Hiking through the a’a

10,000 ft. Mt. Haleakala on Maui erupts every 200 years or so, and when it does, a type of lava called a’a flows down the mountain to the sea. This photo of me was taken in the large a’a flow areas on the Kings Highway hike. A’a at first glance looks likes soil freshly turned with a Roto-Tiller, however is is solid rock, with plenty of sharp edges. Hiking through it would be considerably more difficult than any tallus field in the High Sierras. Fortunately, there is a well-maintained trail which although it can be tricky going at times because it is small rocks and easy to twist an ankle on, is still way easier than going off trail.
At the end of the trail is a secluded cove, and even though we were there at near the peak of the tourist season, we were the only people there. Maui hiking areas,campgrounds, and trails have a refreshing absence of signs telling you what to do, parking is free and easy, and all beaches are public, a marked difference from L.A.