I didn't want to leave Maui. After all, I had been on some long flights to get there, and I would only be returning back to my parents' house in Pennsylvania. Extending my stay was an easy decision, once I realized I could adjust my return flight without too much expense.
I booked a place near Napili-Honokowai, and so I left the scenic, remote, and tranquil East town of Hana behind for a condo on the West side of Maui.
On my way from East to West, I paid a visit to the ʻĪao Needle.
The park weds natural beauty with Hawaiian history. The famous needle is a 1,200ft high peak of eroded volcanic rock, which rises sharply out of the lush, green valley. The park is also home to the Kepaniwai Park and Heritage Gardens, which have a variety of plant species on display, though these seemed rather in need of maintenance while I was there.
As for the history, this area was historically associated with Kanaloa, the Hawaiian god of the underworld, and used as a burial ground. It is perhaps most famous for being the site of the battle of Kepaniwai in 1790, where the Maui army was defeated by Kamehameha the Great, who went on to unify the Hawaiian islands. The battle was notoriously bloody.
There's a short 0.6 mile walking trail around the site, which seemed somewhat crowded for how short it was, but no matter, it was lovely nonetheless.
There's a fee to park at the parking lot, so it seemed like quite a lot of tourists parked on the side of the road outside of the parking lot. If you can park in the parking lot, you probably shoot, because it would be good to actually pay this fee and help with upkeep of the site.
Please note that I visited this site in 2021. The monument is closed to visitors for slope stabilization and parking lot improvements from August 2022 through January 2023. Check the official website for up-to-date details.
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