Volcanoes and Mountains

We again woke up early and headed out for another day of adventure. We started with a quick stop at a local farmer's market (veggies, fruit, flowers, and crafts), where we found picnic supplies including fresh apple-bananas (short, tasty bananas), tomatoes, and strawberries.
Larry overlooking Haleakala Volcano
Many advertisements discussed the merits of a dawn bike ride down the Haleakala Volcano road. We decided to check out the volcano and save the ride for another time. We love to mountain bike, but prefer making our own arrangements, schedules, and explorations. We made a good decision. Although the ride sounds great, the conditions aren't what we like.
The tours start at the top at dawn. People are assigned slickers, bikes, and helmets. Everyone follows a leader with a tour van following in the back. It looks a little like the traditional horseback riding experience where you spend your time watching the rear of the horse in front of you and worrying about the horse behind you. They stop for views and hot chocolate along the way.
Instead of the bikes, we chose a short hike to the Leleiwi Lookout and another hike to the top of White Hill to view some ruins. We spent some time at the top overlooking the Haleakala Crater or Valley, before heading back down the mountain. We ended our trip with a stop at the nature trail called Hosmer Grove. It was a little disappointing, but did a nice job contrasting native and nonnative plants.
The nene (Hawaiian geese) are one of the few native birds on the islands. They look like geese and probably arrived a few million years ago from Canada. They now live away from the water in the high, arid lands near the Volcano. Unlike most geese, there feet aren't webbed. These endangered birds were almost extinct a century ago. Now they can be seen near trailheads. We spotted them near a maintenance road. The nene have a strange duck-like call. Read more about the Nene and Taking Flight.
As we drove down the mountain, the clouds began rolling it. At one point we felt like we were driving above the clouds. A strange feeling! The top of the mountain is usually filled with clouds from midmorning to mid afternoon.
Hawaiian Cowboy - A Paniolo
As we headed back into ranch country, we saw the cowboy (called a paniolo) on the left and stopped briefly to talk. Original from The Big Island, he grew up in a ranching family. The hillside is covered with beautiful green grass and healthy cows. In most cases, they ship their cattle to the mainland for their final grain feeding before market.
Like any traditional cowboy, he had a beautiful horse and cow dog. In addition, like any good modern paniolo, his pickup truck and horse-trailer were parked nearby and his cellphone was attached to his belt.
Our last stop in Maui was the famous Iao Valley and the Iao Needle. You've probably seen a similar photo of the needle in travel brochures. This was a sacred place to the native people and the location of the final battle with King Kamehameha. In 1790, with the help of captured westerner advisors and a ship's cannon, Kamehameha annihilated Maui forces killing many people in this valley.
The heavily used state park was undergoing some volunteer restoration which was a nice thing to see. We stopped for our picnic lunch (cold roast chicken, fruit, and veggies) next to a stream. Next, we climbed the stairs to the viewing point to see the needle. Finally, we explored the stream and renovated garden area. They are planting native taro plants in pretty pools.
After another evening and night in Maui, we got up early and flew to our next island, Kaua'i.
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Created by Annette Lamb and Larry Johnson, 12/00
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