Pearl Harbor

Ron Niebrugge Hawaii, Photos, Travel 4 Comments

USS Arizona Memorial, Pearl Harbor, Honolulu, Hawaii.

USS Arizona Memorial, Pearl Harbor, Honolulu, Hawaii.

I thought this was a fitting image given that today is the 70th Anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor.  Even though you know what you are going to see when you visit Pearl Harbor and the U.S.S Arizona memorial, and you can prepare yourself mentally – it is still a very somber and moving experience. We don’t want to ever forget the people who have fought for and sacrificed so much for our freedom.

The Park Service recently spent $58 million dollars to reconstruct the visitor center and museum – the exhibits and videos are extremely well done and educational.  Any visit to Honolulu should include Pearl Harbor.

USS Arizona Memorial, Pearl Harbor, Honolulu, Hawaii.

USS Arizona Memorial, Pearl Harbor, Honolulu, Hawaii.

Waialeale Crater

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Waialeale Crater, Kauai, Hawaii.

Waialeale Crater, Kauai, Hawaii.

This crater portion of Mount Waialeale also know as the Wall of Tears or the Weeping Wall.  This location averages 452 inches or rain per year and is considered one of the wettest places on earth!  It is easy to see why there are so many waterfalls.


Hana Highway

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Waterfall along the Hana Highway, Maui, Hawaii.

A one way bridge over a waterfall along the Hana Highway, Maui, Hawaii.

The road to Hana has got to be one of the more spectacular drives anywhere!  It is a narrow winding road with over 600 curves (I guess someone counted) and 59 bridges of which 46 are one way.  There are even some stretches of road that are so narrow they are effectively one way.  And if that wasn’t interesting enough – it travels through spectacular tropical rainforest, along the rugged coast crossing over endless streams and waterfalls – the one pictured above it just one of many!  There is a photo opportunity around every curve, everywhere you look!

If you are to drive this road, and you should, bring your patience.  The road is the destination so enjoy it.  There is a good chance it will be wet and raining.  Couple that with the narrowness, locals in a hurry and tourist who aren’t and you have a dangerous combination.  In fact the morning we drove the Hana Hwy. we came across two head on accidents – and we were there during a slow time of year early in the morning.  But, it definitely is worth it!  And, you can continue on around the island past Hana, and except for a rough 10 mile stretch, the remaining road as you circle the Southern part of the island is some of the nicest on Maui, so the return drive is much faster and easier then having to return on the Hana Highway.

If you are thinking of driving the road, I have two strong recommendations that I though I would share.

First, I would stay at least one night in Hana.  This gives you time to explore the Seven Sacred Pools and other attractions in the area,  and breaks up what otherwise would be one really long day of driving.

Second, I would make sure I had a guide book, preferably Maui Revealed: The Ultimate Guidebook.  Actually all the Hawaii Reveled  books are excellent if you are visiting other islands, I highly recommend them.  So why is a guide book so important?  Even though you will drive past many spectacular waterfalls and sights, many of the best ones are out of sight from the highway – in some cases, just out of sight.  But, the guide book will tell you right where to park, and where to walk to see some wonderful sights that you would otherwise miss.  Not only waterfalls, but some great little side roads that bring you right down to the ocean in some really neat places.

The Maui Revealed folks also sell one of the best smart phone apps around – perfect compliment to the book.

As we drove the Hana Highway, we found that the same people kept stopping at the same odd places we were – it became very apparent who had that book and who didn’t.  I even asked people, and sure enough, the had Maui Revealed.


Wailua Falls

Ron Niebrugge Hawaii, Photos, Travel 3 Comments

Janine at Wailua Falls, near Hana, Maui, Hawaii.

Janine at Wailua Falls, near Hana, Maui, Hawaii.

This beautiful waterfall is just along the side of the road a few miles past Hana – one of many.

They do pay their price for all this lush beauty.  A wet year in Hana can bring over 200 inches of rain, and a wet month of March can bring almost 60 inches!  And I thought we got a lot of precipitation!  A bit north of Hana it is even wetter.  I know a few times we had our window wipers on high and still couldn’t see because so much rain was coming down.  On the plus side, all the waterfalls in the area were really pumping!

Seven Sacred Pools

Ron Niebrugge Hawaii, Photos, Travel 19 Comments

Seven Sacred Pools or O'heo Gulch, Haleakala National Park, near Hana, Maui, Hawaii.

Seven Sacred Pools or O'heo Gulch, Haleakala National Park, near Hana, Maui, Hawaii.

Well our last few days in Hawaii were busy.  Two days down in Hana and a couple of trips up to the Haleakala Crater.  Gotta say the drive to Hana was beautiful!  But, the highlight was a visit to the Seven Sacred Pools just a short distance past the town – just flat gorgeous!  As is the hike above the pools to Waimoku Falls. Both should be at the top of any visitors list of things to see while in Maui.  While there, we were lucky enough to have one of our few sunsets.  If you look close you can see the highway just above the upper falls.

This was Saturday night.  We are now back in Alaska where the forecast is for lows down to zero and winds of 50-60 mph.  Standing in this stream in my shorts and sandals seems like a different life time!

Surfing Maui

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A surfer at Ho'okipa Beach, Maui, Hawaii.

A surfer at Ho'okipa Beach, Maui, Hawaii.

My plan was to post a beautiful sunrise photo from the top of Haleakala this morning.  Well, we got up at 4:00 a.m. and drove to the top only to see thick clouds, heavy rain and wind.  O well.  At least I wasn’t one of those people who got up just as early and paid big bucks, to coast a bike down the mountain in the blowing rain.  They didn’t look happy.  Too make it worse – off to the West, you could tell the beaches were in nice sun.  I wonder how many of them uttered the words “we could be laying on the beach right now!”

So, I decided to post this photo from yesterday afternoon.  The waves were pretty good – lots of surfers and windsurfers – fun to photograph!

This weekend we head to Hana before flying home on Monday.  Might make one more try for sunrise on the mountain before we fly Monday morning.


Haleakala Sunset

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Sunset from Haleakala Summet, Haleakala National Park, Hawaii.

Sunset from Haleakala Summet, Haleakala National Park, Hawaii.

This place is famous for it’s sunrises, but sunset can be spectacular as well.  Having clouds above and below you at the same time is really cool!