Monday, June 19, 2017

the drive to Hana

Thursday was Jade's and Autumn's 19th birthday. It was also the day we planned to do the drive to Hana. The drive to Hana along the coast and through the forest is one S curve after another, about 617 curves, about 52 miles of them, going an average speed of 20 mph, sometimes 10 mph, including 56 bridges most of which are one lane bridges. 

photo via:

photo via:

It is a beautiful and sometimes harrowing drive with many scenic stops along the way. Depending on how many times you stop and how long you stay at each, the trip takes about 3 hours they say. They tell you to start early, that there is no food available along the way so bring a box lunch. Turned out that part wasn't quite true as there were many fruit and food stands along the way. Also as it turned out, we didn't make it all the way to Hana, almost but not quite as we didn't start out early enough and we still had to do the same drive in reverse and we wanted to get back before dark.

We should have started out about 7 AM but it was probably close to 10 before we got on the road with a nearly hour drive to Paia where we got our lunches and the road to Hana starts.

Our first main stop was Twin Falls, having twins with us. Twin Falls has a small lower fall which was about a 15 minute walk from the road. The actual Twin Falls was another 30 minute hike (and 30 minutes back) and the girls decided we would just continue on.

We stopped a few times here and there for the scenic views but driving that road, for the people in the front seat at least, was a riveting proposition. Those turns were tight and often blind and we would pass things before we realized that was the turn. The one lane bridges, sometimes crossing the gully of a small waterfall, weren't so bad after awhile as those were rarely blind and the etiquette was to let whoever got there first go first. But we did stop at the Garden Of Eden, a private little arboretum that had some cool stuff growing and mostly labeled but it was a little pricy I thought, charging by the person instead of car.

and we stopped at a lava tube. This was pretty cool, a linear cave formed by flowing lava. We could only go in so far as the property line allowed, which was pretty far, then we had to turn around and retrace our steps. The cave was unlit and they provided mag lights. The lava around and above glittered like fool's good but it was actually a life form, a rock eating bacteria that lives chemically off the stone, a very old form of life.

a scenic overlook

And we reached Wai'anapanapa State Park which boasted a black sand beach and a seaside cave. There were other features like freshwater caves and some historical ancient sites that I would have liked to visit had I been aware but it was late in the day by then anyway and we did spend some time on the black sand beach 

and hiked up a little trail above the beach and so we got to see a sea turtle swimming along the side of the bay below where we were standing. Hard to tell from the picture but this one was pretty big.

Driving back was not quite so gripping having some experience now on the road and without stops we made it back in time to get dinner in Lahaina.

I really liked this painting in the little hole in the wall 'asian fusion local' with an open kitchen

and the waiter (maybe 4 employees total including the cook who was this really skinny woman about our age with a big dog that she took out for a walk after we were served) folded Marc's napkin into a bird of paradise. Also, they let me wash my hands in the sink in the kitchen after I had eaten my messy fish tacos.

note: I had a very hard time selecting the few yes, comparatively photos for this post. I plan at the very end to do a post of just some of the pictures that didn't get included in this and other posts.

next: another day in paradise

links to previous posts in this series:


  1. What beautiful places and things you got to see on that day. Not sure that I would be brave enough to sit in the passenger seat along that winding road. My foot would have been through the floor.

  2. What a beautiful gift to your girls.

  3. I bet you loved the gardens. So beautiful.

  4. Years ago I was with some people on the road to Hana but the driver got car sick and we had to turn around. Great pictures.

  5. What a wonderful world.

  6. Beautiful pictures! I love the black sand beach and the tropical vegetation, and the mouth of the lava tube fringed with ferns. I've never heard of those bacteria before. Very strange! The sea turtle was a good find, too.

  7. Just gorgeous! So you're saying that driving this route probably would take about 3 days to do all the stuff you might want to do? :)

    1. maybe not 3 days but definitely spend the night in Hana.


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