The Island Of Maui

In the beginning, there was Pu’u Kukui, the now extinct volcano that created what is now West Maui. Then there was mighty Haleakala, the now dormant volcano that created East Maui. Then there was an isthmus connecting the two landmasses, created by matter that had eroded from the slopes of the opposing volcanoes.

Combined, they form today’s Maui, the Valley Isle, the second-largest island in the Hawaiian chain at 728.8 square miles.

Contained within Maui’s shores are a remarkable variety of settings, a feature that makes recreational pursuits here seem boundless.

Tropical rain forests climb the slopes reaching up from the windward shores of East Maui. Further up the terrain turns alpine, where evergreens flourish and enters the lunar climes of Haleakala Crater, where the island’s highest point, the lookout at Pu’u Ulaula, looms 10,023 feet above sea level. At this altitude snowfall occurs occasionally.

The western slopes of Haleakala are rugged, desolate lava fields and desert lands that would seem more appropriate to Arizona.

Erosion, brought about by 400 inches of rain annually, has sculpted sharp peaks and valleys in the West Maui mountains, coloring the faces emerald.

Fabulous white sand beaches fringe the west-facing shores where the sun shines most of the year. Lava cliffs rise up from the north shores. Black sand graces some of the beaches eastward, as does red.

Harbors break the reef windward in Kahului and leeward in Maalaea and Lahaina.

The windswept central valley is carpeted with undulated sugar cane. Also centrally, as well as northerly, fields of pineapple flourish. Tracts of ranchland score the slopes of the volcanoes.

At the northern end of the valley are the business and population centers of Kahului, where the main airport is located, and contiguous Wailuku, the county seat. At the south end is Maalaea, the little harbor village, and Kihei, a former desert that now boasts one of the fastest growth rates on the island.

On the shores stretching farthest east is Hana, called “the last Hawaiian place.”

This is Paradise, sought out by those seeking pleasure from around the world. With such a variety of elements composing its tapestry, can it be any wonder why Maui has come to be known as “No Ka ‘Oi” or simply, “the best.”