Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Weekend drive around the Hana loop

John and I have been wanting to explore the big East Maui loop - the road to Hana, Hana town itself, and the rest of the drive around including the other piece of Haleakala NP.  It always looked like a 2-day affair in order to see most everything, and we finally found a good weekend for the venture.  It helped that we had explored the first part of the road to Hana with Kip and Danny previously (thanks guys!) so we could skip right ahead a few miles down the road before pulling over the first time.

We began with coffee at Huelo Lookout; "coffee for John" is always a good place to start.

Then a walk around the Waikamoi Nature Trail for some communing with trees and a bit of mud on our legs to wash off later.

Trees at work:

And vines at work, crawling up the trees:

One nice overlook, looking toward the road around the next bend.  We finally figured out that the "Doctor Seuss plants" are the tops of a bamboo forest, funny!

Love the roots on these guys:

And more roots:

Not quite sure what this is, but it's photogenic:

"End of Trail" - yep, I agree:

Also not quite sure what this is...

Back on the road, our first waterfall diversion to see Haipua'ena Falls:

Getting a glimpse of the beautiful coastline below us:

Surf alert!  We didn't know we would be treated to more "surf on the rocks" spectating on this drive.  The side trip down to Ke'anae was totally worth it.

John's taking in the pounding surf scene while I try to figure out why anyone would have built railroad tracks up to this tree (or maybe the tree grew up later):

Coconut tree (I think...):

Yay for big waves!

Same spot a moment later displaying mini-waterfalls:

As you may have surmised by now, we kind of can't get enough of this stuff:

I think we could watch big waves all day long.

Finally tearing ourselves away - more to see on the road to Hana!  We stopped at Ching's Pond to see a lovely pool and view of the road bridge above:

Good time for a swim, washing off some mud and saltwater spray:

A spring-fed field, with the water coming out of the side of the hill right below the road, that's pretty cool:

Waterfalls in the distance, as seen from Wailua Valley State Wayside:

Same spot, turning around to see taro fields below us:

Upper Waikani (Three Bears) Falls - very cool!  There was a large amount of water thundering over the rocks, and more water seeping out of the cliffs, and still more water drizzling lightly from the ring of overhanging rocks above.  A really neat place, worth the climb down to it:

My turn to get wet, and it might be very clear water but it's not very warm:

A wonderful view of a tall waterfall just below the road (West Wailua Iki Stream):

Next we stopped at Pua'a Ka'a State Park and explored little trails up to and along the viaduct.  This was quite fascinating and I would have loved to include pictures, but we wanted to swim in the pool and didn't want to risk taking the camera.  Maybe next time!

There's also a fun little hike through a lava tube cave leading to a banyan tree, that was a neat little stop.

Makapipi Falls, besides having the best name for a waterfall, is spectacular because you can stand right above where it drops off the cliff and watch it fall.  Maybe 100 feet down?  This is one where the experience of being there is hard to describe, so I can only recommend coming to see for yourself if you can:

We drove down Nahiku Road and it was quite lovely.  Should have taking a photo of the greenery and foliage.

Coconut Glen's has excellent ice cream made from coconut milk (non-dairy).  Nahiku Marketplace was also a score for treats and coffee.  We never hit Hana Fresh when anything was open.

Oddly, I apparently put the camera away for the day.  Which actually worked out for the best because I didn't realize I hadn't packed a spare battery for it, and I was happy to have some power left for Sunday photos.

However, I sure should have tried to capture some of the magic from Wai'anapanapa Park.  We camped there Saturday night (as far as I can tell, the only way to stay in Hana without paying beaucoup bucks).  The park is great - a black sand beach, freshwater caves, and especially a fun trail along the coast complete with sea arches, lots of surf pounding (yay!), a natural bridge over a little inlet, and even an unexpected blowhole that blew mist and sideways water streams.  We spent Saturday evening and Sunday morning roaming around and exploring everything.  And Saturday night listening to surf lull us to sleep.  Very cool.

Hana town is small but nice.  We had breakfast by the bay, walked to a small red sand beach (what, no camera again?  What is wrong with me?), and checked out the eclectic general store.

OK, finally a couple photos.  Here is Koki Beach with striated red rocks lining the far shore:

Turning around, here is 'Alau Island, which coincidentally is also in the photo (from a different angle) in this article that came out yesterday - love the single tree on top of the island:

We also checked out Hamoa Beach, looks quite nice, lots of people playing around having fun on surfboards.

Continuing on, we trekked down to Waioka (Venus Pool) and managed to catch a guy jumping from the rocks which was fun to watch.  More waterfalls, a fun little clamber up to Paihi Falls for a swim in the pool, a stop at Wailua Falls, finally reaching Kipahulu.  This is the "lower branch" of Haleakala National Park and it includes 'Ohe'o Gulch (the Seven Sacred Pools) and a wonderful hike up the hillside.

All weekend we went back and forth between being totally alone in our adventures to meeting a bunch of people.  Here was the bunchest of the whole trip.  Lots of folks checking out the park, and it was a free National Park day.

One of the lower pools, looking out at the ocean:

Wonderful place for a swim:

We totally enjoyed the hike up the Pipiwai Trail along Pipiwai Stream (another great name).  Some of the steps heading uphill:

Fabulous bamboo forest:

Colorful spot under a bush:

Unsurprisingly, here's what is growing on that bush:

And the granddaddy of the waterfalls (at least the ones we can reach, as far as I know) - Waimoku Falls!  400 feet high and stunning.  Worth the hike, for sure.

One last stop - a place I have wanted to visit since I heard it is on Maui.  Charles Lindbergh's grave, who knew?  And what a lovely site he picked:

Final shot - the coastline from the park below the church, oh so pretty:

From there we drove more twisty road, some of it dirt, saw more pretty scenery and views of the ocean.  Soon we were back where we knew, Kaupo and the start/end of our sea-to-summit-to-sea adventure from the weekend before.  Closing the loop, and what a loop it is!  A most excellent weekend.

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