Magnificent Maui - Day 4

Bird songs woke us up bright and early for part two of our driving adventure. Even though we stayed in Hana, the traditional Road to Hana continues about 12 miles further to the Kipahulu District of Haleakala National Park, our tenth stop. We had seen a part of the National park when we drove up to see the sunrise. Whichever one you choose to visit first, save the entrance fee receipt. It's good for three days pass into the park.

There are a couple of things we did at Kipahulu:

'Ohe'o (Oh-Hey-Oh) Gulch:

Imagine waterfalls cascading into lovely pools on one side, and the Pacific going crazy on the other. That is what you'll see when you walk down the steps to the viewpoint.

peaceful pools

crazy ocean
It's easy to get to. From the Visitor's Center, walk down to your right. You'll see steps, which are slippery, so good shoes are recommended. You can swim in the pools if you like. K and I chose a spot and just sat there looking at the water, and the kids jumping into it. 

Go as early as you can. This place is known for getting crowded fast. There were only four people when we went, but there was a large loud group coming down just as we were leaving. Phew! 

Pipiwai Trail:

As you come up the stairs, walk to your right. After a few feet, you'll see a trail going up. Get on it and stay on it. I chose the Pipiwai Trail because-
a) It's not too strenuous. A 4-mile round trip with about a 800 foot elevation seemed do-able for non-hikers like K and I
b) It goes through a bamboo forest
c) It ends at a beautiful waterfall
d) I wanted to make K walk. Hee hee. 

The trail was not easy. It's not paved, so good shoes are recommended. It's uphill all the way, with very few flat places. I did have to stop more than a few times, to calm my bursting heart. 

It was a beautiful hike! We were engulfed by tropicality - sounds, feels and all.

K was ready to turn back after about half a mile, but I really wanted to see the bamboo forest, so we kept going. There were a few good look out points along the way. Being mindful of my fellow hiker's patience, I didn't dangle for pics, except for a few quick ones. 

Banyan tree on the way

When you see this step waterfall, know that the bamboo forest is not far ahead.

The trail sorta follows the Pipiwai river and you'll hear it gush when you climb the steps into the Bamboo forest.

When you're in the heart of the Bamboo forest, be prepared to be wowed and silenced. The air is so crisp that you feel your nose saying "huh". I was deep sniffing all throughout! 

This is the one time I'll encourage you to get off the trail for a bit, and walk a couple of feet into the forest. And be quiet. The bamboos are singing an ancient song you have to feel. 

K was tired by now. To be honest, I was too. It was hot, and weird parts of my body were sweating. Plus, we had a long drive back to Kihei. So we turned back, without reaching the boardwalk through the bamboos, and without seeing Waimoku Falls. I regret, a little bit, not finishing the hike. But hey, which travel adventure is without any regrets? 

I do not regret starting the hike early. We met only a couple of people going up, but dozens, and a dog, going down. 

After you're done watering up at the Visitor's Center, you have a choice of two routes to get back to Kihei. The first one is going back the same way you came. The second way is more adventurous, and highly recommended by locals. It involves continuing east on the Hana highway, called the "backside of Haleakala". It shows the rugged, dry side of Maui-a different kind of unspoiled beauty. It is an unauthorized road, which means that if your car breaks down, the rental company won't help you out. K was apprehensive about driving the quasi unpaved 14 miles of it, so we went back the way we came. I'm glad we did because we stopped at a couple of places we missed while driving up.

Our eleventh stop on the Road to Hana was the Waioka Pond, also called Venus Pool. It was highly recommended by locals and it is a bit hard to find and to get to. We found this spot by pure chance. There was a house on the road with leis hanging on a pole. 

Since wearing lei was on my must do list, I screamed "AYE STOP", causing K to hurriedly pull over to the side. After K bought the lei for me, we asked a guy carrying a huge bag of ice where he was going. He said,
"To the venus pool of course"
"Venus Pool? Can we come too?"
"Sure. Follow me"
And so we did, jumping over the fence opposite the house, walking on a well worn path through private land, 

path on private land
following sounds of gleeful screams & music coming from a little further away, scrambling down a little slope to this-

This was the spot that took me by surprise. This picture doesn't do it even a wee bit justice. Imagine being hot, and bothered by the fact that you're trespassing, and following a strange guy with ice melting over his shoulder, and then you scramble down to a beautiful pool of water with different shades of blue. The scene was so breathtaking that I did a loud "subhanAllah". The groups of people gathered on the side would've looked me up and down, if they weren't high. Yes, they were high. I could smell it. 

Waioka Pond is a local, local spot for cliff diving. There were two spots people were diving from. One was closer to the water, and the other was right below my posing spot-

I did not dive in. But I do want to go back to Maui, after polishing my meagre swimming skills, and screamingly dive into the Venus pool. 

Our twelfth stop was Wainapanapa State Park to see the black sand beach.

By now, K and I were tired. You can see the black sand beach and the sea arches from the parking lot. 

But I would recommend sinking your toes into the black softness.

There are easy steps that take you down. It was afternoon by the time we reached the State Park, and a little crowded. We sat a while, 

inhaled the blueness and the blackness, and started on our way back to Kihei, where we began our two day driving adventure on the Road to Hana. 


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