Magnificent Maui-Day 3
We checked out early from our Ma'alaea Airbnb and started on the Road to Hana. If you come to Maui and don’t drive on the Road to Hana, then you might as well jump into the blue Pacific and wait for Jaws.
The Road to Hana is a 52-mile long road hugging the Pacific. It’s crazy curvy and though it is a two-lane road, it feels like one in many of the places. There are sharp curves and stupid drivers, so make sure you have some Kona coffee coursing through you. The video below is shaky. I blame the road. Seriously.
People generally do the Road to Hana in one day (Thoo!). I like to travel slow, so we rested in Hana for the night. The next morning, we continued onto ‘Ohe’o Gulch before ending back in Kihei. But, more on that later.
If you have a smart phone, then I strongly recommend buying The Road to Hana app by GyPSy Guide. One of the best purchases I’ve made! Download the app, turn it on, and the voice will guide you along the road and make suggestions for you to stop along the way. The guy will also give you background history. Fun!
There are many places you can stop and spend as much time as you like but I suggest doing your own little research beforehand and narrowing down a few favorites.
The Road to Hana begins in Paia. It’s a quaint town with shops that looked cute and unique. It was 7 in the morning and too early for them. K was relieved.
Our first stop was the Huelo Lookout Fruit Stand, between mile-markers 4 & 5. Stop here for some excellent fresh juices & smoothies. I had pineapple juice with coconut water, and K had coconut water with ginger.
Both were delicious and lasted us quite a while. There are steps that take you down to a little lookout. Skip it if you’re short for time.
Our second stop was the Waikamoi Ridge Trail , just past mile marker 9. There is a small pull out on the mountainside where you can park your car. The trail can be muddy, so proper shoes are a must, unless you like slip n slide.
|K strutting through|
We hiked for about 10 minutes on the trail. K isn't fond of hiking and I wanted to save his hiking patience for the following day. I wish we had spent more time on the ridge trail though. We were the only ones on it, totally surrounded by tropical forest feels, sounds and smells.
Our third stop was Kaumahina State Wayside Park. One of the prettiest places for a bathroom break! We took a couple of pictures and continued on. :)
|Peek a euc|
The trees truly do look like someone ran a paintbrush on them!
There is only one easy path that goes in an out, you won't get lost. We walked till we reach the Ti groves. You will see Ti leaves used in Hawaiian food preparations and also in clothing.
While we were visiting, there was a Hawaiian family picking some Ti leaves to make hula skirts. It was lovely when the women sang a prayer to thank the earth for the bounty. I wanted to preserve the sacredness of the moment, so didn't film them. But I did take pictures of K sauntering. :)
We spent about half an hour in the arboretum before getting back on the Road, to the Keanae peninsula, our fifth stop.
If you blink, you'll miss the little road to the peninsula. It comes on your left, a little bit after the Keanae arboretum. The road is bumpy, but totally worth the view! Don't just drive on! Park carefully on the side and take in the blue Pacific bursting into white on the black lava rocks.
This is one place I didn't want to leave. It was rugged and beautiful. Like Milind Soman.
Aunty Sandy's Banana Bread stall is across the road. GET SOME! It was crazy yumm and fresh out of the oven. I didn't care about my gluten intolerance. I was so hungry that I stuffed my face like a monkey! Thankfully I didn't have any negative reactions.
|Reaction free and happy|
We got back on the Road to Hana. There are a few waterfall lookouts, like Upper Waikana Falls, on the way.
There was hardly any water to make us want to stop and linger.
Our sixth stop was for lunch. We found Thai Food by Pranee by accident. We were serendipitously driving around when we came across this little sign screaming Thai Food, and then my tummy said "waitaminute". Thai Food by Pranee is in Hana, close to the Travaasa Inn, across the the ball field and on the road to the Red Sand Beach. The place is cute. It's essentially a food truck parked under mango trees with picnic tables. The food was the bomb! We ate here twice and got the Drunken noodles & Pad Thai, both with shrimp.
This is a local hangout. It was wonderful to share our table and get some lo down on the places to go!
We spent some time at the shops on Mill street, our seventh stop on the Road to Hana. Actually, I was shopping and K was snoozing in the car. I bought some local handmade fragrant soap. For the life of me, I cannot remember the store! The lady was so nice and helpful. She told me about the Kaihalulu Red Sand Beach, our eighth stop, and how to get there. You park by the Hana Community Center, which is down the road from Thai Food by Pranee. Between the School and the gate to Travaasa, there is a chain link fence with a gate. Go through and you'll see a well worn path on your right, going down through trees. It can be a little tricky because of the incline and loose gravel. But if I can do it, so can you. The trail will flatten out, and you'll see the Pacific in front of you. If you peep down, you'll see a red sand beach.
This isn't it. Turn to your left and keep going. The trail narrows on up. Be careful! I saw a lady slip. Hee hee, it was funny but poor her! She wasn't hurt. We asked.
Once the trail kind of flattens on the top, you'll see views like this-
If you're happy with this view, then you can turn around and walk back down. But please don't. Continue on the trail hugging the mountain. It will meander down to one of the most beautiful beaches.
There are red sand cliffs enveloping you with the blue, blue Pacific curving in front of you. There is a natural barrier of black lava rocks, which creates a sheltered swimming cove.
The 'sand' is red poky pebbles. Another reason for wearing good shoes!
You'd have noticed that I haven't shown the full 360 of the beach. That's because my dear friends, I don't think it appropriate to show people sunbathing au naturale. Don't let that stop you though. You go do your thing. Try to go in the earlier part of the day though. We loved the beach so much, that we went back later to swim. The sun had moved on and the water was considerably colder and the tide stronger.
Our ninth and last stop of the day was Hana Accommodations. The owner Tom, was a wonderful host. He greeted us when we arrived and gave us excellent suggestions on what to do the next day. We stayed The Hideaway cottage and loved every bit of it. It was so peaceful to go to sleep surrounded by lush greenery, listening to the faint splush of the ocean. And waking up to bird songs. I was one happy traveler.