Saturday, September 29, 2012

Day 7 - Hawaii Honeymoon

There are a couple of things that are associated with Maui.  One of those things is the Road to Hana.  Everyone says "It's not about Hana, it's about the ride there."  Basically, there is a ton of really amazing things to see along this absolutely ridiculous road...and we were pumped!  

Part of the Road to Hana
A very cool perspective of what the majority of the road looks like.  Blind turns for 80 miles. 

We were out by 8:30AM and tried to be prepared as best we could.  We filled up our gas tank, stupidly chose not to get a picnic for the road, and headed to mile marker...well we got lost within the first couple minutes, haha! Apparently the miles restart a little up the road so we were searching for a waterfall in the wrong place.  If you don't count that little mishap, our first official stop was to watch some surfing right next to the uber-cute surf town of Paia at Ho’okipa Beach Park.  

Next up was Twin Falls. We parked and hiked for about 20 minutes and made it to what is the epitome of Hawaii in my opinion, swimming in a waterfall in the jungle.  

David behind Twin Falls. 

After that we tried Waimea Falls again, which was a bust, again (the first mentioned earlier). An OK hike but there were no falls so it was really disappointing when that is why we hiked for an hour.  I would have rather done something else if I knew they weren't visible.  Wasn't meant to be.  

Anywho, we continued on down the road. OMG winding and turning over and over. I've never done anything like it. Just madness.  It got to the point that it was funny because it was so absurd.  David did a really great job navigating.  We passed gorgeous beaches and cliffs and valleys and a bunch of other falls we could see on the side of the road and finally stopped halfway for the famous banana bread.

After the scrumptious snack, we hit up  Wai'anapanapa aka the black sand beach. I was really looking forward to this specific stop but I didn't know why.  The weather was perfect and the second we parked and got there, it began to downpour.  Not a good sign but only a slight delay.  We tried to get to the beach but took a wrong turn and ended up in these awesome caves.  A great five minute detour hike.  

Then we got down to the beach.  It was magical.  I can't explain the sound the water makes when it washes back into the ocean on the black pebbles but something about it was just so special.  It is such a beautiful and unique place.  I bottled up a very small amount of sand and wish I had brought a proper bottle even though I am sure it's illegal.  There were also other things to see there like a blowhole and an ancient, sacred burial ground.  The weather was still not great and we were starting to get really hungry so we didn't stay as long as I would have liked and I was sad to leave.  This is my new favorite place in the world. I loved it. 

A view from the path heading to the beach. 

Beach level. 

Just past Wai'anapanapa is finally the town of Hana.  We were starving and I was panicked because there was nothing.  But then we saw this sign for Thai food.  It was a shack like structure off the main road called Thai by Prawnees.  With a very nice blonde local greeting us and "Mama", a little Thai (I think) lady cooking on the side and a hippy couple just leaving, this could have gone one of two ways.  Go figure, it was the best Pad Thai I have ever had in my life!  We spoke with the waitress/owner a bit who explained she moved up to Hana a couple years back because it is the only place left for authentic Hawaiians to live, however people like Oprah have started to infiltrate.  She was originally from Wailea, where all the big hotels are now.  She also let us know that the road we were contemplating taking home, which was stated as "illegal and against rental contracts" to take, was actually fine.  More on that later but if you ever find yourself in Hana, make sure you go see Mama and her crew for some delicious Thai.  

Although we passed a couple of things on the road that we said we would hit up on the way back, the thought of going back the way we came was horrifying and there was a little more we wanted to see just past Hana.  So with a little convincing by our waitress, we continued on our path and decided to take the forbidden road. We passed a red sand beach and literally drive right by the Sacred Pools without realizing.  I was bummed about it but was concerned about getting home before it got dark so we just kept driving.  The road was pretty similar to what we took but at least there was far less traffic.  And then it got weird.  

The road was not completely paved, as promised by the waitress.  Thankfully we had 4-wheel drive (and really no other choice).  It was like Mars meets the Golan Heights. I've never seen anything like it.  (Fast forward a day and we were speaking to a local who explained it like "driving on the moon.  It's like another planet out there.  But totally safe, you guys were smart to take that.  But also pretty courageous!")  It was a cool feeling though to know that we took the road less travelled and saw another beautiful side of Maui a lot of people don't get to see.  

We made it home just as the sun set and took a breather before our strategically placed rewarding steak dinner at Duo, our breakfast joint turned steakhouse at the hotel.  Just as I was stuffing my face with the complimentary COTTON CANDY (sour apple flavor!!!) dessert that comes with the bill, we saw Rob Riggle.  See a celebrity at the Four Seasons, check.  

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