Tuesday, January 8, 2013

A New Year's Day Adventure

We've been looking forward to driving the road to Hana and all the way around the "back side" of Haleakala since we got here, so on New Years Day we decided to make the journey. It was a lovely day with surprisingly few people on the road. According to guide books, during the winter there are an average of 1500 - 2000 cars travelling this road each day! Well, we picked the right day to do the drive! I had intended to have audiobooks for the kids to listen to on the drive, but didn't get to the library the day before. The one book we were part way through ended about 45 minutes into the trip! But the kids did so well. We left the house at 9:30am and arrived home just after 6pm. A LONG day in the car... and not even radio reception most of the time! It was a quiet, peaceful day for the most part.

It is so green and lush on the north shore, with waterfalls galore! Our first stop was Ching's Pond... a beautiful clear pool.

The road to Hana is a windy, narrow, crazy road! John and I drove it on our honeymoon more than 13 years ago, so it was fun to drive it again with 3 kidlets in tow!

We took a detour off the highway down to Nahiku. We were using the "Maui Revealed" guide book - a must-have if you ever visit Maui. Some of the locals don't like it because it gives too much information, but as the adventurers it's amazing! So on recommendation from the authors, we took this little side trip down to the ocean. The road ended at a lovely spot with beautiful views up and down the coast and another sweet waterfall. A wonderful place to stop and stretch and enjoy the view.

We took a picnic down to the beach at our next stop, a gorgeous black sand beach. So picturesque... so lovely.

 Thor loved digging in the pebbly sand.

At the same park as the black sand beach was an amazing cave filled with fresh water. It had been a lava tube and was now a cool swimming hole! Zara was the first one in (as usual!). The water was cold, but deep and fresh.

There were other caves off the main pool so John swam under and explored the bigger one.
After driving through Hana and stopping for some more food, we continued to Ohe'o Gulch (it used to be called the 7 Sacred Pools but they are not sacred and there are more than 7 of them!) This place is hugely publicized in tourist brochures as "THE" destination when driving the Hana Hwy. It is beautiful, and very unique but perhaps somewhat overrated. The water in the pools is very rust colored and looked quite uninviting. We didn't swim as it was also very windy and a bit chilly.
If you look really closely at the above photo, you can see someone jumping off the cliff to the left of the upper waterfall. That's a BIG jump. There are signs everywhere saying "No jumping" and apparently a person could even be arrested for jumping, but it's so tempting and so exciting and such a perfect place for cliff jumping that I guess it's worth the risk!

Thor was being a little lizard here, curling up in on a hot rock, soaking in the warmth.
Just a little ways past the pools, we found a stunning waterfall... about 50 feet tall, plunging into a perfect swimming pool about 7 feet deep. It was about a 10 minute hike in and we had it all to ourselves - pure bliss! A perfect ending to our day of waterfalls!
Past there we started wrapping around to the "back side" of the island. The rainforest turns into grazing lands, and then into dry, rocky land that slopes down into the ocean. It's amazing how many different climatic zones we went through that day!
We stopped on the side of the road to pick up these sweet little hitch hikers! Actually we stopped to watch a baby humpback whale and it's mama practice breaching! So cool!
A fantastic day, a wonderful adventure... a great way to start the new year!