This week’s challenge is all about reward. For me, there’s nothing more rewarding than a great view from a high point. This photo was taken from the top of Lombard Street in San Francisco. Most people focus on the street’s ridiculously curvy design – I’ve taken photos of it before – but people tend to overlook the amazing view it provides. Getting it is a little tricky; you have to stand in the middle of the road and wait for the crowds of tourists to get *just* out of frame. You can see Coit Tower and some of the Bay Bridge from up there.
This week’s challenge is all about expressing yourself. When I’m on a trip, I have a knack for seeking out and trying to find the highest locations around. While Kohala certainly isn’t the highest place in Hawaii (I didn’t have the right vehicle to climb Mauna Kea), it still has some of the finest vista on the island. Fun fact: this was taken on the same highway as the picture I use for the blog’s banner.
During the trip, I decided to see how far east I could go on the Big Island. I looked at the map and saw that I could take Route 130 to 137 and end up near the tip of the island. What the map didn’t show, however, was that last few miles of highway leading to the coast was a winding, one-lane road that cut through a dense rainforest. Seriously, that small, paved trail at the bottom is indeed a highway. I wasn’t expecting it, but that made the road trip that much better.
This week’s challenge is all about signs, so I was reminded of something I saw near the peak of Haleakala on Maui. The Nene is the rarest species of goose in the world; it’s exclusive to the Hawaiian islands, and Maui’s population is hidden on the upper slopes of Haleakala. I was lucky enough to see four of those rare birds during my journey. Great trouble has gone to ensure the Nene’s survival, and this crossing sign on the volcano is just one example of it.
You want to talk zigzags? Try the legendary Road To Hana in Maui. This photo doesn’t do it nearly enough justice. Over 50 miles long with 620 curves and 59 bridges (many of which are one-lane)…and pavement just big enough for a two-lane road. This incredible feat of engineering allows people to drive along one of the most beautiful places on Earth. Where else can you see unspoiled jungle from your car? I was speechless when I saw it. If the Road To Hana isn’t on your bucket list, you need to add it.
Haleakala is a massive dormant volcano that comprises about 75% of Maui. Its peak is 10,023 feet (3,055 m), so reaching it requires an epic, two hour ride from the beach up its long, windy slopes. You won’t notice the drastic change in altitude until you glance out a side window and realize that the town you left has become nothing but a speck. Along the way, you’ll drive through peaceful fields, parks, and forests, eventually reaching a point where there’s nothing but sparse vegetation, endangered species, and lots of rock. The lovely green countryside in this photo looks nothing like the summit.