Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Hoapili Trail

Ok, next up are some photos from the Hoapili Trail along the desolate and volcanic south end of Maui, just down the road from the Kihei/Wailea/Makena area -- and I think it may be a continuation of that road. The trail is a former royal road from the early 19th century, and where the parts further north were paved and widened and eventually surrounded by golf courses and surf shops, apparently nobody has wanted or needed a better road than this south of La Perouse Bay over the last two centuries, so it's survived in its original form and now serves as a rather unique hiking trail. I was kind of impressed by it as an engineering feat: They managed to build a largely flat and ruler-straight road across an endless lava plain of fist-sized rocks, strictly with manual labor and no modern construction gear. I mean, it's still made with fist-sized rocks; there's nothing that can really be done about that. In several sections of the road to the trailhead, you can see where the state tried to sort of just pave over top of the piled lava rocks, and the resulting road is not fabulous. So expect sore feet after hiking this trail, and expect to not go as far or as fast as you usually would on a flat trail. On the other hand, the trail itself is a unique experience, and it offers great views of the lava fields trailing down from the south face of Haleakala, along with four of the other major islands (Hawaii, Kahoolawe, Lanai, & Molokai) as well as the tiny island of Molokini. The navigational light shown on the trail map is just that, an automated light, not a picturesque lighthouse or anything. It's useful as a landmark to stop and turn around at, in an area without a lot of landmarks, but you aren't going to get a viral Instagram photo out of it, or at least I didn't. I did attempt sketching the island of Kahoolawe on a cool tablet computer I bought recently, only to be reminded I never could draw worth a damn, and I'm not any better at it on eInk than I am on paper. Oh well.