf, hibiscus, unknown, unknown, orchid, plumeria
Row 5: Hibiscus, palm seeds, ixora, morning glory, plumbago, ginger, unknown, repeat unknown, repeat unknown
This particular day on Maui was our day to drive the Hana Highway. This is the road that encircles Haleakala, though the true “Road to Hana” is only the drive to the town of Hana, which is roughly halfway around the volcano. Anyone that’s driving usually doesn’t do the complete circle around the back side of the mountain.
The road is a rather mythic, barely two lane road through rain forests, perched on cliff-edge, and with many, many switchbacks that fold into one lane bridges over myriad waterfalls. Our average speed for the trip (despite a good chunk of 45 mph driving at the beginning and end of the day), was 18 mph. True to the rain forest label, it rained for most of our drive through the actual north coast, and only really cleared up for good when we got to Hana.
The above three photos are of Wai’anapanapa State Park. The park is Hana, and has a great picnic area where we had lunch. (We’d stopped in Pa’ia and picked up a picnic lunch, complete with cooler bag. Definitely a good investment.) There’s a black sand beach, and a really neat lava cave running from that beach to the ocean.
The other place we stopped in Hana was the Kahanu Gardens, an ethnobotanical garden that’s part of the National Tropical Botanical Garden system. This particular garden focuses on the plants that the native Hawaiians used, be they native to the islands, or introduced by the Polynesians. It’s an interesting place to wander through if you’re into that kind of thing.
The other really neat part of this park is the Pi’ilanihale Heiau, a three acre stone compound built in the 14th century. It seems to be a combination of royal palace and temple, due to the reverence the site is held in. You can’t climb the heiau, but it towers over the gardens, and lends a certain special sense of presence to the area.
We also made it down to the ‘O’heo pools, past Hana, but there was high water that day, and they were closed to swimming, so no good pictures there. After that, we actually kept going. Not long past ‘O’heo, the road is unpaved for a while, which is why most people with rentals don’t venture down there. We also had the added adventure of a small traffic tie up when someone managed to flip their car. Needless to say, that’s quite the event on a barely more than one lane unpaved road. Even with that slight annoyance, the back of the mountain may have been my favorite part of the drive. There’s no one else around you, and you pass into the rain shadow of the volcano, and the landscape dramatically changes out of the rain forest into Mediterranean scrub, with dramatic cliff falling into the sea instead of beaches. It’s not an easy road (I doubt my sister enjoyed this part of the trip, since she was driving), but if you can enjoy the scenery because someone else is driving, I highly recommend it.
Our second day on Maui ended up being volcano day. We still weren’t acclimated to the time zone, so woke up early, and were ready to go by 7:00, which worked out nicely for taking pictures along the beaches along route 30, which runs from Kahului around the southern tip of the Western Mountains to Lahaina. There are gorgeous beaches along most of the road, with decent surfing (you can barely make out a surfer in the third picture down – turns out the best surfing was the day we left, so I don’t have pictures).
We headed up to the summit of Haleakala (the island’s eastern volcano). For whatever reason, Haleakala, from most vantage points, resembles one large mountain, unlike the carved up appearance of the western volcano. It’s also a lot larger, and when you’re in the lowland between the two volcanoes, Haleakala wins the looming game.
As you drive up the volcano, at a certain point of altitude, the landscape suddenly turns into the rolling, green hills of Ireland, and you’re surrounded by cows. (And jacaranda trees. I love jacaranda trees.) As it happened, this was the cloud belt on the morning we went through, so I sadly have no pictures, but it’s a beautiful landscape.
Above the cows, the trees grow thinner (and eventually disappear), and you hit Haleakala National Park, which houses the summit and the crater of the volcano. This was the one place on the island where I actually had to put on a sweatshirt (we arrived around 10:00, so it was in the 50s, and as a hearty Mainer, I eschewed jeans. It was probably a bit breezy to eschew jeans, but I survived).
Apparently the crater isn’t really a crater, but I’m not enough of a geology buff to remember the whole story behind that. What I do remember is how much it resembles a moonscape. It’s incredibly beautiful, and the clouds were close enough to provide an interesting contrast (though they did deny us what I’m told is a stunning view of the lowlands and the Western Mountains).
The drive back down the volcano is interesting. It’s a steep enough grade that for the entirety of the park road, and a bit longer, you’re riding in a low gear through switchbacks. My sister drove that, and I confess I’m happy she did. I’m way too much a lowland driver to be entirely comfortable with that much active driving management.
Our first full day on Maui was the day to travel over to the Royal Lahaina Resort, which is where we stayed all but one night of the trip. We actually stayed in the Ka’anapali Ocean Inn, which is the lower cost portion of the resort. It was by no means the best hotel room I’ve ever stayed in, but it was definitely worth what we paid for it, and we could actually see the ocean from our room. (Sure, you had to go out on the balcony to do so, but it was still an ocean view.)
On our way out of town, we stopped at the ‘Iao Valley State Park in Wailuku (above). This is one of the valleys on the West Maui Mountains (the island’s western volcano), and is on the rainier side of the range (hence the lack of sun). The best description I can give is the word ‘lush’. The park is just outside of Wailuku, and makes a great stop on the way out of town.
Once we got to the resort, we had some shopping and other stuff to take care of. We did get in a walk to the restaurant where we had lunch, and from that walk, I give you the above view of the island of Lana’i, from Ka’anapali Beach.
I’m back in North America after my too short jaunt to Maui with my sister. We had a great time, and I have tons of pictures to sort through, so I will start off with what may become my traditional food first post.
