Sunday, October 16, 2011

My Hawaiian Vacation, Pt. 11

A while back I alluded to a road trip we took on Maui. Well, this is it! The "Road to Hana!" This is a little road that winds through rural Maui to the small town of Hana. When I say "winds," believe me, I mean it winds. Lot and lots of tight, blind curves, often with steep drop-offs into the ocean on one side of you. And when I say "little," I mean that along much of its length it's maybe a lane-and-a-half wide. Often less. And when I say "road," well, in places the conditions are so bad that the rental car companies don't want you to take their vehicles there, although, hey, what they don't know don't hurt 'em. Basically, it's sort of a scary-ass road. Although I think the worst part was at the end of it, going up hills too steep to see over, with nowhere to get over to if you could see something coming, while the sun shone down at exactly the right angle to completely blind the driver and everyone in the car every time we climbed one. I'm just really glad I wasn't the one driving, although the person who was handled it all like a champ.

If you brave it, though, you're rewarded with a zillion little hidden scenic spots, which are perhaps all the more beautiful because it was a tiny bit of an adventure to reach them.

You've got rocky seashore:


So many waterfalls!

Black-sand beaches:

I rolled my pants up and splashed around a bit there. It was great.

Lush rainforest:

There was a nice little trail you could walk through the rainforest, in fact, which was one of the first stops we made.


That's a mongoose. Those things were everywhere! Also, feral chickens.

And secluded mountain pools:

Well, all right, those weren't all that secluded, as you can judge by the tourists in the picture. Still very pretty though.

Even with all of that, we still didn't see everything. We had an audio guide to the road that we played as we went, which was sometimes helpful and sometimes, well, not -- although it was often unhelpful in amusing ways -- and occasionally it would tell us to stop for something we could not for the life of us find and didn't want to risk trying to turn around for. As it happens, this was pretty much a good thing, as we saw just exactly as much as we had daylight to see, since we left the hotel before dawn and were just finishing up the road at sunset. Believe me, that is not a road you want to be on after dark, and there's pretty much no way to get off it once you're on.

All-in-all, it was a very fun and satisfying day, and if you're ever on the island, I recommend it. Whatever your rental car company says.

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