Last weekend we drove around to the south side of the larger (eastern) portion of Maui. Not by way of Hana, that curvy roadtrip will come later when we have more time. The more direct way, via Kula, over the ridge and across a rather desolate set of lava fields on the southern flanks of Haleakala mountain.
The coastline is really pretty, albeit windswept. Checking out one of two "scenic gulches" along the way:
The road crosses a bridge inside the gulch, below the slopes of Haleakala:
Most of the warning signs were about cows on the roadway. We didn't see any of those, nor any of these, which would have been much more entertaining:
The pretty church near the town of Kaupo:
Scenic bay below the church:
We're thinking of trying a "sea to summit to sea" journey in the future, in which case this is where we would start:
Heading up the little road toward the trailhead for the Kaupo Trail. The horizon shows the gap where the trail goes up into the crater:
The start of the trail. We wanted to check out the lower reaches, having heard that it can be hard to figure out exactly where to go.
Yep, right away we found it quite overgrown. Including the trail signs that were immensely helpful - when you could see them:
John's in here somewhere... some of the grasses are over-my-head tall:
More common were little meadows with scrub brush that hid an indistinct trail. This could be interesting/challenging.
One of a couple fence climb-overs:
Believe the arrows. We weren't the first to follow a cowpath up a steep "road" and through some crappy vegetation. It is the wrong way. We came back down and tried again.
Even though it doesn't look like a trail, it is the way to go. Straight up, through tall grass, into the tree canopy just above:
Soon we found the actual path, looking even like a real trail here:
Thank goodness for the markers. There should be quotes around the word "TRAIL":
Short stint on a steep rocky road, looking back at a sign that is also getting overtaken by green trash:
The turnoff to the right, back to slogging through undergrowth:
I turned around there while John continued higher. Here's the doubletrack he followed almost to the park boundary. Good enough for one day! I suspect it will still require focus and effort to follow the trail once it enters the park, as apparently the cows have been keeping the grasses shorter on this side. Should be interesting, hopefully we'll get to try it.
On the way home we stopped by a beach or a "bunch of stones by the ocean." The wave action caused a bunch of stones to roll slightly each time, creating a knocking sound that you could actually feel when standing there. Very cool.
Another short stop - waves on the rocks:
Fun rock sign:
A bit of black sand amid the rocks and stones:
A little lava cave:
John's at the other end of the beach checking out the columns of basalt. Might even be possible to rock climb there, which would be a rare thing on a island made of crumbly lava.
Neat sea arch - we didn't see it during the drive over, but it was pretty obvious on the way back.
That was a fun little trip, hope to be back soon.