Maui Coffee Roasters, Kahului
This was by far our favorite breakfast stop on Maui, and we ended up stopping here every time we went through Kahului at breakfast time. Great coffee, good breakfast food, and fun, eclectic decor (see above). Highlights:
Bagels with guava butter. I had this two days in a row. I may never need to go back to cream cheese. Their guava butter has a great cinnamon kick, and was just so much lighter and more delicious than cream cheese. I thought I couldn’t top that until I saw their weekday muffins.
Coconut muffin. I don’t know where they get these muffins, but whoever makes them is a genius. Perfect amount of coconut, and it was a lot lighter than your typical bakery muffin.
All of their coffee drinks were excellent, but I also had a smoothie one morning, and that was fabulous too. Really, I don’t think they can do anything wrong. I wish they’d transplant their store here to Portland.
Hula Grill, Ka’anapali
We ended up here for lunch on our first full day because it’s within walking distance of the resort we stayed at. Lunch is entirely served in the Barefoot Bar portion of the restaurant, and we were actually seated in the beach portion of the bar. Their fresh lemonades (I had the passion fruit) were great. I ended up with the Baja fish tacos, which were made from local mahi, and served with a cilantro-jalapeno aioli. Great fish. It was beer battered, and fried, but fried lightly.
For dessert, we sampled the baked Hawaii, a take off on baked Alaska, featured pineapple upside down cake, ice cream, meringue, pineapple and rum caramel sauce. You can see the remains of it below, as we scarfed it much too fast to take a picture. It was definitely the highlight of the meal.
Mala Ocean Tavern, Lahaina
For dinner that night, we ended up in the north end of Lahaina, at Mala Tavern. They start their meals out with an edamame guacamole-like concoction that was really good, and I’m not normally a huge edamame fan.
I was trying to eat things that I wouldn’t normally eat at home, but their Adult Mac & Cheese caught my eye. It featured a mushroom cream, mozzarella, pecorino and Maytag blue cheese. It has also been put under the broiler, so had bits of crisp bubbly cheese all over the top. I may have to replicate that someday here.
Pa’ia Fish Market, Pa’ia
After a morning up on the volcano, we ended up in the oceanside town of Pa’ia, and stopped there for lunch. The fish market is right at the main intersection in town. It’s counter service with tables, and just has great atmosphere. I had the mahi fish and chips (above). Both their slaw and tartar sauce had great amounts of dill, which was really delicious. The fish came in huge slabs, and was beautifully fried.
My sister had their Obama burger, which was a Cajun style ono burger with a wasabi butter butter sauce. Great place, great prices, great atmosphere.
For dinner, we ended up back in the Whaler’s village because we could walk from the resort. Leilani’s is a sister restaurent, to Hula Grill, and I think I like Hula Grill better. To be far though, we did eat outside, which has a different menu than the inside, so I can only judge the bar.
I ended up with the Grilled Fish Salad, which that day featured ahi. I had a great piece of fish, but the salad itself was pretty standard, expect for the delicious pineapple vinaigrette.
For dessert, we had the Hula Pie, a really fabulous concoction involving ice cream, chocolate and macadamia nuts. I will heartily recommend that to anyone.
Hana Bay Picnic Company, Pa’ia
For our day trip on the road to Hana, we stopped in Pa’ia and picked up a picnic lunch pack. You can get a sandwich, macaroni salad, chips, drink and cookie for a reasonable price, and they sell cooler packs to keep them in. I had the black forest sandwich. Their bread is wonderful, and the cookies are quite good.
After an extremely long day, we ended up back at Hula Grill for dinner. I had the Big Island Goat Cheese Pizza, with spinach, tomatoes, roasted mushrooms, red onions, olives and Big Island goat cheese. It was a great light dinner after a long day.
We had the Ice Cream Sandwich for dessert, which was really good ice cream between two chocolate macadamia nut brownies, with raspberry sauce. Really, really good.
Kihei Caffe, Kihei
At this point, we weren’t going through Kahului in the morning, so we didn’t have an excuse to go to Maui Coffee Roasters. This morning, we stopped at the Kihei Caffe, which has an amazing variety of stuff, and pleasant outdoor seating. I had the huevos rancheros, which were delicious, as well as some of my sister’s fresh papaya, which was wonderful. (That same morning, we stopped at the farmer’s market and bought a strawberry papaya for later snacking.)
Soup Nutz and Java Jazz, Honokowai
For lunch, we stopped at Soup Nutz, the cafe side of this place. The service here was interesting. I had a spinach salad, which was good, but my sister’s meal was disappointing for too many reasons to easily go into. We both ended up having smoothies for dessert. I had the White Mocha Blizzard, which was lovely.
Cilantro Grill, Lahaina
We had dinner at this fast Mexican place, which had really great food. The menu is pretty extensive, and their sauces were wonderful. I had a chimichanga, but my sister had one of their taco combos, which looked amazing. I also really loved their black beans.
Java Jazz, Honokowai
We needed coffee the next morning, so stopped back at the coffeehouse side of the place we’d had lunch at they day before. The service was still interesting, but the coffee was good, and the cranberry scone I had was wonderful.
Down to Earth, Kahului
For my last full meal in Maui, we stopped at the Down to Earth Natural Food Store and Deli. All of their deli food is vegetarian, and everything looked delicious. I had their quesadilla, which must have had an entire avocado in there, among other things. It was delicious.
So that was the food in Maui in a nutshell. Fortunately, we did a lot of walking, or they probably would have had to roll me onto the plane.