Friday, March 27 - The Road to Hana
A visit to Maui would not be complete without a visit to Hana. The trip to Hana from the Kaanapali area is a time consuming one more in time than in mileage. We put only about 180 miles on the care but we were gone for a full 12 hours. Some of that time frame is due to the 500 plus sharp curves and 50 plus single lane bridges along the way, but more of it is due to the numerous stops that we made along the way, a very rainy day and a nice lunch at the Hotel Hana-Maui.
We elected to purchase the "Driving to Hana and the Seven Pools" audio cassette by Guide/Narrator Craig Henderson. This is a very well done two-sided cassette which plays right in your car radio cassette player and which literally guides you on the way to Hana, instructing you on the best places to stop and educating you on many points of interest along the way. For $25.00 we purchased the audio cassette, a one hour video, an excellent map, as well as four bottles of water and the use of a cooler for the day. That was a real bargain and we get to keep the cassette, video and map!
As I previously indicated, the road to Hana is filled with over five hundred sharp curves many of which follow right upon each other. The road is in excellent condition, but by the time you are done you will feel that you are trained to race in the Monte Carlo Gran Prix, if you could only figure how to make these turns at about triple the speed!
Along the way we found many wonderful sights. Some of our favorites were the Ke'anae peninsula. Be sure to travel down into the peninsula and when you leave catch the view of the taro fields from the lookout about the town.
We also very much enjoyed the Pua'aka'a State Wayside Park which has a wonderful waterfall, and the black sand beach at Wai'anapanapa State Park.
If you visit Wai'anapanapa State Park be sure to duck down and walk into the lava tube to the right of the beach. You can really catch a wonderful view and nice photo from inside the lava tube looking out towards the ocean.
By noon we had arrived in Hana and we made our way to the Hotel Hana-Maui. My prime purpose for this stop was to say hello to Paul Patrick Robinson the director of the Hana Coast Gallery. When we arrived, Mr. Robinson was on his lunch break so we decided to go to the hotel restaurant for our lunch. The restaurant at the Hotel Hana-Maui is excellent and we very much enjoyed our lunch and the wonderful views from the restaurant.
Following lunch I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Robinson and exploring the Hana Coast Gallery. Mr. Robinson is a man who is very devoted to his work and he maintains a top notch gallery in Hana - which also has a top notch web site! If you make the journey to Hana, be sure to stop by the Hana Coast Gallery.
We continued down the road to Kipahulu where we visited the Palapala Ho'omau Congregational Church and the burial spot of Charles Lindbergh. This is a really hard to find left turn from the highway. Look for the sugar mill ruin to your right and then the turnoff straight ahead on the left.
On our return trip we stopped at the Haleakala National Park at Kipahulu (Pools of Ohe'o). While with all of the rain today most of the waterfalls along the way were flowing quite well, as late as 3:00 p.m. only the topmost pool here was filling, yet within half an hour the water had already overflowed into the second pool on it's way to the ocean.
After a long day, the drive back the Hana Coast Highway is a tiring one and I know that I was glad to get back to State Highway 36 where the road once again widens and straightens out.
We arrived back in Kaanapali at 7:15 p.m. almost exactly twelve hours after our departure this morning. The trip to Hana was an exciting and awe inspiring experience.
Well, tomorrow, Eileen and I are off to the Big Island of Hawaii and my father returns home. Tomorrow, we'll be sharing with you his impressions of Hawaii some fifty years after his last visit. For Eileen and I, it's off to Kona and a drive to Hilo where we'll be spending the next 4 days. Join us tomorrow.