All the way around Haleakala

Just a couple of miles after you leave Haleakala National Park you’ll come to the turnoff for the church where Charles Lindbergh, the famous aviator, is buried. The cemetery is on the coast, with dramatic hundred-foot cliffs and huge waves crashing against them.

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Continuing on, you’ll pass more waterfalls, but eventually the tropical rainforest will start to change, and you’ll notice the land start to change. You’re coming around to the leeward, the dry side of Maui.

Sometimes you’ll find an interesting roadside stand.

The coastline is dramatic. You’ll want to stop frequently to look and take pictures.

If you keep a sharp eye out to your left, you’ll spot Huialoha Church, standing bravely on the coast since 1859.

You can visit the church and the cemetery if you wish. The entrance is down the road perhaps a half a mile from where you’ll first see the church.

If the chain is up, it’s ok to enter. Just put the chain up after you drive through. Please! Mahalo.

Sometimes you’ll even find surfers braving the rocky waters off the coast of the church.

A couple of miles past Huialoha Church you’ll come to the Kaupo General Store.

If it’s open, stop in for a cold drink and an ice cream bar. It’ll be your last chance for the next hour or so. It has a public bathroom.

The store is part store, part museum. It’s an interesting collection of Hawaiiana.

Also at Kaupo, and for the next few miles, keep your eyes peeled for Hawaii, the Big Island. It’s 26 miles away, but on a clear day you can see it, and it’s huge.

The Big Island is where you’ll find our active volcano, Mauna Loa.

The Big Island, seen from Kaupo

The Big Island

When you cross the first cattle guard, be aware that you’re now in free range cattle country, and there’s a chance you’ll see cattle and horses in the road. Drive carefully.

A Cattle Guard

Cattle Guard

A couple more miles down the road you’ll come to St. Joseph Church, built in 1862.

St. Joseph Church served a community of ranchers, fishermen and farmers for nearly 100 years, providing to the spiritual needs of the Catholic faithful in Kaupo.

The historically significant construction method of the period was that it necessitated dedicated members to dive in the ocean and bring up coral to melt into cement in order to build the church. This type of cement is part of what today still holds together the original stones used to construct the Church. Note, also, the original copper gutters and downspouts.

The church was repaired by Father Cyril Early in 1938 and re-blessed by Bishop Stephen Alencastre in May of that year. But the population in Kaupo dwindled to only a few families, and the church closed and fell into disrepair in the 1970s. During the late 1980s and early in 1990s work was done to restore the Church, culminating in the re-dedication in July of 1991.

St. Joseph’s continues to serve the faithful in the community. Mass is celebrated at 12:00 noon whenever there is a 5th Sunday of the month, followed by fellowship and a pot-luck lunch.

The church cemetery is the resting place for many of the faithfully departed of Kaupo and the gravesites are actively maintained by loved ones.

St. Joseph is located on a promontory high above the sea with a spectacular view of Hawaii’s Big Island on a clear day. Visitors are welcome to stroll the grounds where, in addition to the Church building, the walls of the former stone construction Rectory remain, as well as that of a cistern used many years ago.

A turnstile at the roadside property entrance allows access by visitors and the local community.

Many varieties of plumeria, hibiscus, bougainvillea, bird of paradise, ti leaf plants, golden shower trees and other varieties of trees and shrubbery make up the landscape of the scenic Church grounds and cemetery.

Shortly after leaving Kaupo you’ll enter ranch country. Be alert for cattle in the road, and cowboys on horses.

Sometimes the highway gets washed out by flash floods. Back here it can take the county years before they fix it.

Pahihi Gulch

Flash Flood

And then suddenly you’ll top a rise and the most amazing vista on Maui will be presented to you. It’s a true “ta-daaa” moment!

To be continued… Click here for more episodes.