The Hawaiian Islands are known for their beautiful sandy beaches, warm, tropical weather, and relaxing atmosphere. If you venture out of your hotel and off the beaches, you may also get a chance to see some of the unique flora and fauna that calls Hawaii home. Besides the sandy beaches, Hawaii is also home to at least one volcano on each island, as well as rainforests and a whole range of other environments where unique plants and creatures may be seen.
Climbing the Knob
The farther north we drive along Maui's western coastline, the sparser the hotels and resorts become. Soon they are replaced by dense coastal foliage. Eventually even the highway morphs into a narrow one lane road snaking through the hills and cliffs. We stop to buy banana bread and sliced pineapple from locals along the roadside. Soon after we arrive at the Knob. Part hill, part cliff, it rises almost vertically up from the coastline, projecting out into the ocean where ferocious breakers crash at its base.
The Road to Hana pt. 3: Hiking Pipiwai Trail
In the Kipahulu area of Haleakalā National Park, Pipiwai Trail climbs 650 ft. over 2 miles through bamboo forests to Waimoku Falls. Hiking through a bamboo forest is like hiking through a fantasy landscape. On parts of the trail, the pungent aroma of fermenting berries is overwhelming. Other parts of the trail drop 100's of feet into a steep ravine mere yards away, concealed by the dense undergrowth. Bamboo, called 'Ohe by the native Hawaiians, was reportedly one of the original plants brought by canoe when Polynesians first settled the Hawaiian islands. Now thick bamboo forests cover much of the Hawaiian geography.