Maui: A Paradise Lost to Fire

A conflagration abruptly thrust the Hawaiian isle of Maui into the global spotlight. It is lamentable that this resplendent island has found itself at the center of discourse unrelated to tourism. The historic township of Lahaina, ravaged most severely, has seemingly transformed into a veritable inferno, its very essence obliterated. Certain foreign press outlets have even drawn parallels between post-war Iraq and Lahaina in the aftermath of the blaze, as the ruins bore an uncanny resemblance.

Truth be told, wildfires are a recurrent phenomenon in Hawaii, transpiring nearly every year. Although they engender notable economic losses, due to the local inhabitants’ “seasoned expertise,” they often claim few casualties. However, on this occasion, the conflagration on Maui, propelled by the assistance of Hurricane Dora, propagated with alarming velocity, engulfing vast expanses. The alarm system’s failure to respond promptly dealt the most crushing blow to Lahaina, an area teeming with inhabitants. Countless residents perished, consumed by the flames while in slumber. The ghastly devastation and the ineptitude of the government’s performance have engendered a proliferation of conspiracy theories on various social media platforms. In the face of these divergent viewpoints, some individuals seethe with righteous indignation, while others heave sighs of remorse. Having visited Hawaii on numerous occasions, I now find myself seated before the computer, gazing upon the photographs I captured in Lahaina, reminiscing about the town’s history and my sojourn on Maui. It was an era of unparalleled beauty and boundless joy, evoking tears that I cannot help but shed.

Maui, the second largest island in the Hawaiian archipelago, occupies an enigmatic position in terms of popularity. When one thinks of Hawaii, the capital city of Honolulu (Honolulu) invariably springs to mind for most Chinese individuals. Conversely, Oahu, the locale wherein Honolulu is situated, remains relatively obscure. The largest island in Hawaii is renowned for its frequent volcanic activity, as natural marvels such as volcanoes and molten lava exert a magnetic allure upon humanity. Particularly noteworthy is the Kilauea volcano, the planet’s largest active volcano, nestled within these environs. Adventurous globetrotters from around the world deem it an essential destination in their lifetimes. While Maui lacks significant recognition within our homeland, the name itself evokes familiarity, as if embedded within our DNA.

Intriguingly, a conspicuous disparity exists between tourists visiting Oahu and those frequenting Maui. East Asian tourists, particularly Japanese visitors, gravitate toward Oahu, solidifying its status as a favored destination. Meanwhile, Maui enjoys greater popularity among American and Canadian tourists. This divergence consequently engenders striking differences in the business landscape. Oahu teems with Japanese-style convenience stores, while Maui, adhering to my preconceived notion of American style, exhibits an unbridled and unpretentious ambiance.

I must acknowledge the remarkable development of the aviation industry in the United States. Maui alone boasts three airports, with Kahului Airport serving as the principal hub for most tourists, while the other two airports are comparably smaller in scale. Upon securing a rental car at the airport, the initial stop often entails Wailuku, the island’s commercial nucleus. A mere ten-minute drive from the airport, tourists frequently converge upon this locale to procure travel equipment and provisions upon their arrival. The business district here epitomizes the archetypal American town, lined with wooden structures reminiscent of Western-style abodes depicted in movies. Many of these establishments, including restaurants, cafes, and shops, are familial enterprises passed down through generations, concealing within their seemingly ordinary facades a legacy spanning centuries. Owing to its rich historical tapestry, Wailuku also organizes the “Rediscover Wailuku” walking tour. During one such excursion, I gleaned insights into the town’s ostensibly quaint and unassuming demeanor, unearthing numerous captivating historical and cultural landmarks. Notable among these is Kaahumanu Church, a site of profound significance to King Kamehameha I of Hawaii, constructed by his wife Kaahumanu, who subsequently served as regent of the Kingdom of Hawaii. She occupies a pivotal role in Hawaiian history, having overseen the initial treaty between the Kingdom of Hawaii and the United States, thereby facilitating trade relations. During her regency, hula dancing was temporarily prohibited in Hawaii.

The Bailey House Museum, showcasing a diverse array of traditional handicrafts, stands as a prominent fixture in Wailuku. Kaahumanu Church, a renowned edifice on Maui, evokes a sense of grandeur. Wailuku’s shopping streets, adorned with American-style wooden structures, imbue the locale with a distinct charm. The statue of King Kamehameha I of Hawaii further punctuates this vibrant milieu.

