Hawaii! Part 8: Road to Hana
One of the things we knew we had to do in Maui was drive the Road to Hana. Even after it came highly recommended by pretty much everyone we knew who'd done it and I read lots of "Road to Hana Guides," I still wasn't entirely sure what we were getting ourselves into but it just seemed like one of those "must do" things while in Maui. So we loaded up the car and prepared ourselves for a 12+ hour road trip!
Don't the guys look stoked?!
The Hana Highway is less than 40 miles, but between all the stops you're supposed to make, the hairpin turns, one-lane bridges, and 25mph speed limit most of the way, they say to prepare yourself for a 12 hour journey round trip. And they weren't kidding! I think it took us 14 hours round trip and we only stopped at maybe 6 or 7 of the stops. It didn't seem like 14 hours though, because we stopped probably every 20 minutes or so on the way there... then on the way back you can stop at some of the places you missed the first time to break up that drive too, if you go early enough. We didn't get on the highway until about 9:30am, so it was dark on our way back and we only made one stop (not counting the stops where I made Josh pull over so I didn't stab anyone due to my throbbing headache. More on that later.) Most people get up around 6 or 7 to start the drive so they are probably heading back by early afternoon.
I downloaded the Gypsy Road to Hana app on my phone. There's a free one and one that's $4.99 and we got that one. It follows you via GPS and explains the stops to you as you get to them and gives you recommendations on which ones are "must sees" and which ones are okay to pass up. Kind of like having a tour guide. The guide was a little quiet and hard to hear (especially when people were digging their hands into bags of potato chips while he tried to talk) but otherwise pretty helpful and I'd recommend him for anyone going. We named our's George.
We saw so many amazing things that day. Beautiful waterfalls, for one.
Our first stop on the Hana Highway was at Twin Falls. It was a bit of a hike to get to, and the trail was mostly on someone's private property (not a good or a bad thing, just a fact) but being able to swim in a waterfall was pretty sweet.
More stops along the Highway...
awkward family photo?
Next we came upon Three Bears Falls, which you know Josh and I loved just because of the name.
You could see it from the road, which I was totally content with because in order to get down to the actual waterfall, you had to climb down a steep hill that consisted mostly of rocks. And did I mention that I was wearing flip flops? But we obviously did it because as you can see in this photo above, we were down by the Three Bears chilling on some rocks. It was all worth it though because we didn't die and my new favorite picture ever of me and Josh was taken down there. Behold:
It's the only picture I've printed out from Hawaii so far, and I already have it framed :) Luckily, we didn't die trying to climb back up the hill either, even though I was pretty sure we were going to. I wish I had taken a picture of it so you could see what I'm talking about, but I was too busy holding on for my dear life. I couldn't even hold on to my hat. Josh wore it up the hill for me. I wish I'd gotten a picture of that too!
It was funny because some people (who were standing safely on the road and were smart enough not to risk their lives) saw us climbing up the hill and Josh wearing my hat... they made some funny comment about how it was his color or something and how nice he was for "taking one for the team," and then we ran into them hours later at another stop and they were like, "Hey! Your husband gave you your hat back!"
I also enjoy this photo of Nikki photo bombing us.
Moving on... the Road to Hana was filled with all sorts of amazingly beautiful views. Like this one:
Seriously. That water. Gorgeous.
And this one:
After that it was our last stop before we actually made it to Hana and the Seven Sacred Pools -- Wai'anapanapa Park. It was gorgeous! There were such spectacular scenes here -- like, a blow hole (but it was dry :(), a sea arch (seen in the distance there below), a cave, and my favorite.. a black sand beach!
As I mentioned, the black sand beach was my favorite since it was unlike anything I'd ever seen before.
It was more rocky than I was expecting, but I don't know what I was expecting considering black sand beaches are made out of lava rock. Super cool. (I may or may not have taken a rock home in my bag...)
Josh and Brian went snorkeling here as well (they went snorkeling pretty much everywhere!)
I tried to go too, but my mask was not cooperating and by this point I was starting to get that damn headache :( But they saw a sea turtle!!
(and yes, my boyfriend is an amazing, experienced photographer, but this was the best photo of the sea turtle he could get. I won't judge him for it.)
By this point, we knew we only had a couple more hours of daylight left, so if we were going to make it to the Seven Sacred Pools before the sun set we needed to get a move on it. So we did. And we made it!
So that was it! As far as my understanding goes, the Seven Sacred Pools are the last stop on the Hana Highway. You can continue driving in that direction and make a loop all around Maui, but the roads after that point are a lot more rough and most rental car companies won't even let you drive on them. So most people just turn around.
Was the trip worth it? Yes. Everything we saw was amazing and I'm really glad we got to experience it. However, I'm not sure that I would do it again. At least not without any Advil. By the time we started our drive back my headache was getting worse and worse and as we drove on, it just became unbearable. I was MISERABLE. I didn't have any medicine with me otherwise I would have been fine, because I took some medicine as soon as we got back and felt better within 10 minutes. I was like a brand new person. But the drive home? Awful. I was making dying animal noises. The headache combined with the curvy roads started to make me feel nauseated. I had Josh pull over a few times hoping I could throw up and feel better, but of course I wasn't actually sick to my stomach so I couldn't, and even if I did I don't think I would have felt better. Anyway, somehow by the grace of God, after about 3.5 hours (literally) we finally made it off that highway and back to regular Maui roads and I was able to fall asleep for the rest of the drive home.
On a side note, that was the worst part of the entire trip -- to Hawaii, not just the RTH -- (at least for me, although probably for everyone else too for having to deal with me) so I can't even say it was that bad. Seriously, if that was the worst thing we had to deal with the whole time we were there? Our trip was blessed. And it was.
So my advice to anyone planning a trip down the Hana Highway: take some Advil with you. Seriously if I had had some, my experience would have been so much better. Also, take some Dramamine with you if you're prone to motion sickness. For obvious reasons. This should probably take precedence over the Advil, but I would have killed for even 1 tablet of generic Ibuprofen on that drive home while Dramamine did absolutely nothing for me.
Also, maybe just take a helicopter instead. :)