Day Five: Heavenly Hana – Dasterdly Mosquitos!

Southeastern coastline along the Hana Highway - Photo © Carl Amoth

Southeastern coastline along the Hana Highway - Photo © Carl Amoth

We knew we wanted to take full advantage of the photo opportunities along the Hana highway and unlike many others that see the drive as the journey (i.e. getting to Hana) we wanted the entire day to be our adventure. We set out from the Marriott at 7:30 a.m., stopped for gas and Starbucks (yea!). The Jeep was loaded with camera gear, snacks and water. I, as is our routine, am the navigator and was following the recommendations in our heretofore mentioned Blue Book which has been worth it’s weight in gold. The instructions go something like this: At 3/10th of a mile past the 10 mile marker there will be a telephone pole and a small turn out, pull over here and walk a few minutes down the path past the red flowers with the broken leaves (kidding) and you will see the most amazing waterfall. Sure enough, we did.

Lower Puohokamoa Waterfall - Photo © Carl Amoth

Lower Puohokamoa Waterfall - Photo © Carl Amoth

What they didn’t tell you is that if you are the first person on the trail (me) you will get a face full of water from every plant you must press through to get to the view. Good news for Carl is that I essentially knocked all the water off the plants before he came through (this is the rainy side of the island).  However, the Lower Puohokamoa Waterfall was worth it. I was trying to help Carl get his gear ready (my role as assistant must be maintained) and as I reached in the bag to get something out, I didn’t realize the bag was open and inadvertently dumped some of the equipment out onto the muddy ground (oops). I felt just awful, but everything was fine and Carl was great about it. As Carl was shooting away, I started feeling all these nipping bites all over my legs and as I looked down I saw literally DOZENS of mosquitos having a Bev Brunch! ACK!!! They weren’t even touching Carl’s legs (I guess mine have a bit more meat on them, dang it). I am frantically trying to get to the bug spray WHICH IS INSIDE THE CAMERA BAG, and yet, once again, I dump Carl’s equipment, except this time one of his very expensive (we’re talking thousands of dollars) lenses rolls out and is headed down into the deep, deep, valley!!! I am freaking out (partially from the Jurassic Park Mosquitos that are still on attack) but also because this is not good, really not good. Carl is mustering up his best attempt at nonchalance while simultaneously wondering….”how did she do that again?!?!” Carl (fortunately) saves the lens as well as the other half dozen items I dumped, and again he is so nice about it. I’m done with this location and these parasites, so I head back to the jeep and let Carl keep shooting.

Upper Waikani Falls - Photo © Carl Amoth

Upper Waikani Falls - Photo © Carl Amoth

Next stop is the Upper Waikani Falls, also known as the Three Bears Falls. There was little to no parking at these falls, so we parked up the road a bit and Carl hiked back down for his shots. He was able to climb down near the falls and get some good photos. We had read about a great place to stop at the Nahiku Marketplace where there was a taco stand with great kalua pork tacos and good smoked fish tacos. They were right, absolutely delicious. We drove down to see the black sand beach, that wasn’t in itself very impressive, however the drive down into the park was amazing with all of the trees lining the drive and making an incredible  canopy.

Wailua Fallas - Photo © Carl Amoth

Wailua Falls - Photo © Carl Amoth

We passed through the town of Hana without stopping but it seemed quaint, even if a bit touristy. Most people get to Hana and maybe continue on the Seven Sacred Pools and then turn around and drive back (there is no continuous route all the way around the island, but you can continue on the Hana Highway and end up back at the starting point), but we had decided at the beginning of the day to drive the whole route. We did see the Seven Sacred Pools, or the original name ‘Ohe’O Gulch, but there were SO many people there swimming and spending the day, there was no way to get any decent photographs. We continued on our journey and began to see some beautiful coastlines…the opening picture above was taken on the southeast coastline of Maui. The sky began to get very interesting, and the colors of the mountains began to change and morph in front of our eyes. We routinely stopped along side the road so Carl could capture these amazing sights.

Carl photographing Wailua Falls. Photo by Bev Amoth

Carl photographing Wailua Falls. Photo by Bev Amoth

Canyon along the Hana Highway - Photo © Carl Amoth

Canyon along the Hana Highway - Photo © Carl Amoth

Carl photographing a distant canyon. Photo by Bev Amoth

Carl photographing a distant canyon. Photo by Bev Amoth

Tedechi Winery - Photo © Carl Amoth

Tedechi Winery - Photo © Carl Amoth

By now, we have spent almost 9 hours on the Hana Highway, stopping, viewing, photographing, navigating, reading, etc. and trust me, it has been a truly magnificent day–one of those days that we keep looking at each other and smiling, just reveling in the beauty of the day and the experience we are enjoying. But, it has been 9 hours, over 600 turns, one Dramamine, 4,000 mosquitos, rain, wet clothes, lots of stops, and I am ready to be back at the hotel so we can get cleaned up. We are about 10 miles from the end of the highway. Then, behold! What before my wondrous eyes should appear? An Oasis in the desert! A cherry on top of the Sunday! No, it’s, it’s, can it be? Can it really be? Yes, yes it is! IT IS A WINERY!!!! In the middle of nowhere, in the middle of Maui! The tasting is still going on, we have 30 minutes! And they have clean bathrooms with SOAP and PAPER TOWELS!!! Woo hoo! Ok, maybe the wine wasn’t spectacular, but it was good enough today.

This my friends, is the perfect end to a perfect day…..

The evening meal was had in Kihei at Fred’s Mexican Restaurant. Not a very mexican sounding name, but the food and service was very good. Other than the three VERY drunk people we observed across the street. As we were sitting outside enjoying our meal, this big sedan peels rubber, jumps up on the curb and about runs someone over. We didn’t think much about it until we saw another guy (young guy) get up from a bench and immediately fall crashing to the ground on the back of his head (so much so that we could hear his skull crack from across the street at the restaurant). Then the car came squealing back, a couple of guys get out and some definitely shady business was taking place. The driver was clearly just as inebriated as the guy that fell, and then all three of them get back in the car and take off. We couldn’t take it anymore and Carl finally called 911 to at least provide them with the details of the car. That event clearly made us incredibly cautious on our way back to the hotel.

The next day is a travel day to Kauai and our next Great Adventure.

Bev and Carl along the Hana Highway

Bev and Carl along the Hana Highway

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