Thursday, January 26, 2012

Looking back: Road to Hana

At the end of last summer we went on a trip to Hawaii with Rob's parents. I posted about it, but had meant to post more - I especially wanted to post about our time on the Road to Hana. And now, in the middle of a cold winter, I'm thinking about Hawaii almost every day!

Driving the Road to Hana is one of the most popular things to do when you go to Maui. The road used to go only as far has Hana and that's how it got it's name. But the getting there is the attraction, not the city of Hana itself (although I know people who have stayed there and have enjoyed it). There is more to see after Hana, but we turned around and went back not far past it. Supposedly one reason to keep going is for the Seven Sacred Pools. Sounds cool, huh. I don't know if it is, though, because we had a baby to get back to (and, we were satisfied with what we had seen).

We left Henry back at the condo with his grandparents, so it was just a day to ourselves. It took us about six hours from the "start" to get to the point that we turned around and only about an hour and a half to get back. That's how much there is to see and do on the way! As these pictures illustrate...

Here is a look at the road from our GPS. The windiness of the road is pretty out-of-control. I can't imagine ever seeing another road with this many turns. In fact, that can detract a lot of people from going, yet for others (us included, I'd say) that is one aspect that makes the trip so cool! Rob wondered if, as the driver, he would feel like he got to see enough. At the end he said he felt like he didn't miss much.
Here is a view of the road that we just came from - can you tell from across where where we are standing how the road, cut into the hill, winds?
This picture is from the Ke'anae peninsula (there are a couple of places you can veer away from the main road to see). The shore of this peninsula is almost entirely made of these black lava rocks. That shows how "young" of an island Maui is. Weird, huh. It's hard to walk away from the scene of waves crashing onto these rocks - always wanting to see if the next wave is going to be "the big one."
A lot of homemade banana bread is sold along the Road. Eating chunks of banana bread grabbed directly from the loaf while traveling the most beautiful road in Hawaii? Count. Me. In!
This is Keanae Peninsula. I don't know if it looks like much in this pictures, but the view of this valley was quite stunning. We stood there for a while looking at the couple of churches, the farms and the houses and tried to imagine what's it like to live the way these people do.
This was the biggest waterfall we viewed - the Upper Waikani Falls, and it also happened to be the only one we got up close to. It wasn't much, but we were on the Road during a dryer season and I guess when it's at its heaviest flow it appears as one waterfall, not a few separate falls (divided by rock) as it looks here.
The next four pictures are also from the same falls. It was quite the adventure. It started with a sketchy steep descent from the road. We followed another couple down, letting them be the guinea pigs before we ventured. They offered to take our picture for us (the above picture) and us for them, but getting around the base of the waterfall was a little tricky, especially when it comes to exchanging cameras. Here is that guy and Rob slowly and carefully exchanging spots so we could take their picture (without dropping expensive cameras in the process).
 Does it look easy to walk in the swirling water around the slippery rocks? Because it wasn't.
And then... downpour! Just after taking pictures and saying goodbye to the other couple the rain came! The rain came and went during our whole trip that day. Another exciting aspect of the trip. In fact, I had dreamed of traveling the Road in a jeep so we could ride with the top down. What a waste that would have been! We would have been constantly attaching and detaching the roof! We got pretty wet.
This is the last picture from the Waikani Falls. First of all, the bridge. There are countless (well, I'm sure someone has counted them) of these one-direction bridges along the Road. They are beautiful and add to the general ambiance of the location. The spot where I am standing is where we came up from the falls. It looks like a drop-off from that exact spot, but once you're beyond that it's actually an easy path. Now, just to the right of the browned "grassy" looking bush near the right edge of the picture - do you see a drop-off that looks like a black hole? That's how we got down to the falls. It was kind of nuts. Our guide book told us how to get down to the falls. That black hole was what we thought it meant. It wasn't until our way back that we realized the path we were supposed to take!
These next falls and pool were also an adventure to get to. They are at Pua'a Ka'a State Park. There were a couple more accessible swimming pools that people were swimming in, but our guidebook told us to go further for an even better pool. So we trudged through some muddy paths for a little while and crossed a high-up aquaduct until we found the pool. It was totally secluded. And that actually spooked me. I had in my mind that I wanted to swim under a waterfall but once we got there I chickened out (I tend to chicken out when it comes to water). Just Rob went in. He said it was cold and agreed that it was a little freaky.
Then Rob got out and... whoops. The key to our rental car-the key that explicitly states on the keychain that it's not supposed to get wet- was in his pocket when he jumped in. Well, it all turned out fine. It ended up still working, but it could have been really bad. I was running our plan through my head as we ran back (we ran because another downpour hit us) of how we'd have to hitch a ride all the way back down the Road with someone heading the other direction. We'd then have to somehow get back to the airport to get a new key - then back to retrieve our car. I'm so glad we didn't have that adventure.
So fun - stopping at a roadside taco stand. There's not a ton of places to eat (there's not a ton of anything - besides amazing views and adventures) along the Road, but at one point there are a handful of food stands along the way. The longest line was at this taco stand. How cute is he ordering tacos at a stand in the middle of the tropics in his swim trunks and looking all sun kissed?
Tasty tacos. I don't even remember what meat we got on them. But I do remember them being worth the small fortune we paid for them.
I love this picture of Rob eating his tacos. I think when my dad saw this picture on facebook he said something about Rob being in his element. So true.
Our last stop was Wai'anapanapa State Park. We read about a fresh water cave and Rob wanted to jump in. I wasn't going to (remember me+water?). But Rob did and he promised me I could do it. The fact that I did is testament to how much I trust my husband. He knows and is sympathetic to my fears but still thought I could do it. So - I did! Cold! But not bad (as he promised) Freaky! But not too much (as he promised).
And the best part of the whole day - and one of my favorite experiences of the entire trip - was our swim at the black sand beach. This picture really doesn't show how gorgeously aqua the water was. What made it so much fun was how warm the water was. Bath water warm. All the water we swam in in Hawaii was warm (warmer than our condo's pool even), but only after getting used to it. The water in this bay was completely warm as you stepped in. The other amazing thing was how huge the waves were! So big, and everyone just waited around for a wave to come and ride. Oh man, so much fun! Even for me, the girl who's afraid of water.

So that's the (long) summary of the best parts of our trip on the Road to Hana. It was such a magical day. One hope I had when going to Hawaii for the first time was to see lush tropical views - and that was satisfied by our experiences this day.

Here is Rob's video of our Maui trip. The Road to Hana begins at 3:00 in the video. If you watch it you'll see the lava rocks at the Keanae peninsula, us at the Waikani falls, Rob swimming in the pool (with key in pocket), Rob jumping into the fresh water cave, and me jumping over waves at the black sand beach (and more!).

A Trip to Maui from rob nyland on Vimeo.

1 comment:

Monica @ All Things Lovely said...

So great. I am glad you explained this. I saw your video before, but is cool to see the video now knowing the story behind it.