Friday, January 8, 2010

January 8, 2010

Maui developed in such a way that the “Leeward” coast, protected from the Pacific trade winds by the dormant volcano, is the sandy, sunny, and touristy side of the island. The opposite side of the island (the “Windward” side) is far less developed and offers a lush, rocky and sometimes mountainous landscape. The only road connecting the West (Leeward) side of the island to the East (Windward) side is the “Road to Hana” – which makes sense because Hana is largest town on the Eastern side of the island.“The Road to Hana” is a beautiful 55-mile stretch of road along the North coast that takes you from Central Maui to East Maui through narrow passages and winding roads with speed limits that keep you crawling at 10 mph or recklessly tearing down mountain slopes at 30 mph. As every guidebook and personal recommendation we read or heard said, “you have to do ‘The Road to Hana’” we felt we obliged to comply. The whole point of the trip is to enjoy the drive and not worry so much about getting from point ‘A’ to point ‘B’ (since there really isn’t a lot to see at point ‘B’). The trip is so common, in fact, that the car rental companies push convertibles at double the rate, just so you can see more of the terrain along the way (what they don’t tell you is that it will likely rain at various points along the trip). We stuck with our ultra-sub-tiny-compact Hyundai, which was a wise choice as you often had to share the narrow 2-lane road with 1-½ lane wide tour busses coming the opposite way (usually well above the speed limit).Anyway, since I’ve heard that I tend to be a bit verbose while blogging, I’ll take you along our trip with photos and captions since that’s all anyone looks at anyway:

Waterfalls everywhere

Winding Roads, Narrow Lanes

Garden of Eden, lots of flowers and the valley from the opening scene of Jurassic Park

Black Sand Beach, complete with lava-rock black sand, caves carved by lava and erosion, and jelly-fish, which feel like lava if you get stung!

We stopped at Hana Harbor but decided to move on to see O’heo Gulch before the tour busses caught up with us. O’heo Gulch was called the “Seven Sacred Pools” by tourism companies trying to add some ancient Hawaiian appeal to the spot, needless to say it is a very cool area – after a couple days of rain, that is. When we were there it was so dry it could have been called “Three Sacred Pools of mostly stagnant water”. It was still beautiful.

On our way back to Central Maui we stopped at “The Fish Market” in Pa’ia, which is hippie central in Maui, but this place by far had the best, freshest tasting, and most affordable fish of all the restaurants we went to. We stopped at the surfer beach called Ho’okipa Beach and watched some powerful waves crash before we headed back to catch the sunset and go to bed for our second night at Tradewinds.
Posted By Matt