Nov 15

Hosmer Grove – Haleakala National Park

Among the CloudsHosmer’s Grove is a part of the Haleakala National Park on the island of Maui.  The grove started out as an experimental timber forest, but today it has a short hiking trail and campground for the national park.  Ralph Hosmer, in 1910, was looking for the right type of tree to help create a viable timber industry in Hawaii.   He brought in trees from all over the world like eucalyptus from Australia and sugi from Japan and several different types from the mainland like Douglas firs.   In all, Hosmer planted 86 different species, but only 20 of them took root and survived.  Now some of those early introduced trees are considered threats to the native ecosystem within the national park.  It just goes to show how far we have progressed over the last hundred years when it comes to trying to keep non-native species out of an area.  One hundred years ago we humans did not even think twice when it came to that sort of thing.
Signs at Hosmer GroveKaren and I really enjoyed walking around Hosmer’s Grove for a few reasons.  First we liked the fact that it gave us a chance to break up the drive to the summit of Haleakala.  Like a lot of roads on Maui it is very curvedly road to the summit and getting out and getting some fresh air sure breaks up the drive.  Second it was neat seeing some of the trees that we have never seen before.  Karen was enthralled with a tree from Australia that smelled like peppermint.  Our last reason for liking Hosmer’s Grove was the fact that we got to see several native species of Hawaiian birds.
Smelling the TreesHosmer Grove Trail is a half mile loop that would be classified as an easy trail.  The trail leads you into Ralph Hosmer’s non-native forest.  The trees are clearly labeled and towards the half way point of the loop there is a plaque with a pictures of native Hawaiian birds.  Once you make it through the forest there is a quarter of a mile of trail that takes you through native shrubs. 
The TrailKaren and I recommend stopping at Hosmer’s Grove just to break up your ride up to the summit of Haleakala.  It was pretty neat to be swimming in the ocean in the morning and by the afternoon going up to 10,000 feet and being above the clouds.  Make sure you leave enough time to do a little birding while there.  It was fun for Karen and I to try to find as many of the native birds as we could.   It is just a good place to get out and enjoy some mountain air on the island of Maui.  
Tropical Red Bird

For more information about Haleakala National Park visit their website at http://www.nps.gov/hale/planyourvisit/index.htm

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