Monday, March 30 – Long and beautiful (but wet!) day on the Road to Hana
We had originally planned to do the Road to Hana yesterday, but the weather did not cooperate. Although today some clouds/rain were predicted, we decided to chance it as we were getting concerned we may not get a better day on this side of the island – so on the road we went leaving the hotel around 6:30am.
Joe and Carter ate breakfast in the car while I waited to get to the famous Aunt Sandy’s banana bread stand!. We made a quick bathroom stop in Paia and off we went! Our plan was to make 1-2 quick stops on the way but pretty much drive direct to the Haleakala National Park/Pipiwai Trail as early as possible, then do whatever stops we felt like and had time for on the way back.
The drive started out wet – and pretty much stayed cloudy and wet most of the day.
The sites were still beautiful although I expect we would have gotten better photo opportunities on a sunny day.
Our first planned stop was supposed to be between MM 5.5 and 6.0 – the rainbow eucalyptus trees. We looked really hard for the landmarks we had heard about – trees on the left and open field on the right – and could not find them – we will look again on the way back!
Next stop – Keanai Peninsula and Aunt Sandy’s banana bread!
The peninsula area was very pretty.
There was this unique rock formation there that Joe had to take a picture of – he thought it looked like a penis. I guess I have to agree.
The best part of this stop – the banana bread! It lived up to it’s name and fortunately for me (or unfortunately for my diet) Joe and Carter can’t eat it since it has gluten. I will admit that by the end of the day I had eaten the whole thing. I accidentally smashed it with my arm when I got in the car but it sure did not impact the taste!
We took a few photos of waterfalls along the way – with all of the rain they have gotten the water was flowing EVERYWHERE! Just gorgeous!
I think we counted at least 8 waterfalls flowing from the place we took the picture from. It was amazing!
And I got a shot of one of my favorite trees. We saw these everywhere in Maui. Everytime I saw one it reminded me of one of my favorite places to drive through on the North Shore of Kauai where these trees formed a tunnel/bridge.
I think we took a quick potty break here. I just love the hand made signs all over Maui.
Last stop before turning around – our destination (not Hana!) but the Pipiwai Trail at the National Park. We were a bit worried we may get there and find the trail closed due to the heavy rain. The trail was open but no swimming was allowed (and it was obvious why). It was extremely muddy!
The trail is about 2 miles (4 miles round trip) and well worth it despite the mud puddles!
They had these “danger” areas. The signs were placed a bit weird I thought as most places with a sign did not appear any more or less dangerous than others – but I guess some people need to be told to be smart.
There was a banyan tree on the trail. Not as big as the one in Lahaina but I liked it better just because there were not so many people around and it was in a beautiful place!
The trail was beautiful and the highlight of our day!
We thought this (below) was the O’heo Gulch (a.k.a. Seven Sacred Pools). With all of the water flowing it did not look like any pictures I had seen before – definitely no swimming here! We found out afterwards this actually was not the O’heo Gulch and we needed to visit a different area of the park to see it – so sorry we missed this site I guess another reason to come back to Maui!
Right after the O’heo Gulch comes the Bamboo Forest. It was really neat! It was so quiet but when you stopped you could hear the bamboo knocking together. It was very cool to see and hear!
We found a piece of bamboo that someone had split open (looks like with a knife). The inside was interesting.
I thought this tree looked really out of place in the middle of the bamboo forest.
About half way through the forest, it started to drizzle. By the time we got to the end of the forest and to the next part of the trail, it was POURING! We were soaked but determined to get to the end of the trail, hoping it was a traditional Maui rain that was just “passing through”. Well – we got to the end and peaked around the final corner (still raining like cats and dogs), and had a total OMG moment. The waterfall at the end of the trail was the most amazing waterfall I have ever seen! I’m sure it’s neat at any time but with how heavy it was flowing it was absolutely gorgeous. All I could do was stand there and stare. It was hard to get good pictures in the rain, and honestly no picture could do this justice. It does not look as tall nor as pretty here.
After standing in awe for about 10 minutes, we crossed back over a raging creek (probably not to smart to cross in the first place – but we just had to get closer to the waterfall) and headed back – a bit faster than the way there. Back in the parking lot, we were soaked, muddy, but extremely satisfied with our adventure.
We were starving at this point and decided we would start the trek back and stop at the Wai-anapanapa State Park to see the black sand beach and have our picnic lunch of cheese, meat and gluten-free crackers. This is our staple “bring along” lunch when out on adventures.
The Black Sand Beach was cool but we were out of energy to explore too much here. Watched some of the kids play in the waves but Carter was cold and just wanted to rest after our long hike.
There was kind of a different looking cemetery at the park.
And some more beautiful views of course!
After the Wai-anapanapa State Park/black sand beach we did not make a lot of other stops. We were pretty exhausted and it was raining fairly steadily. Stopped at a few falls along the way but did not explore or stay long at any one thing.
We did have have dessert of course – and made a stop at Coconut Glen’s Ice Cream – another famous and highly recommended place that lived up to it’s name. We talked to Glen’s uncle a bit who was working the stand while he told us about the dairy free ice cream made with coconut milk (while we waited for some more rain to pass).
He let us mix flavors and Carter had Pineapple-Banana and Coconut. I shared Carter’s (a bit full from all of my banana bread!) and I can’t remember what kind Joe had.
Glen had some unique signs on his property as well.
Our last little detour was a quick decision to take the detour down a road about two miles to a community called Nahiku. The “guidebook” said it was worth the drive down and a beautiful place with jawdropping views. We were underwhelmed and did not feel it was worth it, although I can see how the sites and especially the coastline would be beautiful on a clear sunny day.
My last mandatory stop/site was to try once again to find the Eucalyptus trees. I started looking them at MM 7.5 as I wanted to make SURE we did not miss them this time. Well – we found them! First I saw the open field (on your left if heading back) around what I recall was about MM 6.5. We quickly drove by that and at the last minute – I SAW THE TREES ON THE RIGHT! Unfortunately, we had already passed the pull off, and there was someone else behind us and nowhere else near that we could stop – so we missed the photo op – but at least I got to see them!
Our Road to Hana adventure was now complete – we were definitely DONE and decided we needed to call it a day. Stopped in Paia quick to check out the Natural Food store as we heard it was good and might have some good gluten-free eats for Joe and Carter (we did pick up a couple of things – I think some donuts and muffins for more breakfasts for them).
We were too tired to stop anywhere for dinner – so we made a quick stop at Mcdonalds – fries and strawberry shakes for dinner which we ate on the road.
Back to the hotel around 7:30 or 8:00 – showered and crashed!
It was a great day despite the clouds. I would like to do the Road to Hana again some day but would probably spend more time on the actual stops and not do the hike (since we have now done it once – although it was great!). Lastly, we would make sure we picked a good sunny day!