Sorry no post was completed on Monday for Monday. We were all in bed by 9:15 at the latest. Even I was not able to muster the energy to stay up late and do the daily blog.
Monday was a great day, although the activities were not as originally planned. It was a day to be flexible and make arrangements on the fly. Even Chris and I were not fully prepared for the day. I know, shocking isn’t it?
The two Sarahs were going to hike the crater rim at Haleakala Mountain. This is an 11 mile hike and was likely to take 6-8 hours and works best if one car is left at the finish location and the hikers get dropped off at the starting location. Since Chris and I were also planning to do a (easier) hike at Haleakala, we agreed to meet them at the finish location and drive them up the start at the summit.
Unpreparedness #1. We forgot to check out the weather at the summit prior to leaving. Weather patterns vary dramatically around the islands and the mountain summits even more so.
We were up, ate and had departed by 6:30 AM. We reached the ranger station at about 7,000 foot elevation (the summit is a little over 10,000 and another 10 miles of driving) at 7:45 to be told that the summit was socked in and likely to stay that way all day and the rain we encountered at lower levels was going to continue and had made trials slippery. Luckily we had caravaned and the two cars were together so after a quick discussion, we canceled these plans and made new ones.
Sarah and Sarah went back to Makena Surf where the weather was sunny and warm and spent most of the day at the beach, swimming, boogie boarding, and relaxing.
Chris and Ed decided to head for “The Road to Hana”. This is 30 miles of twisty, turnny, narrow road through the lush northeast side of the island with waterfalls, coastline, etc. Unpreparedness #2. Since we have multiple cars and drivers, and since we were not planning to go to Hana today, all of our maps, tour books, audio CD, etc were back “at the ranch”.
We were going to do the road to Hana anyway. I had wanted to leave early and avoid busy roads and while we left early and were somewhat in the direction of Hana, the mountain delay had put us a bit behind what would have been our schedule. But we put aside the lack of preparedness and figured we knew enough of the directions and the layout that we would be fine. (and we were, pretty much)
We were not impressed with the first 8 or so miles. Yes, it was twisty and turny–very few straight stretches of road. Few waterfalls in the first 1/3. We have been on other more scenic roads. The road was not a cliff hanger in that the road was rarely right next to the cliff with dramatic drop off like some roads we have driven.
About mile 10.9 the waterfalls started. Since it had rained that morning, and had continued to be drizzly, the waterfalls were gushing. unfortunately, unlike the North Shore of Lake Superior, car pull offs were small and trails to the waterfalls are not easily found or hiked. We did drive the rest of it and saw waterfalls, ocean and scenery; an improvement over the first 10 miles.
We reached Hana, a small town with a nice bay and black sand beach, around noon. After 30 miles of roller coaster riding, Chris was a little nauseous with motion sickness-sort of like riding the Wild Mouse ride for several hours. We rested around the bay and watched the waves come in. Evidently they were higher and stronger than usual today.
We stopped in the small Hana Cultural Museum and talked to the staff-originally from Pittsburg but had been here for decades. She helped us resolve a major issue. “Do we go back the same way or take the back roads?’ This had been a ongoing discussion with us. I wanted to, Chris did not.
All sorts of comments have been made about taking the back road which skirts the southeast coast and has unpaved stretches and narrow roads that supposedly car rental companies do not want you to take and you take your life in your hands if you do it. I figured it could not be worse than what we had just experienced and might be better for Chris. (Considerate me) Chris had already asked about a dozen people what their thoughts were. We did not have cell coverage for most of the road to Hana so that was not necessarily safer.
We ended up agreeing to take the road but filled up the gas tank first. The road was as advertised. Even narrower than before and less well paved. Most of the road to Hana had room for two cars except for some short one lane bridges. This road had longer stretches along cliffs where there were no places for two cars to be on the same roadway. We tried to make sure we had two or three cars in front of us and left the lead car worry about oncoming traffic. It worked out obviously, we made it back and you are reading about it. There were no stretches where a 4 wheel drive vehicle would have been necessary.
But we made a stop at the Kipahulu portion of the Haleakala national park which lies along the coast and saw the lush scenery change into range land and wind swept grass lands with beautiful coastal views. All in all, another good cooperative decision made. We got back here about 5 pm after a stop at the grocery store.
Deb and Rebecca got up to say good bye to us that morning and took it easy for a while. They then headed up to the road to Hana also but turned around at the halfway point. They did not find it enjoyable and had planned to take in the sights at another town called Pa’ia. They spent time in Pa’ia where they window shopped and had crepes for lunch (no PBJ sandwiches for them!)
Chris and I made dinner for all where we swapped stories of the day. Having gotten up early and been active, all were in bed early.
Ed 2/19 for 2/18 3:00 pm