on January 16, 2009
On our first trip to Maui the Tour director took us directly from the airport to the ‘Iao Needle. What an exotic beginning to a trip! This trip we saved it for our last day. Headed for the airport we had lots of time to kill between hotel checkout time and airport check-in time (one of the biggest frustrations of traveling here). You never, ever want to leave all your stuff in the car and be out of sight of the car. We have talked to too many people who had a great trip until the last day when they were ripped off while shopping or lunching or beaching. At the ‘Iao Needle one of us stayed with the car while the other one hiked up the trail. There is no fee for the park.The Iao Needle is a monolith rising from the floor of stream fed valley. It is a deceptively peaceful area, lush green with lovely flowering plants and lively water over a bolder strewn streambed. This was also an historical site. It was here that Kamehameha the Great backed the Maui tribesmen up this valley where they were then slaughtered. It was one of the bloodiest battles in the "unification" process that joined all the islands under Kamehameha’s rule. There is now a recreation of a Maui "pre-European discovery" settlement alongside the streambed. That includes flooded taro beds and other plants used for food and objects for daily living. The day we visited there were busloads of school kids visiting, too. What a great learning experience.Leaving the area you can make a side trip through the Heritage Gardens Park. Another nearby attraction we have visited and enjoyed is the Bailey House Museum on Main Street in Wailuku.
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