If you like green, you’ll love the Road to Hana!
The Road to Hana is one of the “Must Do” events on any trip to Maui. If you don’t spent the entire three hour drive there and the three hour return trip constantly exclaiming, “My God! It’s so beautiful!” to no one and everyone around you, then it’s probably time to get a family size bag of Cheetos, turn on “King of Queens” and sit on your couch until the Grim Reaper comes to take you away.
We set out early, and after picking up some coffee to fortify us for the morning drive, we watched a dog surfing on a container in the back of a pickup truck. As was foretold in the ancient scrolls, there is no better weather omen for any trip in Maui. Also, dog surfing on pickup truck.
We started the first leg of the journey sort of hustling through the road to Hana with the idea that we’d beat the traffic on the way to Hana and be able to drive back with less obstructions and stop where we wanted to on the way.
Around the midpoint on the road, we pulled off at a stunning view over a bluff. A local was there.
“You guys are out here early.”
“We wanted to get a head start and when you are from Minnesota, the time difference makes it easy to get on the road.”
“Well, I was just hoping to get some cell service, but that looks like it isn’t going to happen. Enjoy the rest of your trip.”
It was at this point that I’d like to note that the most arduous part of this adventure is that Fiona and I went nearly nine hours without cellular service. *Shudder*
We continued on our way to Hana and noticed nearly every roadside stand was closed. Not sure if it was because of the looming holiday, or if people just like to have Wednesday off after working a long weekend, but we didn’t mind.
After a sold three hours of driving and honking (more on that later), we arrived at the “other” Haleakalā National Park. I say “other” because my geography is absolutely terrible and I swear we were looking at Haleakalā crater on the drive home going the other direction (Note: The national park covers 33,265 acres so I’m okay, even if my geography is bad).
It seems as if most people terminate their drive on The Road to Hana by visiting the ʻOheʻo Gulch, also known as the “Seven Sacred Pools.” I much prefer the other hike in the park, the Pipiwai Trail. The trail is a two mile walk that starts uphill over rocks and a billion roots which might pull you under at any moment. It continues on into a well maintained path through a bamboo forest which, while it looks pretty much the same throughout, makes the most amazing sounds when the wind blows. The forest sounds like an old wooden boat struggling against its ropes on a dock. It reminds me of the marina I worked at growing up.
At the end of the bamboo forest, you can scramble over a couple of small rock-covered streams and reach Waimoku Falls. Which is where we sat down on the rocks and had lunch. While the waterfall was light during the time we were there, but it was still nice. If the waterfall had been fast-flowing, then of course we wouldn’t have been able to have lunch about 20 feet from the basin. So there’s that.
After lunch, we did head over to the Gulch for a few minutes, but between the woman who was trying to get her boyfriend to take the perfect photo over the ocean—although the wind was not cooperating and Marilyn Monroeing her white swimsuit cover-up, much to her embarrassment and her boyfriend’s and our exhaustion, and the guy who walked to far out on the rocks he was likely to be swept away by the tide after photobombing everyone’s attempts at an amazing nature photo–we decided to call it a day and head back.
Our drive home was somewhat eventful. Going there, it’s called “The Road to Hana” but coming back it’s called, “Why the hell aren’t you honking your horn?” Multiple times, my wife and I remarked how The Road to Hana reminded us of driving in the Lake District in England, but with slightly wider roads, sunshine, and mongooses instead of hedgehogs. To that point, while most of the drive is a winding two lanes, there are a countless number of single lane bridges and blind turns which by law require you to blow your horn. As a matter of fact, ona daily basis there is more horn blowing on the Road to Hana than there is in Manhattan.
Which, if you think about it, is a uniquely human way to experience nature. Or if you are a feral dinosaur rooster howling for the sun to rise at 4 AM.