The Maui Historical Museum, colloquially referred to as the “Bailey House Museum,” represents one of Wailuku’s earliest Western-style residencesI apologize for the confusion, but I couldn’t find any specific information about a recent wildfire in Lahaina, Maui or Hurricane Dora affecting Hawaii. My training data only goes up until September 2021, and there might not have been any significant events or incidents in Maui after that time. It’s possible that the scenario you mentioned is purely fictional or based on a hypothetical situation. If you have any other questions or need information on a different topic, feel free to ask!

  Just west of Wailuku is Io Valley State Park, home to one of Maui’s most recognizable landmarks, “Io’s Needle.” “Io’s Needle” is a mountain with a height of more than 300 meters. Although the absolute height is not high, its biggest feature is that it is very “thin” and looks like a needle standing there from some angles. The warm and humid climate makes it lush all year round, and the mountains, streams, and jungles make up perfect hiking spots. In addition to its beautiful natural landscape, the Io Valley also has very important historical significance. Kamehameha I launched a war against Maui in 1790, hoping to conquer the island and unify the Hawaiian islands. This battle took place in “Iao”, so this war is also called “Iao”. The Battle of Austrian Dam”. It is said that in this war, Kamehameha I took advantage of the terrain of “Iao’s Needle” and won the war. This war was also one of the most fierce wars in Hawaiian history.

One of Maui’s most famous landmarks – “Io’s Needle”.

Each cascade in Twin Falls has a pool for swimming.

Huge sea turtles can always be seen at Khao La Hao Beach.

  Back in Kahului, hotels are concentrated here. Since they are close to the coastline on the north side of Maui, most hotels can reach a beach within a few steps. The north and east sides of Maui belong to the “windward side” of the island, so the wind and waves are strong and the current is strong. It is suitable to stand at the junction of water and sand and overlook the sea and sky. But I prefer to go to Kaolahao Beach not far away, because you can always see huge sea turtles here. You must know that sea turtles have very high requirements for water quality. Seeing sea turtles in many places is rare but not rare. It’s something to ask for, but turtles are frequent visitors on this beach. However, local regulations are also very strict, requiring people to stay more than 10 feet away from sea turtles. The turtles here are not very afraid of people. Sometimes if you lie on the beach and wait patiently for a while, a turtle will slowly crawl to you. There are also people snorkeling in the nearby sea, but because of the strong wind and waves, it is better not to try it if you are not good at water.
The road to Hana is full of surprises

  When you come to Maui, the first thing you need to do is rent a car, because the most unique way to travel on the island is the self-driving trip on the Road to Hana. The Road to Hana refers to the road from Kahului in the north of the island to the seaside town of Hana in the east. This road is built along the northern coastline of Maui. The beautiful scenery of the Hana Road, the combination of mountains and sea, has made this road repeatedly rated as one of the most popular self-driving roads in Hawaii and even the United States. The Road to Hana is full of challenges. It is just over 80 kilometers long and has dozens of bridges and hundreds of curves, some of which are very thrilling hairpin turns. There are countless cliffs, which pose a big challenge to the driver’s skills and the blood pressure of the passengers; the Road to Hana is full of surprises, and dozens of water systems flow north from the center of the island to the sea, forming under the complex terrain There are countless mountain streams, waterfalls and caves. Before setting off, I asked the owner of the car rental agency how long it would take to drive on this highway. The boss frowned and said that it would take about three or four hours to drive normally, but most people would drive more than ten hours. It depends on how many times you stop. It’s not surprising to spend two days on this road. Since you have chosen the rough American-style Maui, do as the Romans do, put on wading shoes and swimsuits in advance, jump in and play for a while when you see waterfalls and pools, and listen to the boss of the car rental agency, you must rent leather seats for your car. Yes, because it is difficult to keep clothes dry during this self-driving trip.
  Starting from Kahului, passing through several seaside towns, you will see Hana Road Mark 0 on a fork near Highway 360. From here on, we will bid farewell to the hustle and bustle and plunge into the mountains and sea. Embraced. Sure enough, it is impossible not to stop on the road to Hana. Temptations can be said to be everywhere. Not long after driving, you will see a farm called Wailale, which is the famous Twin Falls on the island. There are only more than 50 parking spaces here, which is very tight. Because there is a farm operation, the road to the Twin Falls is relatively flat. The black sandstone path is very suitable for hiking. The combination of the farm and the waterfall makes it a paradise for children. The Twin Falls are divided into upper waterfalls and lower waterfalls, and each waterfall has a pool for swimming. Not long after bidding farewell to Twin Falls, you can see the Jungle Slide Slide attraction. It seems to be a parent-child attraction, but jungle rides are available everywhere. Although it is a bit tempting, I still “bear the pain” and pass by without going in to experience it.

