Just past the trailhead for the Na‘ili‘ili haele hike is a grove of rainbow eucalyptus trees, silently springing from the green pasturelands.
As a section of tree undergoes exfoliation and sheds a section of bark, the young wood exposed has a deep green hue.One of the most-photographed sights on the Road to Hana, these trees have bark which drips with pastel hues of red, pink, orange, green, and gray, as if a painter had taken a brush directly to the bark, with deliberate strokes running the length of each narrow tree.
Unlike trees which have a cork-like bark, rainbow eucalyptus have a smooth, hard exterior, which is constantly going through stages of regrowth. As a section of tree undergoes exfoliation and sheds a section of bark, the young wood exposed has a deep green hue. As the new bark ages in the sun, the wood morphs from green to blue and from purple to orange, eventually dying off once again to reveal the green growth below, starting the cycle anew.
Parking can be found either at the trailhead for the Na‘ili‘ili haele hike (mile marker 6.5) or at a small pullout for a hunting road a hundred yards past the trees.
Excerpted from the First Edition of Moon Hawaiian Islands.