When we booked our trip to Maui the friends we were going with said they scheduled a one day tour of the Road To Hana. I immediately did a search to see why. It sounded really fun, but a bit scary. The guide books and blogs all said it was filled with hair raising switchbacks and thrilling bridges.
The guide books did rave about the area almost to the point of making me gag. Once we got going, I could see why. Apparently this is what all of Maui was like before the selfie-sticks hordes descended.
Parts of the Jurassic Park movie was filmed there because it feels other-worldly and well, pre-historic. I kept expecting a dinosaur head to poke through the trees. Instead we saw chickens and turtles taking naps.
Hmmmm. I loved it and enjoyed it, but frankly the road was nothing like the mountains in Bhutan or North Vietnam. Now, they were grabbing- your- seat and saying- your- prayers scary. No defined edges to road. Massive Potholes. Only one lane so you’d never know what kind of truck you’d meet going the opposite way at the curve of the switch back.
The Road to Hana is a 50 mile road that goes from Kahalui to Hana, with 617 curves and 56 one lane bridges. Built on the side of the mountains, it’s an engineering feat to be respected. Modern life retreats as we head into the mountainous jungle filled with photo ops.
It is considered rude to honk your horn on the Road to Hana. Drivers in the know, take their time. It is Hawaii.
Massive Waterfalls Keep Us Thrilled
One can’t help but gasp in wonder seeing the plunging waterfalls. There’s something about waterfalls that lifts the spirits. Fascinates. Hypnotic almost.
There are lots of them on Maui because so much rain in the mountains. The water has to have some place to go. Some are powerful and dramatic, while others secluded and tranquil.
Black Beaches Captivate Attention
I loved the black beaches. For a mid-westerner like me, familiar with Lake Michigan and sandy inland lakes, the black beaches are are fascinating. I found it fun to compare and contrast with the black beaches of Iceland, littered with chunks of ice.
The Hawaiian versions were perfect for swimming. Exploring a Volcanic Tube was a new experience.
We stopped at the The old Hawaiian village of Keanae, truly a place that time forgot. It was interesting to see the 1860 stone church still in use in one of the last coastal enclaves of native Hawaiians.
Hana—the end of the ride is a sleepy town of 1000 inhabitants. It’s not at all like the Western side of Maui filled chock-o-block with hotels and traffic. Hana only got TV in the late 1970’s. With so much that is so beautiful I wondered why they got it at all. It’s a lovely quiet spot with compelling views. I’d love to go back and stay awhile.