Wednesday, August 29, 2007


Hawaiian Journal - It's the Journey, Not the Destination, Although . . .

Day 4

If you ever go to Maui - and let's be honest, if you don't want to go to Maui by now, then we are not doing our jobs - everyone will tell you that you must (MUST!) drive the twisty, turny road to Hana. Or as Our Woman in L.A. calls it "The Scary Road to Hana." Hana's a small town on the edge of Maui, only accessible by a road with more hairpin turns than you can possibly anticipate.

Our Man in L.A. is a big believer that the journey is always more important than the destination. This was some journey.

We got up early, had breakfast in a small town on the way to Maui's Mother Road, and then started out. It's about 25 or 30 miles to Hana along the twisty road, but the trip took us about five hours on the way out. Why so long? It's not just the twists. It's the beauty, baby. You're in Hawaii. And so, as you go, you're stopping every mile or two to get out, hike around and see some of the most incredible landscape around.

Like this place. We'd heard there were these twin waterfalls, just off the road. A bunch of tourists hanging around made us believe this must be something worth seeing. It was. But it wasn't "just off the road" - there was hiking, a little minor climbing, and crossing perilously narrow bridges.

Note from Our Woman in L.A.: It wasn't perilous.

Note from Our Man in L.A.: Fine. You folks be the judges. Here's a picture of Our Woman in L.A. crossing the chasm . . .

Quote of the Day #1: "Probably I should have gotten some of those underwater shoes." (Chris Wieland, 2007)

The second of the twin waterfalls (not pictured here) was only accessible by crossing a small pond with an extremely rocky bottom. Our Man in L.A. felt he had to go. I only had sneakers, which I didn't want wet for all the hiking later that day, so I went barefoot. Yeah, maybe not the smartest idea. But you can't say I don't have an adventurous spirit. Or whatever.

We stopped at a bunch of other waterfalls along the drive. Here is one we thought was cool:

Of course, not all the places that we stopped to hike featured waterfalls. Some were just beautiful trails with a view of the ocean. Some even went so far as to post at the entrance to the hiking area: "No Waterfalls on this trail." Which made it especially ridiculous to hear . . .

Quote of the Day #2: "Where the waterfall at on this trail?" (Some yokel, 2007, standing next to a sign reading "No Waterfalls on this trail).

I mean, we like waterfalls as much as the next couple, but if you spend all your time looking for them, you miss sights like this one . . .

See? That's the coastline of the Road to Hana. I think we might have even taken this from the "No Waterfalls" trail.

Anyway, finally we reached Hana. And like something out of Gertrude Stein, our first reaction was, "Once you get there, there's no there there." It's a small, cute, remote Hawaiian town, sure. But we were tired, dusty, thirsty. Was this all there is?

As it turns out, no.

We heard rumors of a red rock beach, just a small hike from the town's main drag. Then we heard that maybe that getting there entailed a bit more than a "small hike.."

Quote of the Day #3: "I don't mean to suggest your life's in imminent danger, but there are a couple of places that are treacherous." (Serious Hiker Guy, 2007)

So we went for it. First, a climb through 100 yards of brush, then a steep, rocky trail that went down and then up. Then a short twisty trail around the side of a cliff, where we could only walk single file.

And then this . . .

It was a tiny cove with red sand, practically untouched except by locals. We climbed down and let the red sand run through our toes, watched the waves crash over the rocks.

Worth it? Totally.

When we left the red rock beach, we were still tired. But there were rumors of a black sand beach not far off - and actually on the way back. So at this point, you've got to see the black sand, right? Right.

When we got there, the black sand beach had several things to recommend it. First, it had a shaved ice vendor. Steph had a swirl of three colors and obscure flavors; I had four for myself. Relief started to creep in after the long day.

Quote of the Day #4: "This is all I need for where I am right now." (Stephanie Wieland, 2007, on the subject of shaved ice).

And when we were done, we wandered the black sand beach, which contained natural caves and, allegedly, blow holes. What's a blow hole, Our Woman in L.A. wondered. A minute later, the tide came in, water crashed against the rocks and came cascading out from the hole in the shoreline, drenching us both.

"Oh," she said.

But the most fascinating thing about the black sand beach was that the black part wasn't sand . . .

It was like pebbles. Cool, huh?

But all journeys must come to an end, and usually that means a return trip. So we headed back toward civilization, anticipating five more hours of travel. Really, it took less than two. Heading back, we saw fewer of the tourists and more locals. Or at least people who like racing around hairpin turns at 50 mph in cars that don't look like rentals.

So fast and furious were some of the drivers heading into Hana that Stephanie started praising the ones who were careful . . .

Quote of the Day #5: "I appreciate you, orange car. Thank you!" (Stephanie Wieland, 2007, to a safe driver in . . . an orange car.)

But then, even the drive back had obstacles. People don't normally think of agriculture in Hawaii, but it's there, and especially along the Road to Hana, you see your share of farms and animals. I even stopped to take a photo of one. Looked something like this . . .

But Our Woman in L.A. would have none of it.

Quote of the Day #6: "Don't stop to take their pictures! They might attack!"

Clearly, we were all very tired. We headed back to Kihei, got amazing curry at the local Thai place, and headed back for a well-deserved night's rest.

Tomorrow: Sea turtles, a day at the beach, and a night with Mama.

Ok, Unless you've got some magical quote coming up later I think we have a winner with "They might attack!" under the picture of the fiersome cow. So, it's hard to tell, but are you guys enjoying Hawaii at all?

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