Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Maui: The Road to Hana - Jan 10 2012

The Road to Hana is along the north shore of Maui on the eastern part of the island. Basically, you pick up the road at the main city of Kahalui and drive east for about 40 miles. Along the way you see beautiful unspoiled shoreline, surfers, tropical rainforest where they get over 300 inches of rain a year, as well as many beautiful beaches and waterfalls. The guidebook said it is compared to driving through the garden of Eden. The most famous and desired drive in all Hawai'i. I must say ... it was pretty awesome.

We left our Westin Ka'anapali location on the West side of Maui around 7AM and did not return until about 7PM. A pretty exhausting day but we made the trip and although tired when finished we were quite satisfied in making the drive and we got to stop and take many pictures and spent and a fair amount of time in a few beautiful locations along the way. There is no way we could see everything so we had to pick and choose and even then we could not get to several of the "must see" locations.

Our first major stop (other than for photos and a snack) was at the far end of our travel route at Haleakala National Park, the last stop before we would have swing south on route 360 into the southern arid lands of eastern Maui. There we entered a beautiful little world of waterfalls and reshwater pools called Ohe'o Gulch or better known in the marketing materials as the "7 Sacred Pools". That's me swimming in one of the lower pools.

Wai'anapanapa Black Sand Beach near mile marker 32. Fresh water cave, ocean blow hole and black sand beach.

Kaihalulu Red Sand Beach just south of Hana Bay. Hard to get to, marginal swimming, and marginal snorkling but wow is this a beautiful spot.

Seven Sacred Pools, part of the Haleakala National Park. The owner of the Hotel Hana Maui wanted to desperately attract people to the east end of the island so he had a choice ... he could have told people to visit the "Ohe'o Gulch" or the wonderous "Seven Sacred Pools". and even though there are not seven pools and it was not sacred land marketing won out and the brochures have ever since had the more attractive namesake. The Hotel Hana owner Sam Pryor was going to buy the land near the pools for a house but then recognizing how important they were to the local population her got together a few of his friends to buy the land and donate it to the national park system. After a short walk from the parking lot Fran and I were able to walk across a few stones and then have an absolutely stunning view of the cascading water coming off the mountain and dropping through multiple falls to the ocean below. This is quite a swimming hole! I was able to get a few swimming laps in our time there before wrapping up and heading back for our journer home retracing our steps on the north side of the island.

After finishing the wildly curvy road through the rain forest and before heading back to the Westin we stopped in the little windsurfing town of Pa'ia. It is a throw back to the 1960's ... plenty of quirky stores and people ... many of the people look like they still lived in the 1960's and their children also had a little of that look. OK ... maybe I exaggerate a little ... but not much :-) Even the health food store we stopped in was a throw back in time ... absolutely non-descript store front but inside was an amazing mixture of organic foods, vegetarian dishes, bathing suits, fresh fruit, dry bulk food, and candles. And it all worked held together by some pretty dedicated people focused on providing great service and awesome foods in an eclectic way.

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