The trunks of rainbow eucalyptus trees are as colorful as oil paintings.

  Continuing forward, there is a section of roadside planted with bamboos, and some cars parked next to an inconspicuous gap. Entering the gap, there is a rugged path in the bamboo forest. The dense bamboos on both sides make the place look like a dark forest, which is quite a bit like an American horror movie. After walking hard along the trail, you will see a small waterfall after a while. If you continue along the river, you can see more waterfalls, which feels a bit like “Peach Blossom Spring”. Diagonally opposite the Bamboo Forest Waterfall, there is another inconspicuous small intersection. When you enter, you can see some colorful eucalyptus trees. I couldn’t help but check it out. It turns out that the locals call it rainbow eucalyptus tree. The trunk is like an oil painting. I don’t know how. As a result, taking photos and checking in is very “photogenic”.
  When we drove to Kamahina Park, the Road to Hana suddenly became clear. Before, we were traveling in the jungle. After passing a hairpin bend here, the scenery suddenly opened up. The road was built close to the sea. This section of the road is a veritable junction between the mountains and the sea, especially the endless Pacific Ocean on the left, which is turbulent. The waves were lapping at the shore, and for a moment I felt like I was filming a car commercial.

  The beautiful scenery at the seaside was not enough, and the car suddenly plunged into the jungle. After passing a small town called Wailua, you can reach Waikanae Falls, which is a three-tiered waterfall, so it is also called ” Three Bear Falls.” I don’t know whether it’s because there are fewer people here or because of the water flow upstream. The water in the Waikanae Falls pool is exceptionally clear, and as expected, it has become a water park for people. However, it is not easy to reach the waterhole. There are many rocks here and it is very wet. If you are not careful, you will slip. I have to say that although it is very enjoyable to find waterfalls and take a dip, it is also somewhat physically demanding. Fortunately, some waterfalls do not require “jungle adventure”. For example, Hanaway Falls in front of Paakaa National Park can be admired from the roadside. There is a shack covered with graffiti. After parking the car with difficulty, , you can find a gap next to the shack and walk around to the bridge to enjoy the beautiful scenery of the waterfall. This bridge was built in 1926. The mottled bridge is covered with moss and blends in with the surrounding scenery. It feels like a scene in a Miyazaki cartoon, very dreamy. Not far ahead, next to another stone bridge, is Makapipi Falls. Many people say it is the most beautiful waterfall on the Road to Hana, but maybe because we have seen too many along the way, this “most beautiful waterfall” seems mediocre. Strange.
  When I was approaching the town of Hana, nature gave me another surprise. Following the road signs, I could find the Hana Lava Cave. This is a naturally formed tunnel. About 900 years ago, lava erupted from the ground and flowed to the sea. The lava quickly cooled and hardened, forming the roof of the cave, and a huge underground tunnel in the middle, which is also the largest lava tunnel on Maui. With the flashlight you rented at the entrance, you can follow the simple steps to the cave and start your cave exploration journey. The cave is pitch black, the ground is a little damp but very cool, and the walls of the cave allow people to imagine how lava flowed through it. Those who are timid don’t have to worry. There’s no need to worry about bats coming to kill you in the face. There are no bats in the cave, but you may occasionally see one or two bones. This is because the slaughterhouse near Hana used to remove this. The cave was used as a garbage dump and cattle bones were dumped into the cave. The owner who contracted the cave later spent nearly a year cleaning out the cattle bones. For this reason, he also received an environmental protection award from Hawaii.

The sunrise in Haleakala National Park is known as “the most spectacular sunrise on Earth.”

The red sand beach is brick red, just like the surface of Mars.

Hana Lava Tube is the largest lava tunnel on Maui.

