Monday, March 22, 2010

Maui: Day 6

Woke up early this morning to get a jump start on our adventure in Hana town. It rained all night long and we woke up to a humid, lush green environment. The sun was shining bright; ready for us to explore the beautiful hiking trails everyone sings about here.

We pulled into Haleakala National Park around 9:15am with only a few cars parked in the lot. It's nice to stay in Hana and beat the crowds to the ending destination on the 'road to Hana' scenic drive. Staying in town allowed us to really enjoy the local scene in the serenity it was intended.

Our first hike was a short one, down to the Oheo Gulch, also known as the 7 sacred pools. This is a living legend - there's not 7 pools, nor are they sacred, but it's been coined that as a way to attract visitors to the area. As we arrived to the spot along the shoreline, we hiked around on the black lava rock and snapped a few photos of the waterfalls that feed into the area.

Andi took a dip in one of the pools ... they were freezing!

I opted to sit on the rocks and watch :)

All the warning signs within the park were a little alarming. Apparently flash flooding can happen pretty quickly near the streams and waterfalls. A few years ago, a flash flood came up quickly and swept away a dad and his 8-year old daughter. I'm not sure what would happen if a gush of water came shooting over the rocks - you'd surely be a goner! 

Afterward Oheo Gulch, we headed up the Pipiwai trail - a 4 mile round-trip hike and 650 elevation gain to see the 400 ft waterfall coming down the face of a lava rock at the end. When we started out, the air was humid and the sun hot. I thought I was going to have a heart attack - truth be told, me and the exercise aren't so good of friends. Andi kept laughing at my huffing and panting as we hiked along. 

What is it with boys and adventure? There were a few of these signs along the hike and Andi couldn't get himself over to them any faster than his legs would carry him! Steep cliffs and dangerous drop-offs? Yes please!

This hike had it all - by far the most beautiful we'd ever been on. The beauty of nature everywhere we looked.

Half-way to the end, we came upon this enormous tree, with roots stretching as far as we could see. I kindly called this tree 'The Giving Tree' - it reminded me of that book by Shel Silverstein. Something about it felt so warm and comforting. 

We continued on our hike reaching the next 'destination' - the bamboo forest. We'd heard about this place and how moving it was. Andi and I had really never seen anything like it.

As we walked into the bamboo forest, it got dark from all the stalks growing together and shading out the sun. It was quiet and cool, strange to be surrounded by nothing but talk green stalks of bamboo. Definitely a one-in-a-lifetime experience.

Finally, after we pass through the bamboo, we see a tall waterfall in the distance. As we climbed the wet rocks and through small streams to get to it, it started to rain a little. The sight of it was awe-inspiring. Neither of us had ever seen anything like it. The picture just doesn't do it justice.

A few things about today:
1) Andi commented and I agree, the National Park system is something we should really be proud of in the United States. Both our experiences at the volcano and the hike today were wonderful - clean, well maintained and a great way to take in nature. There's really nothing like this in other countries we've traveled to.

2) Oh man, do my legs hurt tonight! While a 4 mile hike might not seem like much, it definitely was more than I'm used to. I may just cut my legs off at the thighs; either that, or never go on another hike again. OMG.

We leave tomorrow - good-bye Hana and heading back to West Maui. It's been a great vacation and we're sad to see Maui go. Until tomorrow ...

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