Over the last four posts centered around my brother’s wedding, I’ve shared my Mom’s hometown, a beach workout, a black sand beach, a volcano crater, and a passage of text on an airline agricultural declaration form advising against smuggling snakes on the plane. Whether you’ve enjoyed or merely tolerated this onslaught of photo-documentation, I’m back with the last few pics. Okay, the last 25 or so. At the risk of sounding like a vacation destination brochure for Maui, I want to share a little more of the island’s diverse geographic character. What else would I do with my evidence that there’s more to Maui than beaches and volcanos?
Our drive up to Hana and back took us through lush rainforest and a barren, desert-like environment, respectively, landscapes so opposite that it’s a wonder they’re along the same road in fairly close proximity. In Arizona, we have canyons and forests, snow country and lakes, and, of course, our vast expanse of the Sonoran desert, festooned with its indigenous and characteristic Saguaro cactus… but you don’t get all of that variation within a two-hour drive along the same road!
Hana Highway (aka the Road to Hana) takes you from Kahului to the east side of the island, ending at the town of Hana. The trek is a must-do when you’re on Maui. (Again, sorry about the brochure-speak; there’s no other way to put it.)
The narrow, winding road up to Hana is infamous for being a risky drive, but it’s also a treasure hunt, so you want to have a map of the treasures along the way. One of these is Ono Organic Farms. My brother had arranged for us to do a fruit-tasting and a tour through the gardens there. It was like stepping into Avatar. Have I mentioned that my brother is all kinds of awesome?
We couldn’t visit the Seven Sacred Pools this time, but that’s what future visits are for! I loved the Seven Sacred Pools the one time I went, and I look forward to going back and showing Callaghan its sparkling pools and waterfalls.
Going home, rather than backtracking the way we came, we continued along our path. Hana Highway loops around Paia toward Pukalani, and the terrain changes dramatically. This is where you’ll see landscape that looks more like the mainland than an island.
Other than mongoose and nene, we didn’t see too much in the way of critters… you’ll find a darling little brown spider in one of the pics below, though. I’d included a nene pic from the cemetery a few posts back, but the mongoose is just too fast to photograph. He’s a famous emblem of Hawaii for a reason, that mongoose. He’s too busy opening cans of whoop-ass on snakes to be sitting for portraits.
Here’s a mongoose who posed for someone else:
Portrait of a mongoose as stolen from bikemaui dot com
And here are a few pics from the road to Hana (Hana Highway):
We got an early start up the road, ascending under the brightening day.
It’s best to start up the road early in the morning, when there’s less traffic, but it’s highly advisable to avoid going when it’s dark.
Legend has it that the waters of Kane can heal disease and preserve youth
There are many waterfalls along the way.
A waterfall seen from the road
So many little waterfalls.
The rainforest is beautiful. How could it not be?
Sunbeams in the rainforest
Spiders make me happy, so you know I had to grab a pic of this little guy!
After visiting the black sand beach, we headed to Ono Organic Farms for the fruit-tasting and tour my brother had arranged.
Ono Organic Farms
The avocados in Hawaii grow to be enormous. The specimens pictured here are some of the smaller ones!
I’m holding this avocado like it’s a grenade, but I’m just trying to gauge its weight.
Bananas, maybe (unfortunately, I didn’t take enough care to remember which plants were what)
Another shot of the banana part of the farm…?
Here’s a sneak peek at Texas Chainsaw Massacre: Bananas are Next
Banana House of Horrors
Then the drive back to Kihei, also on the Hana Highway. Here’s where you’ll see Maui looking more like the mainland than an island.
Coming back from Hana
Not too many miles away from the rainforest!
Returning from Hana
Desert-like land meeting the ocean… the opposite of the rainforest meeting the ocean at the black sand beach
This almost looks like Iraq.
I wouldn’t guess I was on a tropical island!
The highway back from Hana
And now we’ve been back for a week, and it’s Thanksgiving week already. Next time I post, we’ll be somewhere else yet again. More family shenanigans afoot! The best kind of shenanigans.