As I said in my Maui Part I Post, our honeymoon was such a perfect balance of adventure and leisure! Our time spent up in the "Upcountry," by Haleākala, Paia and Makawao, was enriched with a pioneering and local feel. We loved the daring trek through Haleākala National Park where Mark Twain famously watched the sunrise, calling it the most "sublime spectacle" he had ever seen, back in the 1880s. It was certainly a sublime experience of all extremes - extreme cold, extreme wind, extreme natural elements. We did not see the sunrise (bummer!) but got to still hear the famous sunrise chant, see the foggy orange and pinks beyond the grey clouds, and felt the ice cold splinters of rain hit our faces.
Towns like Makawao and Paia really do feel like they are Hawaiian frontier towns. It forces you to wonder what old Hawaiian missionary towns must have looked like, what faces and souls traveled through these places. I loved seeing clucking roosters strutting through the streets; vintage pickup trucks humming around. The town of Makawao was filled with so many wonders, and we only had limited time there - I am itching to go back and explore the coffee culture, general store, and the cuisine.
Paia was also cool! The best part was absolutely the coffee. It is a not-so-secret gem that I think often gets touted as a hidden wonder in travel books, but it is definitely worth stopping. Nearby Hookipa Beach is famous for its windsurfers and giant sea turtles that hang out on the beach. Paia Fish House (not pictured) was recommended and highly praised in several blogs and websites, but we weren't all enthralled with it - it was loud, crowded, and not at all what we were expecting! BUT, it was a fantastic meal for a good price.
The upcountry, in all of its wild nature, was what complete our trip to Maui - it is an unmistakably different feel from the rest of the island. The foreign-looking flowers and mimosa trees, the ranches and farms, and all of the windy hills are what make the upcountry so rugged. It's like an untouched microcosm that is so different from the resorts on the rest of the island.