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Hawaii's adventure islands: Lanai and Molokai.

In Hawaiian legend, Lanai and Molokai share a long, dark past. Man-eating spirits and fiendish ghouls dissuaded intruders from invading Lanai's spiny mountain strongholds and wooded gulches. And on Molokai known as Pule-oo ("Effective Prayer") inhabitants were protected by the formidable reputations of potent kahuna (priests) working in the shadowy depths of secluded valleys.

Perhaps it's coincidence, but the two islands remain the least touristed of Hawaii's major islands. They're served by regular interisland flights and have hotels and car rentals, but you won't find any freeways, stoplights, elevators, nightclubs, shopping centers, or supermarkets.

What you will find is a Hawaii little changed over the centuries: long stretches of empty beach, windswept headlands, and remnants of history hiding among tangled ferns and mangroves. A vacation here is characterized by rural simplicity, ohana (sense of family), aloha (love, understanding), and adventure. These same attractions, however, are tempting developers, too. Dramatic increases in tourism could be just around the corner.

Day trips from neighbor islands can let you sample the pleasures of Lanai and Molokai, but to get a real feel for the easy pace of life you'll need a few days--or more. This will give you time to explore little-traveled jeep tracks to empty beaches, to snorkel in rocky coves filled with a rainbow of reef fish, and to hike through misty rain forests of trees, silvery-stalked lilies, and man-size ferns.

Days pass gently here. These islands offer a peaceful, picturesque place to vacation. The next four pages offer our suggestions for discovering the essence of the islands, though by no means a comprehensive guide to visitor attractions.

For help in arranging a visit airlines, accommodations, car or jeep rentals, essential topographical maps, and so on turn to page 52. A victim of its reputation as a dull place covered with pineapples, Lanai does, in fact, boast the world's largest pineapple plantation 14,000 cultivated acres and 90 percent of U.S. production. But the island's other 74,000 acres are distinctly on the wild side, with prehistoric and historic ruins, offshore shipwrecks, upland meadows, deep gulches, and treasures left by the tides to beckon beachcombers.

Except for the state-owned harbor area at Manele Bay, the entire island is private property. Tourists are technically guests of owner Castle & Cooke, Inc., and its Dole subsidiary. The only hotel (the 11room Hotel Lanai) has housed hunters, businessmen, and other adventurous visitors since the 1920s. Its veranda is still the local gathering spot for evening conversation, its dining room the island's only restaurant, Fare is simple but delicious fresh fish, grilled steak, homemade pies.

An island-wide master plan includes two new hotels. Expected by summer, an elegant 102-room lodge outside Lanai City will provide dramatic contrast to the rustic Hotel Lanai. By summer 1991, a second luxury hotel will open overlooking Hulopoe Beach.

To explore Lanai, we suggest three daytrips: over jeep roads to an ancient fishing village on the black lava cliffs of the southern shore, to a windswept north shore beach, or along the forested backbone of Lanai's single mountain range.

The Hotel Lanai will pack lunch for you, but you can also supply yourself at Lanai City's Pine Isle Market or Richards Shopping Center, both on Eighth Street facing the green and both open at 8 A.M. Dahang's Bakery, just across the green, opens for breakfast at 5:30; you may want to try its Filipino pastries.

Jeeps are essential for the day trips we recommend (see page 52). We give detailed directions from Lanai City All pineapple roads tend to look alike to firsttime visitors, so take the time to spot specific landmarks. Take food and water when you go, and be ready to get dusty you simply can't avoid it if you want to have any fun. Some of Hawaii's best-preserved ruins dot the eastern bluffs of Kaunolu Bay: house sites, and animal pens, graves, shrines (heiau) of a centuries-old fishing village. From the bluff, a manmade notch in the rocks some 60 feet above the sea frames fin-shaped Kaneapua Rock. Some of Kamehameha's warriors proved their valer by diving from the opening, but you can use it as backdrop for a quiet lunch. Just inland, rock stacks mark numerous wellpreserved prehistoric petroglyphs. (Some petroglyphs have been newly etched by vandals. The old ones are harder to spot than the unweathered fakes.)

