Sunday, September 5, 2010

The dirt roads past "nowhere"

Here's my two cents on Hana after spending a week in Maui. So as Danielle said, the road to Hana is also called the road to nowhere, and the attraction is the journey, not the destination. That wasnt exactly true for us because we had a reservation at a luxury hotel waiting for us, but there is more than that. Hana is most definitely a destination. Hana is the old Hawaii. There are no Aloha shirts, and chain stores selling souvenirs made in china. there are no tour stands and time share operations trying to lure you with a $15 luau. Hana is 50 miles from any other town, and people there are locals. The road to Hana used to be a worthy accomplishment with the poor quality of the road, but now ~2000 day trippers do an out-and-back, and don't give a second's thought to taking in the local flavor. don't get me wrong, I did love the drive, but after 3 hours of waterfalls, I was tired of following the road most taken.

but like I said, most people go out to Hana from paia, then head back down. However, I wanted to do the Full Loop. voiding the rental car contract - check. 25% grade single lane dirt roads? check! Sheer 400ft drops right to crashing waves below with no guard rail? CHECK!! there was pleading and there was begging and negotiation, and while I'm not proud of it, there was also pouting. in the end, I finally convinced Danielle it was something I really wanted to do -- drive the infamous back side out of Hana.

It was awesome. Vast volcanic landscape, wild goats, and a farm fruit stand with no electricity...I had to pedal a bike hooked to a blender to mix our fresh fruit smoothies!

But before all that, first was boogie boarding at the best beach in the world (Hamoa), navigating a rather perilous path to a secluded red sands lagoon, and the most breath taking 4 mile hike ever, complete with a bamboo forest and 300 ft Wimoku falls.

It's interesting, but the towns we've visited in Maui are pretty different. our main HQ has been Wailea, which is really little more than a master planned resort community (with million dollar condos and houses sprinkled in). Kehei, which was really going into "town" from Wailea, is a rather run down crowded 1 mile strip, Makawao, which is also a little run down, but in that cool Berkeley sort of way. And Lahinia, here's where all the Aloha shirts conglomerate and hit up Bubba Gump's restaurant. didn't love Lahina, but people clearly do, and if the Aloha shirts make them feel removed from the daily grind, well then so be it. they won't be on my 4 mile hiking trail anyway.

So don't miss the drive to Hana, but stay in Hana and experience all there is to see past the road. And absolutely drive the loop. the scenery changes from lush and green to arid and volcanic, with expansive views that I just cannot describe. I love taking a left when the crowd goes right, and Hana and it's surroundings did the trick.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Location:Makena Rd,Kihei,United States

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