Maui, “The Valley Isle” (pt. 2)

Maui, “The Valley Isle” (pt. 2)

We love Maui, the second largest of the Hawaiian islands. Revisiting “The Valley Isle” is like coming come – Maui’s Haleakala sunrise still spectacular, its road to Hana still heavenly and daring, its Iao Valley still beautiful, its old whaling town Lahaina still popularly historic. However, the Ka’anapali Beach Club resort located at the island’s western shore with its lagoon-style pool, outside cafes set amidst tropical atrium and its relaxing waterfalls now makes the difference.

The small town of Ka’anapali is one of Maui’s main tourist attractions. The Ka’anapali beachwalk for which it is noted for takes you on a scenic shoreline walk for about two miles along the stretches of coastline.

Also dominating the Ka’anapali beach is an ancient Hawaiian landmark, Pu’u Keka’a, a dark lava promontory known as “Black Rock” where young cliff jumpers can be seen climbing up the rock to jump into the waters below.

We make a stop at the new and prominent ocean front and open-air shopping complex, Whalers Village, with good variety of stores and cafes and other dining options.

Two-and-a-half hours by car from Ka’anapali is the massive shield and dormant volcano of “Haleakala” whose name literally means “House of the Sun” in Hawaiian.

At 10,023 feet above sea level, the volcano, inactive since 1790, towers over the island visibly seen from just about any point. Hawaiian mythology says that Haleakala volcano was once the abode of Pele, the goddess of fire. The summit is sacred for native Hawaiians so be quiet and respectful when visiting the site. The great basin below the volcano summit known as the crater is 3,000 feet deep and moon-like, 7.5 miles long and 2.5 miles wide.

No trip to Maui would be complete without a trip to Haleakala to watch the sun soars from the summit in all its glory.

(Sunrise time in Haleakala is 6:22 A.M.) To witness the sun makes its way across the morning horizon of Haleakala we start very early before dawn to trek to the mountaintop in the chilly darkness of the drive up Haleakala which begins among the jacaranda trees of blue blossoms, orchid farms and dark green macadamia nut trees past the 100-year old Haleakala Ranch, and groves of fragrant eucalyptus tress alternate with rolling grasslands. It is freezing cold here at the summit – temperature frequently drops below freezing point before dawn plus the weather may be windy. Dress warmly. We huddle in hotel blankets and beach towels. We see other visitors wrapped in hotel bedspreads and blankets!

Our return down the mountain included a stop at the Haleakala Visitor Centre which has cultural and natural exhibits.