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Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Maui Day IV: Northern Run

Today, we went to the I'ao Needle, expecting a fairly decent hike. It turns out that there isn't much in the way of serious hikes there, although the walk to the viewing platform is pleasant. The Iao Valley itself is very cool, with a mountainous jungly feeling that reminded me of some parts of southern China.

After visiting the Needle, and walking around the creek in the park, we got onto Route 340 and went around Maui's northwestern side. It was even trickier than the road to Hana, but also beautiful. This part of Maui is quite a bit drier than the Hana area, with lots of grassland and dry forest, as well as deep valleys and sheer cliffs.

One thing that was interesting here was the geology was somewhat different (to my untrained eye) than other parts of Hawaii. There were deep pumice deposits here, which you don't see in many other places in Hawaii, so the nearby volcano must have been more of the exploding ash variety (like the Cascade volcanoes) than the relatively gentle runny variety that you see at Kilauea and other Hawaiian volcanoes like Maui's Haleakala.

We passed around the North, making our slow and winding way, to D. T. Fleming Beach, where we tried our first significant bit of snorkeling. Snorkeling is very cool; you can look at and swim with fish! The other thing is the fish seem to ignore you; they go about their business seemingly undisturbed by your presence. In my experience, this never happens on land...

The surf at DT Fleming is a bit rough for my wife, but she still swam a bit.

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