Descend the hill to the beach and walk right around the base of the cliff to the tidepools below. The black lava-rock pools simmer with life old and new coral, urA victim of its reputation as a dull place covered with pineapples, Lanai does, in fact, boast the world's largest pineapple plantation 14,000 cultivated acres and 90 percent of U.S. production. But the island's other 74,000 acres are distinctly on the wild side, with prehistoric and historic ruins, offshore shipwrecks, upland meadows, deep gulches, and treasures left by the tides to beckon beachcombers.

Except for the state-owned harbor area at Manele Bay, the entire island is private property. Tourists are technically guests of owner Castle & Cooke, Inc., and its Dole subsidiary. The only hotel (the 11room Hotel Lanai) has housed hunters, businessmen, and other adventurous visitors since the 1920s. Its veranda is still the local gathering spot for evening conversation, its dining room the island's only restaurant. Fare is simple but deliciousfresh fish, grilled steak, homemade pies. An island-wide master plan includes two new hotels. Expected by summer, an elegant 102-room lodge outside Lanai City will provide dramatic contrast to the rustic Hotel Lanai. By summer 1991, a second luxury hotel will open overlooking Hulopoe Beach.

To explore Lanai, we suggest three daytrips: over jeep roads to an ancient fishing village on the black lava cliffs of the southern shore, to a windswept north shore beach, or along the forested backbone of Lanai's single mountain range.

The Hotel Lanai will pack lunch for you, but you can also supply yourself at Lanai City's Pine Isle Market or Richards Shopping Center, both on Eighth Street facing the green and both open at 8 A.M. Dahang's Bakery, just across the green, opens for breakfast at 5:30; you may want to try its Filipino pastries.

Jeeps are essential for the day trips we recommend (see page 52). We give detailed directions from Lanai City. All pineapple roads tend to look alike to firsttime visitors, so take the time to spot specific landmarks. Take food and water when you go, and be ready to get dustyyou simply can't avoid it if you want to have any fun. Some of Hawaii's best-preserved ruins dot the eastern bluffs of Kaunolu Bay: house sites, and animal pens, graves, shrines (heiau) of a centuries-old fishing village. From the bluff, a manmade notch in the rocks some 60 feet above the sea frames fin-shaped Kaneapua Rock. Some of Kamehameha's warriors proved their valor by diving from the opening, but you can use it as backdrop for a quiet lunch. Just inland, rock stacks mark numerous wellpreserved prehistoric petroglyphs. (Some petroglyphs have been newly etched by vandals. The old ones are harder to spot than the unweathered fakes.)

Descend the hill to the beach and walk right around the base of the cliff to the tidepools below. The black lava-rock pools simmer with life old and new coral, urchins, small fish, sea cucumbers, crabs. You can easily spend a half-day here. Getting there: From Lanai City, drive to the airport. Just before the terminal, you'll cross a stone bridge; turn right onto a pineapple road leading toward the runway. Follow the road along the fence and around the end of the runway.

Bear left on the nearer of two parallel roads leading away from the runway. Turn left at the first major intersection. Cross a ditch marked with orange standpipes and turn right; follow the road around the edge of the pineapple field. Turn right on the signed jeep track to Kaunolu. Once a famous nesting beach for endangered green sea turtles, Polihua now hosts only skittering ghost crabs. Unprotected by reef, it is unsafe for swimming at any time. But its crystal-clear water and wide views of southern Molokai, the moldering hulk of a 1950s oil tanker offshore, and some of the island's best beachcombing are several good reasons to visit this 1 1/2mile beach. Rare finds include Japanese handblown glass fishing floats, and rarer pelagic paper nautilus shells. October through April, when frequent kona (leeward) winds bring calm weather, this unpopulated beach is also a good place to spot whales (the rest of the year, predominant trade winds make it inhospitable).

Getting there: From the end of Fraser Avenue in Lanai City, drive north into pineapple fields. At the first telephone pole immediately beyond the end of the pavement, bear left on the main track. At the first crossroads, turn right and keep the ridge of Lanai's mountains on your right through the fields. The road crosses a thick stand of brushy ironwood trees.

