On the slopes of Haleakala Crater at 6,2000 feet is the Polipoli State Park recreational area. Bordering the Kula Forest Reserve, the 10 acre park is a protected bird sanctuary. The Hawaiian word "polipoli" translates to "bosom."
The forest is a delight of exotic trees, cypress, sugi, ash, plum, cedar and pine. The redwoods are quite impressive. They tower over the other trees, with a seemingly strong root system. Many of the trees have toppled, leaving large exposed root balls. There is even a new sign posted that warns hikers of the danger of falling trees.
Two years ago there was a devastating forest fire on the slopes of Haleakala at the 6,000 foot level. Many trees were torched, and a lot of dead trees are still standing. A reforestation effort is under way. The koa tree, ( an acaia) a Hawaii native that is listed as endangered, is now being planted on the slopes. Large boars roam these forests and hill sides, and tend to root around the newly planted koa trees. Luckily, the koa trees are rather quick growing.
The park has several forested trails. One of my favorite trails winds through the redwoods and passes through an area of very, very tall flowering blue and purple hydrangeas. and, pink and red fuchsias. If it is a wet year, this particular area can be a riot of color. Two old picturesque 1930's CCC cabins are set along this trail. The trails are often shrouded in mist, making these hikes peaceful, with abundant greenery. The 5 mile hike around the park boundary is a great work out. On the exposed ridge of the boundary trail, the Big Island of Hawaii is visible on a clear day. Hiking prepared with layers, gortex, and maybe a fleece vest is recommended. It can get quite cold at this elevation.
Besides hiking, several trails are designated for mountain biking. I personally do not mountain bike, but the trails are acclaimed by those in the know.
From the B&B in Makawao, the drive is about 45 minutes long. The road, once it turns into dirt, can be challenging for small cars . The road does continue on to wrap around into some very rough 4x4 roads that lead up the side of the mountain.
Until next time, Happy Hiking, and Happy Holidays!
A hui ho,