My round the world trip starts with a trip home to Maui. There's no better way to kick it off than a hike through Haleakala crater on day one. At an elevation of over 10,000 feet, it's an amazing (and chilly 40 degree) sunrise. The hike is about 11 miles and goes down into the crater and around beautiful red and black cinder cones. A switchback climb up the other side of the crater took us through the clouds and to a couple of cold beers waiting in our car where we had initially hitchhiked to the top.
Hana is my favorite part of Maui. In stark contrast to the moon-like landscape of Haleakala, its lush green rainforest is full of hikes to waterfalls and swimming holes. The 40-mile drive along the coast offers over 50 bridges and ample opportunities to stop and enjoy the journey. Beyond the little town of Hana is the area of Kipahulu. We stayed in a little "house" perched in the trees overlooking the rugged coast and blue waters of the Pacific. Truly paradise.
It wouldn't be a trip to Maui without some quality beach time. Keawakapu is one of my favorites, especially in the morning when green sea turtles (called honu in Hawaiian) can be seen along the coast grazing on algae.
I hope I will always feel at home in the islands. I already look forward to returning to Maui. But for now, more adventures await! I have my ticket, let's go!