Pass Lapaiki and Awatua roads on the right; then a sign points to Polihua Road dead ahead. Up to this point, the road is in good shape; it gets increasingly rough. Bear right at an unmarked fork, and again where Kaena Road branches left.

About 1 1/2 miles beyond Kaena Road, we parked at the roadside and walked the rest of the way to the beach. The road is passable, but so rough that walking is likely to be faster-and give you a chance of sighting the elusive Mouflon sheep, When you reach the sand, the main arc of beach is to the right, a series of coves to the left. It takes about an hour to drive one way; allow a whole day to enjoy the beach. The Munro jeep trail follows the spiny ridge of Lanai's mountains, You'll drive through grassland and eucalyptus-lined gullies, traverse the island's highest point- 3,370-foot Lanaihale-and return through fields of pineapples.

Hauola and Maunalei gulches offer spectacular sights. More than 1,500 feet deep, they both drop so steeply that you have to creep to the edges to look down. You'll also see ridgetop stands of Norfolk and Cook Island pines; imported and planted by New Zealander George Munro, the trees attract moisture and help provide a firm watershed.

If you're a hiker, the North Hauola Trail is a rewarding challenge. It leads 2 miles down the ridge between Hauola and Maunalei gulches to clear-weather views of Oahu, Molokai, Maui, Kahoolawe, and occasionally Hawaii. Start early (clouds close in each afternoon), and bring long pants and boots. Ferns, thimbleberries, and ohia partly obscure the trail from the outset, and mudholes in the very wet first mile may challenge your agility. You'll want to turn back at the eucalyptus grove (you will have seen the views by then); the trail deteriorates badly beyond.

Getting there: From Lanai City, drive north on paved Keomuku Road. After passing Koele on the right and a hunting range on the left, turn right on the first paved road. The pavement ends at a cemetery, where a wooden sign points ahead for the Munro Trail (stay on the main track; there are many side roads).

In your vehicle, follow the main track through forested gullies to the ridgetop. For the hike, look for the turnout just before the road begins its winding climb up Lanaihale. The well-worn trail is unmarked and overgrown in places; your topo map will be crucial (if you can't read one, ask for help at the hotel before you start out). From the turnout, drive up Lanaihale, along the ridge, then down the mountain. On the descent, you'll pass several pullouts with singular views. Through a eucalyptus grove at the bottom, you enter a network of pineapple roads. Follow the most-used tracks back to Manele Road. Hawaii's history is abundantly evident on Molokai. Strung along its south coast are the state's largest and best-preserved ancient fish ponds (two are on the National Register of Historic Places). Numerous heiau attest to the ancient activities of kahuna, while tiny churches date from later appearances by missionaries.

Accommodation choices are wider here than on Lanai. The one full-fledged resort already in place, the Kaluakoi (including a hotel and two condominium complexes) occupies part of the island's west end; here, you can easily spend a week at the frontier between luxury and wildland, Right near Kaunakakai are four more places to stay all on the ocean side of Kamehameha V Highway (450). The Pau Hana Inn and Hotel Molokai both serve meals. (For hotel and condo details, see page 52.) Kaunakakai's main street boasts four eateries. The Mid-Nite Inn serves three meals daily except Sundays, when it closes at midday; try the excellent fresh fish with rice and kim chee. There and at the remodeled Hop Inn (Chinese), most dishes cost less than $10. Kanemitsu Bakery is well known for its Molokai breads (try the cheese and onion); it opens at 5:30 A.M., but locals gather around midnight to buy bread fresh from the oven. Oviedo's serves Filipino dishes.

We suggest four half- to full-day explorations that show off the island's diversityftom dry, kiawe-speckled plains and snorkeling beaches to mountainous rain forest and a lush east-end valley. Molokai is an ideal place to rent a car (see page 52) and explore on your own-with a good mapon roads leading from Kaunakakai and Kaluakoi. Getting there: Kaunala lies 4 miles south of the Kaluakoi Hotel. From Maunaloa Highway (460), turn north on Kaluakoi Road; continue about 8 1/2 miles, past hotel and golf course and Papohaku Beach Park, to Pohakuloa Road. Turn right (west), and follow the road to its end at Beach Access Road 7; take this to paved parking.

