KIPAHULU, Maui (KHNL) - 35 years ago, one of the most famous American aviators was laid to rest here in our islands. Charles Lindberg was one of the most famous people in America, but to residents near his final resting place on Maui, he was just another guy.
In 1927 Charles Lindbergh made the first solo nonstop flight across the Atlantic Ocean, but it was in the middle of the Pacific he found his home. After his historic flight, and the tragic kidnapping and murder of his infant son, he moved his family to Europe to escape the intense media spotlight. It was after this when he discovered the island of Maui. It was the spirit of the island and it's people that gave him peace and an escape from prying eyes.
"We don't look at the person as famous, but as a human being," tour bus driver Kamowalii Vinuya said.
"I think he just found a place where he could just sit back and relax and live his life because over on the mainland, everybody was trying to get after him for one thing or another," visitor Harry Karadeema said.
Four hours down the winding narrow road to Hana, he found solace in a small community and built a modest a-frame house. It's in this town where he chose to be buried. And 35 years after his death, visitors still come to pay their respects.
"For all the years I've been working for this company yes I see a lot of the tourists," Vinuya said.
The trip takes them through lush rainforests, past black sand beaches, and breathtaking scenic views. Charles Lindbergh traveled the world in his lifetime, but for his final resting place he chose a remote settlement on the eastern coast of Maui. Past the Palapala Hoolau church in a small cemetary overlooking the Kipahulu Plateau.
The 100 foot cliffs and pounding waves against the black lava rock leave a lasting impact on those who visit here.
"I think it's beautiful, it's very peaceful here," Karadeema said.
"The first thing that I hear out of their mouths is incredible, it's unbelievable," Vinuya said.