Motoring Around Maui Part 3: The Dry SideSTAFF — By Betsy Villanella on March 31, 2012 at 01:31
Series by staff writer Betsy Villanella. Photos Copyright © Betsy Villanella.
[smartads] My previous two articles covered the beautiful west coast of Maui, and driving the Hana Highway over to the east coast. Since we wanted to see as much of Maui as we could, and since our plane didn’t leave until the evening of our last day, we planned one last tour on the way back to the airport.
When we left Hana, instead of driving back the way we came, we drove south down the east coast, and around the volcano, Haleakala. I had read that the southeastern side of Maui is much different than what you would expect from a tropical island. It’s dry and arid and not very populated.
I was intrigued, and assumed that side of Maui must be harsh and uninviting, but after seeing it I will say it has its own kind of beauty and it’s very peaceful too.
We also wanted to find the gravesite of Charles Lindbergh at the Palapala Ho’omau Church in Kipahulu where he made his home. We found a church, but I am not sure if it was the right one. There were no signs. I had seen pictures of it and they didn’t look like this church.
As opposed to the other sides of Maui this side had a lot of scrub grass, and more browns then greens. The lava rock went right down to the rough ocean waves and the black stone beaches.
In the most remote spots, we would encounter livestock resting in the road. Cattle and horses are free range. With cliffs on one side and the ocean on the other, I guess the owner doesn’t have to worry about them running off.
When we arrived from our tour around the southeast side of volcano, we drove up Haleakala to see the sights from its summit. Haleakala was a mixed bag of interesting things. The higher we drove (over 9000 ft. up) the lower the clouds got, until we were looking down through them. It’s a strange feeling, for sure.
Another strange thing: As we made our way along the path for our view inside Haleakala there was still a burning smell, even after so much time. Another interesting thing there is a plant known as silversword. The only place in the world it grows is on the sides of Haleakala. It will grow until it flowers and then it dies.
It was an eerie place, but again it had its own beauty. It was time to head down the way we came and find the restaurant I had been waiting the whole trip to experience. I was told by many that Mama’s Fish House was the best place on Maui to have a meal! After our meal I will agree with everyone and say I think was the best and most enjoyable meal of our trip, and a great way to end it.
My pictures don’t do justice to this beautiful island gem. The sights are spectacular, but to really know Maui you have to experience not just the beauty. You have to hear the soft rustle of the palm fronds as they sway in the warm breeze, and feel it too, across your face and moving through your hair.
Sitting on the beach in the evening you can hear the bird’s calls as they settle in for the night, and you smell the sweet perfume of the flowers. A wonderful aroma I will always take with me and one of the many things I will never forget about Maui.
If reading about this Hawaiian adventure has you hankering to see it for yourself, you can book flights to Hawaii online and visit the island paradise!
Our Disney specialist Elizabeth Villanella has lived in the Montrose, Pennsylvania area most of her life. Betsy married her high school boyfriend in 1973. As an Air Force wife, she has lived in Texas, Italy, and Virginia. Between the two of them, her sons have given her fourteen grandchildren and counting. Betsy and her husband currently live with Albert K. Ninestein, a mini Schnauzer who’s as smart as his namesake. She loves to travel and wants to experience (and share) as many places in this world as she can! Betsy tweets as @betsy_v.