July 6, 2011
On Wednesday it was time for us to take the Maui adventure we’d both been waiting for- the Road to Hana! We had heard lots about the Road to Hana from others who had visited Maui. We got an early start that morning to beat the crowds and allow plenty of time for stopping off at sites along the way. Unfortunately, we got such an early start that when we stopped off in Paia at the ATM and grocery store, the store wasn’t even open yet. I had read that we should bring a picnic lunch along, but George didn’t want to wait around for the store to open, so off we went.
I followed along in the guide book as we drove to make sure we could find the various waterfalls and other places we wanted to stop at along the way. From the first pull out we stopped at it was a short walk to see a tall waterfall. Some people continued hiking along the trail, but we snapped some photos and hopped back in the car, already munching on the Chex Mix we had brought along.
The next waterfall we stopped at was located right along the road, making it easy to spot.
After a few waterfalls we felt we’d seen enough, and ended up driving past some of the places we had originally planned to spot at. After over an hour of winding switchbacks we arrived at our next major stop – the Black Sand Beach.
The Black Sand Beach was a pretty little beach covered in black pebbles,. It was still early, about 10:00 AM, but it was already getting crowded, making it difficult to relax and enjoy. We walked a bit farther down the coast, where George spent a while taking photos of the waves crashing on the rocks.
Black Sand Beach at Waianapanapa State Park would be a good place to stop for an early picnic lunch, since there are picnic benches and restroom facilities. We continued into the town of Hana to look for something to eat. There had been fruit stands along the way selling the famous banana bread, but $5 for a tiny little piece that is smaller than the palm of your hand? I don’t think so! Instead, we bought a tiny bag of home-made macadamia nut chocolate chip cookies for $3 (yummy but tiny) and a small mixed fruit smoothy for $7 along the way. Now we were hungry! But all we could find was one restaurant that the guide book said was terrible and to stay away from and a food stand at the beach that was selling plain hot dogs for $7 – nothing that we really wanted to waste money on. So we decided just to continue along our journey. If you take the road to Hana, be sure to bring a picnic lunch or eat at one of the food stands before you get to Hana!
We headed on to the main attraction past the town of Hana- the Seven Sacred Pools in Haleakala National Park. You have to pay a park entrance fee of $10 per vehicle, but it is valid for 3 days and you can also use it to go to Haleakala crater. There are a couple pools that are easy to access from the parking lot.
We admired these pools for a bit and watched some crazy rock jumpers before starting the hike up along the series of pools. This was the best part of the Road to Hana adventure!
It even led us through a bamboo forest!
After about an hour of trekking through the beautiful vegetation and scenery of the path along Pipiwai trail, we finally reached a the incredible and towering Waimoku Falls at the end. This breathtaking waterfall made the trek well worth it and a must if you visit the 7 Sacred Falls. In fact, as mentioned above, if you travel the Road to Hana you must make this trek!!
After the hike we headed back along the curvy Hana Highway. This time we didn’t stop off at all, since we’d already seen the coolest part. When we got back to Paia it was dinner time and we were so ready to eat! We had dinner at The Fish Market, which was perfect, since it was quick to order and then choose a seat at tables shared with other guests. There portions of scrumptious seafood were very generous and the price was economical as well! We probably wouldn’t normally have been able to finish our meals, but with hardly having eaten all day we were able to scarf them down. After dinner we headed back to the Royal Lahaina to get some rest before the wedding the next day.
Overall, we were a bit disappointed with the Road to Hana. After all the hype we were expecting much more. It’s probably more exciting to city people who have never driven on a twisty road. Afterwards I was thinking, I should charge tourists money to drive them up Sweetwater Springs Road, where I grew up! I would still recommend taking the road to Hana if you have plenty of time on Maui and don’t get car sick, just don’t get your hopes up too high!