Thursday, October 4, 2007

Hawaii Part I - Hana: Land of Waterfalls & Bamboo

Hawaii is a place that I have always been interested in visiting for obvious reasons, but never seemed to make it there on vacation. We usually head to Europe since my sister lives there and we love international travel. However, with the stresses of planning a wedding, we figured staying in the US and lying on a beach would be the best way to de-stress from a wedding. I should have suspected though that with so many adventuress activities tempting me, the sun tanning would be at a minimum.

We flew out on a Monday morning and had a direct flight (thank you US Airways) to Maui. After picking up our rental car, a very cruisey PT Cruiser convertible, we headed down the Hana Highway to Hana. This is a very famous highway along the north shore of Maui which has 617 curves along some of the most beautiful coastal shore anywhere. It goes through the rain forest, passes numerous waterfalls and beautiful ocean vistas, and through the cutest little surfer towns where fruit is sold in little shacks. We stopped at a place called Twin Falls to explore and jumped off a couple of smaller waterfalls. There was a cool rope swing we used as well and we just marveled at how green and wet everything is. Trees grow so huge here. and have giant roots.

It took us until dark before we made it to the town of Hana. We checked into our lovely ocean view hotel room at the Hana-Kai Resort and went to ask the resort manager where we could eat. He said at 7:30 pm on a Monday night, there was only one restaurant open in town, the Hana Maui Resort up the road. That is what is great about Hana, it is tiny, and really caters to getting away from everything, including stores and options. We had Ono fish semi raw at the resort and then took a nice moon light walk along the back sand beach that was in front of our hotel. Both of us were still very tired and a little jetlegged due to the 6 hr time difference from Ohio to Maui so it was an early night for us. This pretty much became a theme the whole trip, early to bed early to rise. It was good to maximize daylight since its dark at 6:45 pm in Hawaii.

I was up early the next morning and got to watch the sun come up over the ocean from our hotel room. It was amazing and the perfect way to start our vacation. We had a breakfast of oranges, bananas and candy bars and before taking a walk on our black sand beach.

Sun rising from our balcony @ Hana-Kai Resort

Our hotel was on a black sand beach in Hana.

The plan for the day was to head to the Ocea Gulch area (known as the 7 Sacred Pools) to play in the waterfalls and take a 4 mile hike to a 400 foot fall in the jungle. We got there early and it was beautiful and deserted. We swam up to some falls and played in the gorgeous water for a while before heading up to the large falls.
The hike up to large falls was beautiful and actually passed by at least 4 other large waterfalls. It rose up into the rainforest through jungle, large strange trees many baring smelly fruit and finally a mile walk through the coolest bamboo forest I have ever seen. The bamboo was so thick that it was almost pitch dark beneath it and no undergrowth could grow at all. It was very disconcerting since you would have no sense of direction if you left the path in either direction. The hike ended at the 400 foot Waimoku falls which looked very movie set like. Overall, this hike was amazing for only being 4 pretty but wet miles.

Makahika Falls (200 ft tall 0.5 miles in)

The bamboo forest went on for a mile with no light.

Waimoku Falls (400 ft tall 2 miles in)

After leaving Ocea Gulch, the drive back to central Maui that afternoon was gorgeous along the Hana highway. We stopped to look at waterfalls along the highway, eat ono (delicious in Hawaiian) Mahi-Mahi cooked by a Hawaiian in his front yard, and watch wind-surfers at the beach known as the wind-surfing capital of the world.

Wind Surfing Capital of the World on the North Maui Shore.

We reached our Two Mermaids B&B at around 5 pm to begin our second part of the Maui Adventure. To be continued...

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