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We decided to take a break from the winter weather in New Mexico so we headed to Maui to enjoy a week of sunshine and warm weather.

Saturday, 20 February:  Today was spent in transit from Albuquerque to Dallas and then on to Honolulu and finally into Maui.  We arrived on the island shortly after 8:00PM local time.  We picked up our rental car and then drove ~15 miles to reach the Maui Oceanside Inn in the village of Kihei, our home for the week.

Sunday, 21 February:  We woke up to a beautiful morning!  The nearby beach and ocean were stunning.  Since we had gotten in late the night before, today we did some shopping for our meals throughout the week.  We found a Safeway, then WalMart and finally, CostCo, and at each we purchased a variety of items.  We returned back to the hotel in the late afternoon and called it a day.  Given it was a Sunday, the streets, beaches, stores, etc. were jammed so we decided to postpone any touring until after the weekend.

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Our home - Maui Oceanside Inn

A view to the beach area
Lindy posing in the garden

[T O P]

Monday, 22 February:  Again, it was a beautiful morning.  As soon as there was the slightest light in the sky, we walked a few feet outside our door onto the beach to take photographs of the sunrise.  Fabulous!  After a quick breakfast, we decided to visit Haleakala National Park.  Haleakala is the world’s most voluminous dormant volcano.  Its crater is large enough to hold the entire island of Manhattan!

Haleakala is located on the eastern part of the island of Maui.  From our location in Kihei (on the southwest of the island), it took about an hour to reach the access road into the Park. The road began at sea level but after driving 37 miles of scenic switchbacks, we eventually reached the Park’s entrance at 7,000 feet.  From there we continued on and made a brief stop at the Visitor’s Center at 9,700 feet.  Finally, we reached Haleakala’s summit at 10,000 feet above sea level.  From here we enjoyed spectacular views of the crater.  The colors were amazing and the crater actually contains numerous cinder cones from its many eruptions.  Wow! 

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A beautiful sunrise to begin
our day of explorations

Our road (with a view to the ocean)
leading to the Park
Welcome to the Park!
Where we began our explorations
The views - amazing!
This view is like a moonscape
Another view incorporating
a roadway and a village
Our arrival in the Summit Area of the Park
The road winding in this barren area
Beautiful volcanic craters
A closer view of one of the
beautifully-colored craters

[T O P]

After walking a few nearby trails to access the best views of Haleakala, we returned to our vehicle to begin the trek back down the mountain.  Amazingly (or not) that ride was much quicker.  All and all, it made for a wonderful day’s outing!!

Tuesday, 23 February:  We opted to visit the town of Lahaina today.  Lahaina was founded in the early 1800’s by missionaries.  It is located on the west coast of Maui and was an easy drive along the coast road.  Lahaina is known for its Front Street, a boulevard along the seashore, which is littered with buildings from the 1800’s.  Most of these are now shops and restaurants catering to tourists.  The streets were busy with lots of individuals touring the town on foot.  Near the center of town, we stopped by a beautiful Banyan tree which was planted in 1873.  It’s enormous and provides a huge area to enjoy a break from the hot sun.  We took a variety of photographs of the area but somehow managed not to be drawn into the shopping.  Yeah!  We enjoyed our day in Lahaina and then returned to Kihei late afternoon.

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The streets of Lahaina

Ed at the Banyan Tree planted in 1873

The pristine view from a seawall
Ed - the beach, the sea and another island

[T O P]

Wednesday, 24 February:  Today we opted to take a drive along the beautiful north and northwest coasts of Maui to reach the town of Hana.  After leaving Kihei we drove towards the airport and then took the scenic road from Kahului to Hana.  The road hugs some 56 miles of coastline and erosion canyons.  We would be right on the shoreline and then head inland until we reached a place where the road across the canyon would be a one-way bridge less than 50 feet long.  So, there were lots of twists and turns along this winding roadway. 

Our first stop along the way was Honomanu Bay.  Here we watched surfers try their best to ride the waves.  The setting was absolutely gorgeous!  The surfers had some beach area but for the most part the coast was rocky and rugged.  The waves crashing against the shore were beautiful.

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Enjoying the waves

Waves hitting the rocky shoreline

[T O P]

En route to Hana, we stopped at several waterfalls along the road side.  Each was beautiful with crystal clear water flowing down the mountain side.  Hana itself was a small community located on a peaceful bay.  There wasn’t a lot of sightseeing per se in the town.  We did enjoy sitting by the bay and taking in the view and the smell of the sea.

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Views en route to Hana

The sea as seen from Hana
One of the many waterfalls
that we saw coming to & from Hana

[T O P]

We returned back to Kihei on the same road (the only road) and enjoyed the views again from a whole new perspective.  The surfers were still at the beach when we passed by them again some five hours later.  Yes, it took over five hours to get to/from Honomanu Bay along the coast road.  Technically the speed limit along the coast road was 15 mph due to the narrow twisting road, but you could get up to 20 or 25 mph if no other cars got in your way. We still had another 30 minutes back to Kihei so we had quite a full and enjoyable day.

