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The Hana Highway

There’s a price to seeing some of the greenest green in the state of Hawaii. It’s called 620 curves and 59 single-lane bridges on Maui’s highway 360 heading to Hana.

It’s a road full of squiggles and cars reaching speeds of 10 mph.

But driving it is worth it–even for the feint of stomach.

Because nothing could be more outrageously green.

Or blue.

Or blue and green.

It’s like driving through someone else’s photographs.

Except those are our kids.

Every view is a back drop for a post card.

Layer upon layer of greens. Shade upon shade.

How to even take it all in.

And waterfalls.

Some visible from the road.

Some tucked away.

Each a little reward from heaven.

Here’s part of the coastline glinting in the sunshine.

And through these trees is Waianapanapa Black Sand Beach.

We’re in Hana at this point. Anticlimactic. No restaurant. No historical marker. No medal for making it this far.

But from the highway we’ve turned down the Honokalani Road, which leads to the Black Sand Beach.

This is amazing. Hundreds of people must come and go from this beach each day.

But no one seems to stay real long.

It’s as if everyone is in a hurry to get somewhere else.

They do like we do…

Snap a few pictures with this parent…

And then with that one…

Before hobbling off the rocks in their bare feet and back to the car.

Only we do stay longer.

We crawl through the surf.

And watch the glass-like socks that form at our ankles as the waves rush back to the rest of the ocean.

Hours. I wonder if we couldn’t do this for hours…

Build forts in the surf while Husband figures out how to take his own picture…

Without snarling at the same time.


But…there we are!

Missin’ a kid, though.

Ah. Got it.

A little further past Hana, we brake at a coconut sign.

Silas says it is worth his five bucks.

But this. This is Hamoa Beach–a little south of Hana.  A gem on Maui.

And what makes it so great is that the waves here break further from the shore and make it one of the best places to boogie board.

I suppose you can boogie board on any beach. But it’s different here.

You can simply ride wave after wave from 100 feet out all the way to shore.

And it doesn’t get old.

Like. Not at all.

And it’s probably where we should have spent the afternoon, but I hurried us along thinking we ought to see the Haleakala National Park where the Seven Sacred Pools are.

I think someone will hit me over the head next time.

The little dotted circle at the bottom of the map is the route that takes you to the pools. The closed Seven Sacred Pools. Which means we can pay to look, but not touch.

The other dotted line is the Pipiwai Trail which leads to a couple of waterfalls.

We took the trail…

Which has its own lush green on every side of us…

And some major views.

That light green fluffiness is the tops to a bunch of bamboo.

Here’s an old banyan tree in the middle of the trail…

With branches so low it makes sense to sit on them.

This is the bamboo up close.

Which doesn’t let a lot of light down to the ground. Rather, the hollow trunks thunk and whistle and rub against each together like a low-note wind chime.

They even dip and sway like they might just lay down for good.

Here’s the trail’s destination. A waterfall with a long name.

The sign we’re leaning against says to not go beyond it.

Which seems to inspire folks to go beyond.

Lots of leafy things to notice on the way back.

And unleafy things.

And that familiar banyan tree…

Which lets us know we’re almost back.

One last bit of foliage we won’t find on Mount Rainier.

Then. Since we’ve made it this far, we walk the loop to The Seven Sacred Pools.

Of which there aren’t seven. Nor is sacred the right adjective.

The pools are foamy and full and wind-whipped. Which is why, like everybody else, we’re just looking over the edge today.

It’s a long, slow-going ride back to Kahana from here. No matter which way we go.

We could turn around and wind back the way we came.

But we don’t.

We continue around the island creeping over narrow, patchwork pieces of highway that take our very breath away.

There’s nothing halfway about driving to Hana.

And there’s nothing…nothing quite as beautiful.


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