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Report 1896: Two Travellers on Maui, January 25 - Feb 5, 2011

By Doug Phillips from Canada, Winter 2011

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Page 10 of 14: The Road to Hana and Beyond - Wednesday February 2

photo by Doug Phillips

Hiking the Waikamoi Nature Trail on the Road to Hana

Off by 7:00am to drive to the opposite side of the island from where we are staying. The Road to Hana is one of the de rigueur aspects of any visit to Maui of more than a few days. Shortly after 8:00am we stopped at the sleepy town of Pa'ia and picked up a picnic lunch at the Hana Bay Picnic Co. and then headed off down the road. Following Maui Revealed, we stopped at several recommended places, but also missed a few for a variety of reasons. We saw some of the vaunted waterfalls, but others were not flowing and still others were too much of a hike for us that day.

Our first major stop was at the Waikamoi Nature Trail where we walked the longer 30-minute loop. Maui Revealed is a bit dismissive of this trail, but we liked it. All the vegetation was new to us and it was a relatively easy walk. A few minutes up the road we stopped again, walked for a few minutes along a narrow path along the edge of a cliff and were rewarded with a great view of Lower Puohokamoa waterfall.

At our next stop, at Wahinepe'e, we met up with a young couple from California who are living and working on Kuaui. They have been there for a year, have come to Maui for a few days and are thinking about moving back to the mainland to get on with their careers. The hike from the highway was along a hunter's road, blocked with a gate and displaying a PRIVATE sign. Forming a bond with our young companions, the four of us skirted the gate and hiked up the road for about 20 minutes. But the effort wasn't worth the result. Not much to see - Maui Revealed indicates that this hike can take up to six hours. My advice - give it a pass.

A note about stopping on the Road to Hana: While there are a few larger parking areas, mainly at state parks, most of our stops were at what I would call pullovers - Maui Revealed refers to them as turnouts. Most of the time we could squeeze in someplace, but if no parking was available or we missed it, generally we didn't turn back. This was our first time on the Road to Hana; we knew we couldn't see everything. Some of Melissa and Michael's group of friends have done it three or more times, and find something new, or budget their time differently, each time.

We encountered our California companions a bit farther along the highway at Pua'a Ka'a State Park and a much more rewarding experience. We hiked up a narrow and muddy path and across a narrow viaduct on the uphill side of the road to a wonderful freshwater pool and waterfall. But be warned, your shoes will take a beating.

We made several additional stops along the road. Highlights included a drive down into the area called Nahiku and its lush vegetation, a refreshing stop at Glen's Coconut Ice Cream stand, swimming at Black Sand Beach, Wai'anapanapa Caves and the Seven Sacred Pools.

Even before starting on the Road to Hana we thought we would prefer to drive all the way around the island. Most people turn back at some point and retrace their route. They miss an unique experience featuring a completely different landscape, some great views of the ocean and mountain and a drive through the Upcountry. They also miss a stretch of several miles of unpaved or patched road, the setting sun causing some visibility problems and cattle blocking the road.

Back home shortly after 8:00pm and sharing our experience with Melissa, Michael and Tim.

Next: Back to Pa'ia

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