Thursday, 25 February:  We headed to the interior of Maui today to visit Iao Valley and Kepaniwai Park Gardens.  We took a two-lane road into the only parking area for the park.  We then walked along to trail to access great views of the Iao Stream, the largest of the major streams originating in the West Maui Mountains.  It was beautiful with lots of crystal clear flowing water and several deep pools.  The stream cuts through a canyon with nearly vertical walls rising over a thousand feet.  During the rainy season numerous waterfalls would spill down the canyon walls. The floor of the canyon was heavily wooded and the walls of the canyon were covered with greenery. Very beautiful. We also took pictures of the Iao Needle with an elevation of some 2,300 feet.  It’s a pillar of stone set apart from the surrounding mountains.  Legend has it that Iao was the beautiful daughter of the demi-god Maui.  Though strictly forbidden, Iao took a warrior as her lover.  Her father Maui found out and turned the warrior into the pillar.  Oh well, so much for young love!

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The mountains covered with
amazing growth

Iao Needle
Beautiful wild flowers are found everywhere
Ed alongside Iao Stream
Iao Stream

[T O P]

Afterwards we drove through the towns of Wailuku and Kahului to do a bit of shopping before returning to our hotel in late afternoon.

Friday, 26 February:  We decided to head to the flanks of Haleakala National Park to visit ‘Ulupalakua Ranch.   It was a beautiful day and the drive part-way up the mountain was really beautiful with great views of the South West coast of Maui.  We arrived at the Ranch in about an hour.  While the Ranch is some 20,000 acres, there are really only two sites of interest – the ‘Ulupalakua Ranch Store and the Tedeschi Winery.  Otherwise, the Ranch is a working cattle ranch and it contains the Tedeschi Vineyards. 

We began our explorations at the Ranch Store.  On its porch are some great wooden paniolos (cowboys).  Then, the store sells everything from souvenirs to fresh ground Ranch beef.  We next went to the Winery.  Its tasting room is actually King Kalakaua’s cottage.  The original cottage was built for him in 1874 when he visited the ranch.  Apart from the tasting area, it also contains a history room with photographs of the King as well as an abundance of memorabilia from the era.  We also explored the garden outside the tasting room.  It contains a huge Camphor Tree (we mean really HUGE) that is more than 150 years old.  It is part of the original landscaping of the area.

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'Ulupalakua Ranch Store

Ed on the porch with "The Guys"
Welcome to Tedeschi Winery
King Kalahaua's Cottage,
Now the Tedeschi Winery Tasting Room
The beautiful picnic area at the winery
Great views!

[T O P]

After our explorations, we returned back to Kihei for a relaxing afternoon before our final day on the island.

Saturday, 27 February:  Well, the day began with a bit of excitement.  Ed was up at 5:00AM and decided to turn on the computer.  It was then that he learned that a huge earthquake had struck Chile, one of our favorite countries for fly fishing.  He also learned that a tsunami warning had been issued for the Hawaiian Islands.  Yikes!  So, Ed woke Lindy up about 5:45AM before the tsunami warning sirens were due to go off at 6:00AM (which they did).  Since our hotel was right on the beach, we had to move to higher ground.  So, we quickly showered, packed up and checked out of the hotel.

We then drove across the island to the road leading up to Haleakala National Park.  We parked along the roadside (along with lots of other cars).  From here, we were able to see both the airport and the coast on both the north and south sides of the island.  It was now about 8:00AM so it was “sit and wait” time.  The tsunami was expected to reach the town of Hilo on the island of Hawaii (also known as the “Big Island”) at 11:05AM.  Subsequently, it would reach the island of Maui at ~11:25AM. 

We listened to the radio for updates and played cards while we watched and waited and waited.  And then….  Nothing happened!  There were reports of some minor tide surges around 11:15AM but that was it.  The tsunami just didn’t develop and everyone in the Hawaiian Islands was very thankful (including us tourists).  That being said, however, authorities didn’t lift the tsumani warnings until 1:38PM.  At that time, they re-opened the airports in Maui and Honolulu which they had closed at 10:00AM.  Flights had continued to come into both airports but no one was allowed to leave the airport from incoming flights and no one was allowed to enter the airports for outgoing flights from 10:00AM to 1:38PM. Needless to say air travel was all screwed up!!

About an hour before they lifted the tsunami warnings we decided that the tsunami wasn’t going to develop so we drove into Kahului (where the airport is).  Almost everything was closed and the streets were nearly deserted. It was eerie.  However in a short time, some businesses began to open and people began to drive into town. We found a gas station that was open and filled our rental car. We then parked in a deserted WalMart parking lot only three miles from the airport.

As soon as we heard the all-clear, we headed immediately to the airport and dealt with sheer chaos there.  It took about an hour in a queue to return our rental car.  Then, we faced a similar queue to get our boarding passes for an 8:00PM flight to Honolulu.  At 4:00PM we finally were in the airport beyond security.  Yeah!  We were lucky that we were so close to the airport when it reopened. Many people were stuck in traffic jams outside the airport or in lines in the airport and were missing their flights.  Hawaiian Airlines asked us if we would take an earlier flight to Honolulu which wasn’t full since so many people couldn’t get to the airport.  That way as folks made it to the airport they could find seats on our later flight.

We made it to Honolulu at 5:00PM and the balance of our travel was uneventful.  We had upgraded to first class on American Airlines and it was so nice to finally settle into our seats for the six hour flight to Los Angeles.  From there, we caught a 7:00AM flight to Dallas and finally returned back to Albuquerque at 3:00PM.  Yeah!

     All in all, we enjoyed a great week in Maui taking in the sights, enjoying ocean views and relaxing.  It was a great break from the winter weather of New Mexico.