To the “Valley Isle”

December 15, 2010 · 0 comments

in Merrily Rolling Along,National Parks,Ocean,Sailing,Valley,Volcano

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Long before finding ourselves living on the West Coast, we’d been discussing the idea of visiting places along the Pacific Rim. It wasn’t very long after we moved into our Seattle apartment that we started thinking of destinations to try. It turned out that our first excursion was Maui.

Our eleven days were absolutely wonderful. Right from the beginning, we were nothing but smiles, greeted by a breathtakingly beautiful rainbow immediately after leaving the airport. We spent the first three nights in an adorable bed-and-breakfast on the island’s northeastern coast, a stone’s throw from the ocean and minutes away from the Road to Hana. Wanting to see as much of the Hana area as we could, we spent hours driving to pull-offs and then, whenever possible, hiking on trails to waterfalls and lagoons. Our decision to rise early each morning paid off: we were usually alone on the road and trails, avoiding the crowds and having most of this beauty to ourselves.

We knew going into our visit that a trip to the summit of Haleakala for sunrise would be a must. Have a look at some of the photographs in our Haleakala National Park gallery, and you’ll quickly see why the experience comes so highly recommended. Waking at 4:00 am, driving the two-hour climb in total darkness and standing among dozens of others while the cold wind whipped around us . . . the “just getting there,” itself, was exhilarating. And then there was the summit and sunrise. If only we could do it all again tomorrow!

A remarkable fact worth sharing: The 38-mile drive to the top of Haleakala along Crater Road (and its 32 switchbacks) carries you through as many ecological zones as would a journey from Mexico to Canada! Climb some 10,000 feet in less than two hours. It’s said that this road holds the world record for climbing to the highest elevation in the shortest distance!

Standing on the summit of a volcano, looking down at the clouds and out at the ocean while the sun begins to reveal itself—it was, without question, one of the most amazing “wow!” moments either of us has ever experienced. Should you ever have the chance, just go! And you’ll understand why Twain once remarked how it was “the sublimest spectacle (he) ever saw.”

The rest of our vacation was spent on the island’s other side, lounging on different beaches, taking in sunsets, star-gazing into the Milky Way and exploring different oceanside roads and state parks. Having left Seattle 48 hours after the season’s worst winter storm and deepest freezing temperatures, the timing of our escape couldn’t have been better. Sipping beer while digging your feet into the sand and listening to the tide a few steps from you . . . a life we could certainly grow accustomed to!

Of course, we can’t close writing about Maui without mentioning our decision to go for a sunset sail. The reviews we found for Scotch Mist Sailing Charters proved spot-on. The idea of living a life on the water sailing about—and all that it offers—has been growing even more on us. Our experience here has made it even more alluring.

Check out our photos in the gallery. Maui photos and Haleakala National Park photos.


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