At the end of our Day Two, we all decided that we’d spend Day Three by exploring Hana. I was the only one in the family who had the opportunity to drive the Road To Hana (RTH) back in 1997 (nearly 20 years ago). Driving the RTH is not about getting to Hana, but the journey as you make your way towards Hana. I had an idea what to expect (so I thought), which was why I told the family that we should leave our condo in Kihei around 6am (fat chance)!
So much for leaving at 6am
While we had tourist maps, and notes I printed from various websites, I decided to stop wherever I saw a bunch of parked tourist vehicles. That’s what happened at Twin Falls, the very first stop. There must’ve been over 100 cars parked and I said, there had to be something to see here. I don’t remember much from the 1997 trip (I should’ve kept a trip diary – I had no blog then). I don’t remember Twin Falls. So, we all got out of the Tahoe, crossed the bridge, and entered the gate towards Twin Falls. It
sprinkled a bit, but we kept moving, Ethan and Madison were ahead, Caitlin and I were paired together, while Nancy had Evan. It was a beautiful rainforest, a great paved trail. There was a point where we actually had to cross a stream to get to the other side. Speaking of rainforest, it did rain.
A nice heavy downpour for about 5 minutes. We took refuge under shady trees, but there was just no escaping the fact that we’d get wet eventually. After a few minutes, the rain ceased, and we walked some more. Not soon after, there it was, Twin Falls. At first, Nancy and Evan stayed from a distance by not getting any closer to the falls. After I made my way closer to the falls, I signaled and told her it was ok to cross. I met them halfway, and in no time, all of us were a few feet away from the falls. The walk/hike took just about over 1 hour roundtrip. We didn’t wear sneakers, it was just our Rainbow Sandals that saved the day.
|One of numerous falls we saw off the highway|
I don’t think the Beatles wrote this song about the RTH, but it was quite appropriate. All I kept thinking were the 600 curves/turns, and the over 50 bridges we had to cross. There were so many waterfalls in between that I simply lost track as to which waterfall was right in front of us. We did stop at the Halfway to Hana store. We had to get out and stretch for a bit. Ethan ordered shave ice, while Nancy and I shared a warm banana bread that just came out of the oven. Oh my!
Better than the Ice Bucket Challenge
|Glorious Black Sand Beach|
your ice-ness was the break we needed from The Long and Winding Road. It sure woke me up. It woke up my senses. Not long after, Ethan jumped and joined. The 2 kids jumped in again, and again….it was that fun!!! After a few minutes of playing in this cave ice bucket, we walked out and headed down to Black Sand Beach. It was just picture perfect. It was packed with tourists, but the beach was big enough to accommodate the crowd.
It was already past 4pm and there was just no way we’d be turning back now. So after leaving Wai’napanapa, we finally arrived at Hana. We were very hungry at this point. We stopped at Braddah Hutts BBQ a food truck off to the side of the road. We ordered the most delicious BBQ Chicken and Grilled Steak. We were on a mission to eat fast because at this point, we’ve not even seen the Seven Sacred Pools yet, considered one of the highlights when you drive the RTH. So we did what we could to eat quickly, but it was just wrong to do so. The chicken and steak were flavorful, and I was not expecting that from this little shack. It was amazing. Another family next to us enjoyed watching us devour our food. Hahahahahaha I don’t blame them.
|Lower Pools at O’heo Gulch (Seven Sacred Pools)|
We arrived at O’heo Gulch around 5:30pm. I knew that I wanted us to at least see the pools. This would be our very last stop, and the plan was to take the back road leaving Hana. We all made our way down to the pools, took a few good pictures with the kids. Nancy then decided to take Evan and Caitlin back up to the car, while I stayed with Ethan and Madison. We played in one of the pools. Definitely much warmer and cooler than the icy water from the cave earlier. It was fun jumping in the water with my kids, I’m also just glad they know how to swim. Not long after, we decided to get out and leave the pools. I was left behind since I couldn’t find my Rainbow Sandals. After a few minutes of searching, I found it. I started to rush, not a good idea. My left foot slipped on one of the moss-covered rocks, and at that moment, it felt like the longest 2-3 seconds of my life. I thought I broke something or that my foot would get stuck. Thankfully, none of that. No wound, nothing. Just a little bruise and I’m sure I’ll survive,
|Orange-colored sky on our drive home from Hana|
When I took the back road before, I do remember the “rocky road” and then I remember ending up in some nice residential area. That’s what I was expecting. After leaving the Seven Sacred Pools, we were back on the winding road, lots of rocky areas. Just imagine yourself sitting at a Brookstone and sitting on one of those massage chairs….it was rockyI Did I have appreciation for paved roads the moment we left the rocky/unpaved areas? You bet. As we drove out further, I thought’ we’d end up somewhere in Makena/Wailea area….but that was just too good to be true. The road took us to a long stretch of 1 to 2 skinny lane paved highways, via cattle farms, and near the foot of Haleakala. It was a long way home (probably took us close to 2 hour). We got home past 9pm, and as you might imagine, we were exhausted. I am just glad that we did the RTH and with 4 kids in tow, we tried to take in as much as we could with so little time. Road to Hana is now crossed off our Maui bucket list.
What kept us entertained? The kids of course. Caitlin had a craving for chips, so she asked for “TORTATO” chips (we thought she wanted Potato chips). Come to find out she was referring to TORTILLA chips. She couldn’t pronounce TORTILLA (pronounced TOR-TEE-YAH), instead, she kept saying TOR-TEE-TA. That took about 15 minutes which gave us a good comic relief during this strenuous drive.