Sunday 31 March 2013

Hana Highway: Day 1

The road to Hana is not merely the thought of an end site or a final destination, there is no anxious wait for arrival, no boring cramped car rides, or tired whining travelers. It is simply a 68-mile-long-stretch of remarkable mile marker experiences. As my Maui travel guide would say, "If you're in a hurry to get there, you're missing the point." It leads you through flourishing rain forests of bamboo gated pathways, flowing waterfalls, plunging pools, painted forests of rainbow eucalyptus trees and the most dramatic seascapes you could ever imagine. Some people say Hana is "The Land that Time Forgot," others describe it as the crown jewel of driving. The fact that they even call it a "highway" is hard to grasp. It's a doozy and a drive. It's miles and miles of unblemished landscapes and towering rock faces. Everyone takes this journey to fulfill their dreams and images of Hawaii, the tropical fantasy that becomes reality along the way. 

The crystalline days like today are the rarest of seasons. They come like benediction, regal and scented with cedar and pine. Needle like winds rinse every impurity from the air, so clear you can see the mountain ranges in the distance, crisp and defined as a paint palette. There's a total of four of us today, wind blown hair, radio tunes blasting and our "buddy" rental car that takes a little lovin' to get going! Everyones eyes wander around as we wiggle down the windy road that takes us along the southeast coastline of Maui. At times, the road has been dripped with tangerine flowers covering the bridges and blacktop we pass by, perfuming the warm afternoon. Suddenly,  we're so enclosed by forestry the radio goes out and we have nature's music to entertain us. Each creature has its own way with words, playing with them in their mouthes like cherry chocolates. We have absolutely no worries in the world, except maybe which mile marker is going to take us to our first cascading fall of water. And then there it is, right in front of my eyes. My heart comes to life for a moment, beating with exhilaration as I study my surroundings and how I've imagined myself here for months! I take in every bit of it, the sights, sounds and smells, and how this March morning has given way to itself in the blue haze of true autumn. Hand shaped leaves, and painted like vegetation hang against white cascading waters, and a green golden blush lay gently along the hills. 

It's funny to think how waterfalls have an affect on human beings. They seem to universally affect every single individual with a peaceful, soothing excitement. It's also funny to think while I'm writing this, how amazed we were by the very first waterfall we saw, Twin Falls, which was absolutely nothing compared to what we later came upon. But, each one is truly unique and beautiful in its own way. I don't remember how many we saw this day or the next, I lost count after five. Some fell right next to the road, others took us on quite a venture past the main trails. I feel like our eyes grew with each mile marker we passed. Some filtered through giant boulders creating long streams and some fell into giant cauldrons of water, so inviting we couldn't resist jumping in! These pictures don't do justice!!!

No road trip is complete without getting locked out of your car... thank god for well prepared local campers because the only thing the police are good for out here are hanging up on you!! We ended our day at the best place possible, Wai'napanapa State Park, where you can find lava tubes, natural sea arches and sea caves, tons of hiking trails and gorgeous black sand beaches! To state it simply, this park offers unbelievable panoramic views. On land, the hills, valleys and green jungle give way to a dramatic black lava coastline. At sea, the deep blue ocean and white cresting waves blast spray and mist into the air as they pound against the jagged cliffs. This place seriously looks like a living postcard from heaven. 

We saw so much in one day it almost seems all the same. It almost melts together like crayons in a car on a hot summer day. But it only takes a minute to revoke the beauty and how each setting stands distinct in its own way. After about 30 miles of driving, which took all day, it got us halfway through the highway and all the way to our pit stop. Greg's work owns the historic Travaasa Hana, so we got an awesome discount to stay for a night and enjoy a luxurious little village. We watched the sun set over a pasture of horses, enjoyed the heated infinity pool and hot tub in our robes, then completed our day with a delicious meal at the Ranch! 

Night fell and the rain came, arriving sideways, bleeding in through the shutters and rooftops, continuing through the early morning. We started our day with some pool side yoga over looking the ocean. Which may I say was the first time Greg and I did yoga, and what better place to do it? Thank you, Megan, for making us go! It was absolutely amazing and I can't wait to do it again! After a little restoration of mind and body, are journey is no where near over... please stay tuned for Road to Hana: Day 2! Coming soon! 

"There is no end point, there is not even any there, there. There is only the end of your discovery."