Tuesday, June 9, 2009

A weekend in Maui

Back from my Maui weekend and had a great time. Some amazing scenery, fun friends, awesome hikes and a great beach hotel find. Couldn't have asked for more. Here are the photos:-

Haleakala National Park. The cabin we stayed in (Kapalaoa) was a 5.8 mile hike down the Sliding Sands trail. This is taken from the top of the Sliding Sands Trail (at 9,740ft). The cabin is down at 7250ft and is behind that last 'hill' on the right hand side. Quite the hike down (and up!).

The girls - Alison, Jenna and I as we head down the dusty Sliding Sands Trail on Saturday afternoon. 

Our cabin. Can you spot it? 

Kapalaoa Cabin. Very cool place to stay - all you need bring is a sleeping bag, clothes and food. 12 padded beds inside (3-bed bunkbeds), long table and benches and even a kitchen with gas cooking stove and a wood stove for heat. Yes heat. Even though this is Hawaii, at 7000ft, it gets pretty chilly at night! 

The view from the cabin across the scrubland. Our cabin came with it's own set of Nene geese - the Hawaiian state bird and rare (only ~250 in the park itself). We even saw them fly!

Sunday - went for a short morning hike with Alison to see the Kaupo gap - that's it under the cloud of mist. There is another cabin and campsite in there somewhere! 

During another hike on the Halemauu Trail we saw lots of Silver Swords. These plants are only found in Haleakala crater living amongst the cinder cones, are very very rare and are actually in the Sunflower family. They're covered in tiny silver hairs to reflect the heat and survive in this very arid environment. 

I feel very lucky to have seen this - a Silver Sword in bloom. These plants take 50 years to mature, bloom just once and then die. We saw lots that were finished blooming and dying, lots too young for flowers, but just this one in flower. Amazing. 

On the Halemauu Trail. I found this trail amazing - in just 2 miles the terrain changes from green scrubland, to colourful cinder cones (above), to old lava flows (below) to completely spartan landscapes that looked like something out of Lord of the Rings. so diverse and beautiful, like nothing I have ever seen before. 

An old lava flow on the Halemauu trail. 

Sunday night, watching the sunset over the crater rim from in front of our cabin. Pondering Mondays climb back up the Sliding Sands trail and a little sad to leave the calm, quiet and beauty of the crater floor. 

Monday night - isn't this what everyone thinks of when they think of Hawaii? The sunset from the Kaanapali Beach Hotel (which comes with my highest recommendation for both price and atmosphere) while enjoying a "lava flow" cocktail and a hula show. A great way to end three days of hiking through the most amazing scenery. 

Today, after a morning of delicious breakfast, wandering and a whale museum in Kaanapali, we went over to Lahina for lunch and a little exploring around the town. I'm not sure of the story behind this ship, or how long it has been there, but it was right in the center of Lahina. 

A sad sight in Lahina, this 'sculpture' is made from a black coral skeleton. A paper came out recently from a similar species dating a large colony as over 4000 years old. 4000 years on the seafloor to be ripped up and become a dolphin statue. A fitting end to a long life? 

But certainly not enough to put a shadow on a fantastic long weekend. Thank you Alison and Jenna for joining me, i'd hike with you guys again any day! 


nicola said...

beautiful! the sunday night photo is incredible. this is a part of maui i remember, but it wasn't what i was picturing in my head when you said "maui."


kmw said...

Wow, what beautiful things you saw! I hope your birthday is as great as that trip looked!

Di said...

Wow - what fantastic photos and what a great trip! My favourite is the darkness over the crater! THank you for sharing.

kmw said...

Happy Birthday from Lance and D. Great pics of your trip, thanks for sharing!

RGW said...

Thanks...:0) I love the sunset in Haleakala picture too, it came out great - i'm still experimenting with my new camera. Hope someone spotted lala's orange crocs in there....:0)

So what were you picturing when I said Maui?