Thursday, August 3, 2017

Hawaii vacation - Day 12: The Road to Hana

This was our day to travel the Road to Hana. Hana is a small town on the east side of Maui, but, as in life, making the trip to Hana is not about the destination, but is really about the journey.

The Road to Hana is only about 45 miles from Paia to Hana, but can take 3-5 hours or more as you travel slowly down the narrow, winding road, take in the beautiful scenery, and make plenty of stops along the way.

Our first stop was at Twin Falls.

There is an upper and lower falls though my photos of the upper falls did not come out. At the lower falls, you are able to swim in the water, though getting there requires walking down a somewhat treacherous path and crossing a rocky stream.

Once there, Kai was upset when he learned that I had left his swimming googles on the other side of the stream as it was difficult trying to cross and keep my balance while wearing a backpack and carrying a large bag that held our beach towels and goggles.

He really doesn't like to swim without his goggles, so my wife made the journey back across the stream to fetch them.

With goggles in hand, or on his face, he was happy and went into the pool beneath the falls. My wife joined him though she did not like the colder water at first.

But once she got used to it, they both found it a pleasant place to cool off.

Kai swam over directly under the falls.

I enjoyed watching a bunch of local boys who were diving off the cliffs to the side of the falls. The following photo shows one boy halfway up the side of the cliff jump prior to his jump.

I think Kai could have stayed there all day but we were only starting our journey so it was time to move on. But first, we had to make the arduous hike back up to trail to the parking lot.

But Kai was a happy boy after his swim so there was no complaining about the hike.

And we rewarded him, and ourselves, with fresh sugarcane juice from the stand at the parking lot.

As we continued our drive, traffic came to a complete stop. There was some road construction and we ended up stopped there for about 45 minutes.

Kai did not mind the delay as it gave him a chance to use his electronics (though there was no cell phone service there or in most parts of the Road to Hana).

When we finally got moving again, we drove to Keanae peninsula. It is a beautiful spot with rocks from lava that flowed from Haleakala many years ago.

There was a protected spot to take a dip in the ocean.

Kai loved that!

In the following photo, Kai is showing a piece of coconut he found floating in the ocean. He chewed on that for the next hour as we continued our drive.

We saw many waterfall besides the one we stopped at earlier. We looked at many from the car as we drove slowly past, but this is one we stopped and got out of the car to see (Waikani Falls).

My wife and I were getting hungry and wondering when we would find a place to eat when we came upon Nahiku Marketplace, a roadside area with about a half dozen food and beverage stands. We chose a place that had Kalua pig. Kai said he wasn't hungry as he may have been feeling a bit woozy from the car ride, but then he ate half of my bowl so I ordered another one for us to share. In that moment, I thought it was the best shredded barbecue pork I had ever tasted. Of course, I was really hungry then. :)

Our next stop was at Waianapapana State Park, home to a black sand beach made from the lava of Haleakala.

In the following photo, you can see how the lava formed a natural bridge over the water.

Kai loved this beach! He was fascinated by the black rocks.

He enjoyed picking up the rocks, and swimming in the water.

The waves were kind of high, but he loved bobbing in them.

On our way back to the parking lot, we came upon a small "cave" formed by the lava.

There are several of these "caves" in the state park, right next to the ocean.

The other site we would have liked to have visited was Oheo Gulch, where there are numerous waterfalls and natural pools. However, the pools were closed due to safety concerns from landslides.

I didn't want to risk being on the winding road after dark, so we started to head back around 4 pm. We made a couple stops including this one at a nice overlook.

I had my wife take the following photo to give you an idea of what the road was like. Though the photo shows a relatively straight stretch, there are over 600 curves altogether, many of them blind curves that you have to take really slowly as the road is not only curvy but narrow as well.

Besides the curves, the road has 59 one-lane bridges where traffic in one direction has to yield if a car is coming from the other direction.

We got back to our condo before dark. I think Kai enjoyed the whole day, but he was very glad to be back in an area that had internet service.

After showering and resting up, we went to Monkeypod for dinner, another recommendation from Kai's former speech therapist. It was a hip place with live entertainment.

We started out with shrimp and mushroom potstickers that were the tastiest I've ever had.

My wife liked her saimin noodle entree and Kai was happy to be able to get a pizza. I had fish and chips (not pictured) which was also good.

And so we had another good day in Maui. We have seen and done the major things on my Maui to-do list. Let's see what we can find for our last couple days.


  1. Wow, that drive would have kept me extremely alert. That was a day of great swimming for Kai. Waterfalls and waves, and great food. You are really making good use of your time there. That last picture made me hungry. I know Kai must have really enjoyed that pizza.

    1. It is not a drive for the faint of heart, but it actually wasn't as bad as I feared as most of the cars on the road were traveling to Hana in the morning as we were, and heading back with us late in the afternoon. If there had been more traffic going both ways, it would have been really difficult considering how narrow the road is.

      We have been able to do a lot, and enjoy a lot of good food!

  2. Sounds like another great day! I'm really wishing I was in Hawaii right about now. Enjoy the last few days!

    1. Haha, it will be hard for us to come back from paradise. Thanks for the restaurant and Road to Hana tips, Alyson!

  3. I love joining in the story of your beautiful family. Thank you for sharing this. Hawaii is our happy place!

    1. Bill, we are finding Hawaii to be our happy place as well. We definitely want to return here.


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