Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Maui, Day 2: The Hana Highway

After our helicopter trip on The Big Island, our ship headed back to Maui for another day! Instead of booking an excursion through the cruise line, we decided to rent a car for the day and drive along the famous and scenic Hana Highway. We were also hoping to go hiking and see some waterfalls.

I think waterfalls are awesome. It's just kind of a thing with me.

Time for fun facts! "The Hāna Highway is a 68-mile long stretch of Hawaii State Routes 36 and 360. It takes about 2.5 hours to drive when no stops are made as the highway is very winding and narrow and passes over 59 bridges, 46 of which are only one lane wide. There are approximately 620 curves along Route 360 from just east of Kahului to Hāna, virtually all of it through lush, tropical rainforest. At the end of the Hāna Highway (actually past Hāna in a clockwise direction around eastern Maui) is the ʻOheʻo Gulch, also known as the "Seven Sacred Pools". This series of waterfalls and pools is located inside the Haleakala National Park."

I have wanted to see the Seven Sacred Pools ever since I first saw the movie IQ (starring Meg Ryan, Tim Robbins, and Walter Matthau). I am sure you know it; it's about Albert Einstein trying to fix up his genius niece with a local mechanic. It's a really fun romantic comedy, and there is a scene where Meg Ryan is talking about the Seven Sacred Pools at a dinner party and shocking the mathematics professors by talking about how the water is so aerated it feels like a giant tongue is licking you.

Unfortunately, the Seven Sacred Pools are located at the very end of the Hana Highway, and we didn't have enough time to drive all the way there, hike around, and make it back to the ship in time for our departure. So that's going to have to wait for next time. But we still had an amazing day full of sunshine, rainforests, waterfalls, and beaches.

We had the benefit of Chris and Kent's previous visit to Maui to help guide us on our way; and they knew of a farm that allowed hiking up to its three (!!) scenic waterfalls. So we drove about an hour from the port in our shiny rental car and hit the trail! As promised there were three waterfalls, each distinct in its own way and each trail had its own challenges. Some had us balancing along former canals...while to get to another we had to pick our way across rocks in a stream. Another had a really steep incline/decline--it's a good thing there were lots of trees trunks and branches to grab on to!

 Waterfall #1

Waterfall #2

Waterfall #3 (and a swimming hole).

After our hike, we hit the road to cruise the Hana Highway. It was completely twisty and turny, and around each bend was another stunning vista. Palm trees, bamboo forests, cliffs, beaches, and amazing views of the ocean...it was all there. Chris knew of a secluded black sand beach that we visited and it felt like we were the only people in the world. Well, until the pickup truck pulled up and some more tourists joined us. Maybe it wasn't as secret a beach as we thought. In any event, just driving along the road was a pleasure. 

And next time I am going to make it to the Seven Sacred Pools!

Monique and Kent at the top of the trail!

Baby pineapples...interesting fact, pineapples are not a fruit, they are a flower. That's why they don't have seeds!

The black sand beach. Ah, paradise. 

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