Sunday, November 19, 2023

Magic of Maui

 As Maui reopens for tourism after the devastating fires, I decided to look back at photos from our visit a couple of years ago. Reminiscing makes me want to return in another year or two to enjoy beautiful scenery, beaches, and new adventures.

Larry on our tour of several beaches

Beautiful beaches

Soon after arriving, we drove along the northwest coast and explored several beaches including Fleming Beach Park and Honolua Bay, where we walked through overgrown vegetation to the water.

Trails to the beach can involve walking through jungle-like areas.

Surfers enjoyed big waves at another beach, while we hiked on promontories and paths featuring rugged coastal landscapes. Nakelele Blowhole was spouting fairly well since we arrived there near high tide.

Beverly perches on a rock ledge overlooking the ocean.

Road to Hana

Of course, we couldn’t be in Maui without driving the Road to Hana. We left early, planning for an all day adventure. Although we had done this drive many years prior, it’s a fascinating experience all over again. The Hana Highway is very narrow and curving with speed limits of 10-15 mph most of the way. Another challenge is that thick plant growth on both sides of the road somewhat restrict views of oncoming cars on the 14-mile stretch that includes 617 curves and 54 one-way bridges.

Waterfalls abound

We stopped to take pictures at waterfalls wherever parking was available. At Waikini Falls (also called Three Bears Falls) we snacked on the banana bread that we had bought at a roadside shop called Halfway to Hana. The black sand beach at Wai’anapanapa State Park was formed from polished volcanic rocks. Together with waves splashing against black lava cliffs, this park is an adventurer’s playground.

Black sand formed from volcanic rocks

Sunrise on Haleakala

Another favorite excursion is watching the sun rise from a 10,000 foot advantage of Haleakala volcano. It’s one of the most spectacular events ever experienced on our travels. Many years ago we had awakened at 2:00 a.m. to ride up the mountain in a van and then ride 37 miles down to sea level on bicycles.

Magnificent sunrise on Haleakala

On this visit, we chose a van for transportation up and down the mountain. It’s surprisingly cold before dawn because of the elevation, so we were bundled in jackets and blankets while waiting. When the golden rays of sunshine start to appear through the clouds the temperature rises about 20 degrees in a matter of minutes. After about an hour, streaks of yellow and pink lit up the horizon, and mountain peaks began to poke out. The brightness was almost blinding after being in darkness for so long.
The temperature is near freezing before sunrise.

Haleakala last erupted in 1620, so we felt safe from such activity. It is a shield volcano, a lake of lava with a cap over the top. Lava oozes out rather than forcing its way out in an explosion. Now, the crater has sunk leaving a big hole and a large valley due to erosion.

With more light, the crater is easily visible.

Ocean time

Landscapes on Lanai are filled with rocky precipices.

After that experience we were ready for sunshine and water spraying on our bodies. A full day excursion on a catamaran to remote Lanai Island filled the bill. From breakfast on the boat to snacks and drinks on the return trip, it was a fun day.
 Snorkeling, dolphins swimming nearby in shimmering blue water, a picnic lunch on shore, and a hike to Sweetheart Rock on Lanai rounded out the day’s adventures.
Because Lanai is somewhat remote, the beach is relatively untouched.


Almost every evening features beautiful sunsets.

And then there were the magnificent sunsets! Almost every evening brilliant sky colors and reflecting seascapes decorated the landscape. One evening we took a sunset cruise. Although the weather turned out to be overcast with dark clouds, the sunset was still amazing. With such gorgeous scenery, visiting Maui is definitely worthwhile (and there are plenty of golf courses to enjoy, too).
A sunset cruise provides reflections on the water.

If you can, plan a trip there in the future; it will help the island recover from the fires, and you’ll have memories for a lifetime.

Photos by Larry and Beverly Burmeier

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