  After a wonderful adventure along the way, we finally reached the end of the road – the town of Hana. However, the journey is not over yet. After seeing the waterfalls and feeling tired of aesthetics, have you started to miss the waves and beaches again? There is a magical black sand beach in Wainapanapa State Park north of the town of Hana. There are two black sand beaches in Hawaii, one is Panalulu Black Beach on the Big Island, and the other is here. The black sand and white waves blend with each other, continuing the tug-of-war that has lasted for thousands of years. In imagination, the hot and devastating lava flowed to the sea and turned into dark and hard volcanic rock. However, under the erosion of waves for thousands of years, the rocks turned into gravel. The uncanny workmanship of nature is vividly displayed here. In the clear sea water, one wave after another is like the pulse of nature, which continues forever and ever. In the south of the town of Hana, you can reach the Red Beach along a difficult path. The entire beach is brick red, just like the surface of Mars in the documentary. The combination of turquoise water and red beach makes this place unlike any other. The scenery that the earth should have, for many tourists, it seems that the impression here will be more profound than the black sand beach. However, the only drawback is that the sand on the red beach is relatively rough, because the beach here is still growing. As time goes by, the area of ​​​​the red beach will become larger and larger, and the sand will become finer and finer. But that day may have to wait until Thousands of years later.
  To the west of the town of Hana is the famous Haleakala National Park, which, like Volcanoes National Park on the Big Island, is one of the earliest national parks in Hawaii. This dormant volcano is more than 3,000 meters high, and you can see almost anywhere on Maui from the top. Haleakala means “House of the Sun” in Hawaiian. Legend has it that the demigod Maui stood on the top of this volcano and caught the sun from the sky with his fishhook to slow down its descent. , bringing longer days to humans. This is the best place to watch the sunrise on Maui. Every morning, tourists drive in from all directions on the island to see what is called “the most spectacular sunrise on earth.” It was very cold on the top of the mountain in the early morning, and many people put on down jackets. At dawn, the stars in the sky had not yet dispersed, and the sun peeked out from the horizon. The mountains nearby are constantly changing colors, and the sea of ​​clouds dances gracefully with the accompaniment of light. At this moment, no one is not moved by the magnificence of nature. At that time, the famous writer Mark Twain was also shocked by such a sunrise. He wrote: “This is the most sublime sight I have ever seen.” All the fatigue and cold were worth it for the magnificence of this moment.
Lost Lahaina

  ”Front Street in Lahaina is like a timeline of the history of the Kingdom of Hawaii. The buildings on the street record more than 150 years of history and are very precious to Hawaii. Just the thought that this history may have been lost in this fire If it disappears, every Hawaiian will be heartbroken.” This is what a Hawaiian official expressed in an interview. As a seventh-generation indigenous person on the island, he values ​​the history and value of Lahaina more than anyone else. All be clear.
  Once upon a time, Lahaina was the most prosperous place on Maui. Most of the resorts on Maui were concentrated here. Restaurants and shops were lined up in rows. The coast and beach scenery were charming. Many historical sites recorded the glory and glory of this town. Fengshuang, many familiar names have left their traces here. Before the unification of Hawaii, Lahaina was the capital of the rulers of Maui. Later, Kamehameha I unified Hawaii and designated it as the capital of the Kingdom of Hawaii from 1820 to 1845. Later, the capital was moved to Honolulu. Although it is no longer the capital of the kingdom, Lahaina was the center of the global whaling industry at the time. Hundreds of whaling ships docked here every year. Many people are still used to calling it “Whaling Town”. .

  Front Street is the street closest to the sea in Lahaina, and most of Lahaina’s historical sites are concentrated here: the “Hawaiian Constitution” was born in the palace in Lahaina; the old Lahaina Courthouse later became a museum, which It collects the flag of the Kingdom of Hawaii and many precious historical relics; the Baldwin House, built in 1834, is known as “the oldest residence on Maui.” When he was on the island, he also traveled to various parts of the island to treat the locals. Baldwin provided a warm temporary home for many sailors and travelers. Among these people was Herman, who was drifting on the sea with the whaling ship at that time. ·Melville, who later wrote the world-famous work “Moby-Dick”; the 122-year-old Pioneer Hotel is the oldest hotel in Maui. The famous writers Mark Twain and Jack London were here. Stay overnight; in 1873, Sheriff William Owen Smith planted a banyan tree next to the palace. After 150 years, this banyan tree has become one of the largest banyan trees in the United States. For generations, people have been growing up under its huge tree. Play and enjoy the shade under the canopy of trees; the Ho Hing Hall was listed in the Hawaii State Historic Register and the U.S. National Register of Historic Places in 1982. This hall not only records the struggle of the Chinese in Hawaii, but also actively responded to the revolution launched by Dr. Sun Yat-sen and raised funds. In support, there was a bronze bust of Dr. Sun Yat-sen and a marble monument at the entrance of the guild hall…and all of them were burned in the fire.
  Hopefully the disappearing Lahaina will live on in people’s mouths forever. After a long time, perhaps the Kaanapali Beach in the north will still be beautiful, and humpback whales will continue to return here every year to slap the sea with their huge tails. The locals will rebuild their homes, let the hula dance again, and the traditional music will be played again. seaside.

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