The other weekend I went down to Hana for a bit of work and a bit of play. It was just my second time along the famous road, and my first as a Maui resident. The very first time happened a few months ago on that initial trip where I fell in love with Maui. A lot has happened since then, the biggest change being the fact that I now live on Maui, and fly over to Oahu periodically for work shoots, rather than the other way around. Yay.
That first magical trip — the one where Maui stole my heart — brought me to the island right alongside a tropical storm that was pummeling the state with torrents of rain, monsoon style. (Flying inter-island in a propeller plane during a tropical storm is fun. I highly recommend it.) The wet weather obviously didn’t have any sort of negative effect on my feelings about the island, but it did make the Road to Hana a little more challenging than normal — and it made the road from Hana (the unpaved road beyond Hana leading up the other side of the island) an impossibility, especially since I was in a rental car. Most rental car agencies on Maui make renters sign an agreement stating that they won’t drive on that road, and most visitors get to Hana and then turn around and follow the same road back. Lame. But also smart, at least when the weather is like that. I totally understand why they wouldn’t want their cars washed over the sides of cliffs.
Fast-forward to the second trip. The weather was perfect and getting washed over the side of a cliff wasn’t likely, which meant that I would finally get to experience the road (my road) in its entirety.
However, the Road to Hana is full of distractions in the form of haunting bamboo forests, icy cold waterfall pools, tiny villages begging to be explored, tropical fruit, jungle vines, etc., and by the time I started winding my way back up the coast along the Road from Hana, the sun had set so it was too dark to see the landscape. It was a tad torturous for my curious self. I could feel that it was epic and spectacular and an entirely different world from than one experienced on the Hana side, but all I could do was smell it (except for the cows in the road. Those I could smell and see.)
Random fact: I’m not good at being curious. Unless there is a distraction that my curiosity can straightaway be transferred to, I have a tendency to fixate on something until the curiosity is abated. Due to this characteristic of mine and the fact that I spent more time playing than working on that particular trip, a few days later my third trip to Hana happened. And this time, I made sure to leave plenty of time for explorations on the other side — along the road less traveled.
The work portion of this third trip involved an earlier-than-is-ideal morning that was fully made up for by the sight of the waves on my way past Ho’okipa, shooting at thirteen different points along the Road to Hana, and several miles of hiking my cameras through dense Maui jungle. But after passing through sleepy Hana town, that portion was done and out of mind and it was all about the exploration of the new.
I’d like to move in here, please.
Beyond Hana, the verdant rainforest opens up to wide open space, with towering mountains and endless ocean beyond rolling hills of… cows. Lots and lots of cows. Also goats, horses, mongooses, and chickens… but mostly just those cows.
I can’t wait to go back.
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