Kawakiunui Bay is another kiawebordered crescent. The reef along the north side is riddled with inviting niches and holes, and a heiau stands guard over the southern shore. In one snorkeling visit, we saw striped convict tang; blue-lipped lagoon triggerfish; red, blue, and green saddleback wrasse; black and yellow moorish idol; and many others.

Getting there: Kawakiunui lies 2 miles north of the Kaluakoi. It can be treacherous even on calm days if swells come up; savvy swimmers and snorkelers reserve it for summer use. Tbe dirt road to it crosses private land, is sometimes blocked, and is usually badly rutted. But you can walk upthe coast, across 2 miles of sandy beach and low, rocky shore; you may have to climb low cliffs occasionally to avoid wave surges. In Halawa Valley, on the extreme east end of the island, you'll find its oldest recorded village (A.D. 650). For centuries, farmers cultivated taro (for its edible roots) in geometric terraces; in 1946, a tidal wave inundated the valley. Attempts to revive large-scale taro farming have failed, but small plots help you imagine what the valley might have looked like.

Getting there: On Route 450, it's only 30 miles from Kaunakakai to Halawa, but allow time to explore: two whitewashed churches amid manicured lawns, old fish ponds, small sand beaches, and historic markers.

At mile marker 20, the road narrows. After marker 26, you'll reach an overtook offering your first glimpse of the valley. From a gently arcing black sand beach to Lamaloa Head, which forms the north wall of the valley, Halawa is a green jumble of vegetation.

Near road's end, look left for a tiny greenand-white church; park at the picnic area across the road. Walk a dirt track past the church, stay left at a fork, and pass several other houses and lush gardens. At the next fork, stay right, cross the creek (if the water is high, you may have to wade), and pick up the trail on the other side.

It's 2 miles to Moaula Falls; the trail's damp and muddy in spots, but well traveled and almost completely flat. Molokai is perhaps best known as a place of exile for victims of Hansen's disease. For nearly a century, the mai hookaawale ("separating sickness"), pounding surf, rocky coast, and steep lava walls made the Kalaupapa Peninsula a place where few people went willingly.

Sulfone drugs brought the disease under control by the 1960s. All current residents remain by choice. The state-owned peninsula is now a National Historical Park. Visitor groups are limited to 30; no one under age 16 is allowed, and you must visit with an escort. The Molokai Mule Ride is the best-known escorted tour, but you can also walk down or fly in. Ask at your hotel desk, or stop at the information counter in the airport. Reservations are mandatory for any visit. In 1982, the Nature Conservancy established 2,774-acre Kamakou Preserve to protect a rare, undisturbed rain forest with some 250 plants, 219 of which grow nowhere else in the world. At least five species of endangered Hawaiian birds two endemic to Molokai-also call the preserve home.

The preserve is always open, but you travel at your own risk. Or join the conservancy's once-a-month hikes ($5 members, $10 nonmembers). Space is limited, and you must reserve by writing the Molokai Preserves Manager, Box 40, Kualapuu 96757, or call 567-6680.

It takes 1 to 1 1/2 hours to reach the preserve on the unpaved forest reserve jeep road, 1 1/2 miles south of the junction of highways 460 and 470. Though much of the route is posted for four-wheel-drive, a good portion is passable in a car in dry weather. A thick forest of Monterey cypress, Western red cedar, and eucalyptus hugs the rutted road. Waikolu ("Three Waters") Overlook offers a view of waterfalls lacing the walls of a pristine, amphitheater-like valley.

Just beyond the lookout is the preserve's sign-in box. From here, walk or drive 2 miles to a fork. Bear left at the fork; when you reach a clearing, park.

Walk the narrow boardwalk about 30 minutes uphill to 10,000-year-old Pepeopae Bog, Hawaii's oldest. You go through rain forest of giant tree ferns; violets; native orchids; kanawao (a native hydrangea); pukiawe, with its pink, white, and red berries; and "rat's foot," a club moss that looks like green coral. At the bog, plants become dwarfs of their species.
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Date:Feb 1, 1989
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