26. Hana, Maui

26.  Hana, Maui

Winding Road HanaThe road to Hana is described as curving 500 times in 50 miles.  I don’t know how they counted the curves.  There isn’t a straight road section in 50 miles.  The road is carved along the contour of the coast.  It is narrow, up and down, in and out, with blind switch-backs and beautiful scenery.  There were deep jungle tunnels, pretty waterfalls, and rugged cliffs and rocks.  If you met a car, both dived for the side, which made for exciting driving.  One humorous note — after 10 miles of twisting cut-backs, etc., as described above, we saw a sign “narrow winding road.”church

We drove out on Keanae Peninsula and visited Keanae church.  In the mid 1800s the people in the village there didn’t have a church so they prayed to St. Gabriel for help.  A great storm washed piles of coral onto the beach.  The people built the church of lava rock and coral.  When the church was finished, another storm washed the excess coral off the beach.  The church is still used.  The door was open with a guest book inside.

It was a relief to arrive at Heavenly Hana Motel, our accommodation for the night.  The motel was deserted, door open, with two notes — one a phone number — the other said to stick the paper under the screen door so it would stay shut.  I called the number.  The guy said to take your pick of rooms, the girl will come in the morning.  The motel was one building with a large living room, four bedrooms and two kitchens.  Each room had its own can of insect repellent.

We drove into Hana to see the town.  Hana is a company town owned by the Hana Ranch.  The Hana Maui Hotel is the business center, and caters to “millionaires.”  There was Hana Ranch Shopping Center with Hana Ranch Meat Market and Hana Ranch Snack Bar, and a school.  The whole town; theatre, stores, houses, etc., was painted green.  They were putting new paint on the roof of the old church — green, of course.  We strolled through the manicured hotel grounds and returned to the motel.

Back at the motel we fixed supper in one of the kitchens, and enjoyed music on the radio.  We had the place to ourselves (not counting the bug Betty saw).  It was as big as her hand — she was ready to sleep in the car.

seven_poolsNext day, we drove through Hana up to the 7 Sacred Pools where a stream of fresh water cascades down from Haleakala from pool to pool and into the sea.  It was a very beautiful place for the “Grand Finale” of our trip to Hana.  A quick lunch at the Hana Ranch Snack Bar, and then back the white-knuckle road to Kahului.

Our next destination was across the island to Lahaina, once a booming whaling city and capital of Hawaii until 1843.  Two factions kept the town jumping.  Whalers came ashore to blow off steam, and the missionaries tried to keep them corralled, and, to keep the local girls from swimming out to the ships.  With these goals in mind, a stone prison was built to house errant sailors.  The sailors shelled the town when they got mad at the missionaries.

exteriorWe stopped at the Pioneer Inn on the waterfront in the Old Whalers’ Grog Shoppe.  We had a ginger ale at the brass rail bar, and savored the swinging doors, a ships figurehead, old lanterns, anchors, and harpoons from the whaling days.

Eight miles beyond Lahaina we found our hotel, a beautiful place right on the beach — a real swimming beach, private lanai, all glass front with sliding Japanese-type doors.  There was a step down shower and kitchen, a perfect place.  We went for a swim and enjoyed having the beach all to ourselves, not counting the crabs hiding in mounds in the sand.  We watched an incredibly beautiful sunset with Lanai, Oahu, and Molokai in the distance.

Up early the next morning and drove north to Kalalau Beach, privately owned, but open to the public — so I swam, but Betty was deterred by seaweed in the water, so we went back to our hotel and swam there.  Better to climax our trip at our own private beach and a beautiful place!

Back to Kahului airport and a quick hop to Hilo.  We took lots of great pictures so we can see again the sunset on top of the world, and remember beautiful Kee Beach and all the other exciting and beautiful sights that are Hawaii.  Pau.  (The end- finished)  So ends the Hicks’ Honeymoon Island Hopping Trip.


25. Maui

25. Mauiimages-2

Up and away by prop plane direct to Kahului, Maui.  Approaching Maui there was heavy cloud cover so the pilot ducked under the clouds, and flew close along the coast of Molokai which was higher than we were flying.  Terrific vistas opened through the clouds!

At Kahului we picked up our rental car, and drove across the valley up to Kula Lodge where we were to stay.  Kula Lodge at 3200 feet elevation, was a rustic mountain lodge commanding a grand view of the valley between the two volcanoes that rose from the sea and joined to form the Island.  We could see the ocean on both sides.

The accommodations were duplex cabins with loft & balcony, all hardwood & rustic.  There were electric blankets on the beds, and both heat and sun lamps in the bathroom.
silver swords Maui
On up to Haleakala, the extinct volcano.  We planned to photograph the sunset and then go again the following morning to do the sunrise.  The first setback was finding out that it took two hours to drive the fifteen miles to the top.  The road was paved but murder!  It was a narrow two lanes wide enough for one car!  We drove through rain and clouds but above 8,000 feet it was clear and sunny.  At the Haleakala National Park station we learned the Silversword plant had started to bloom, and the park ranger preferred sunsets rather than sunrises.

We stopped at the rim of the crater to see the Silversword which they claim grows nowhere else in the world.  Then we drove to the summit.  The wind was just icy.  I had on my windbreaker but, wow, it was cold!

At 10,050 feet, air is thin, and a sign cautioned people to walk slowly.  Going up the stairs to the summit viewing platform, I walked three steps and stopped and puffed.  Betty walked up three steps and collapsed — scared me! Providentially, a car pulled in the parking area and a man got out.  I yelled at him for help, and he helped me carry Betty to the car.

images-1Betty was a trooper and insisted we wait in the car until sunset and take our pictures.  It was a beautiful and breathtaking sight.  We were alone and freezing, and as the brilliant red sky began to darken, I found it a little frightening also.

Going down that treacherous road at night was “exciting.”  We almost ran into a young cow — scared all three of us!  She went galloping down the road because she couldn’t see to get off the road.  We were on open range and the cattle were coming onto the blacktop road to lie down on the warm pavement. We eased by several herds of cattle, and one huge bull who wasn’t sure he wanted to get off the road.  We got back to Kula Lodge half frozen, half starved, and convinced that a trip to the top for the sunrise at 4:00 am was not a good idea!

The lodge had a glassed in open hearth charcoal grill so you could watch the cook and not get smoked.  We splurged and watched the chef charcoal our New York choice steak on Australian Black Wattle wood.  (Good!)  Baked potato — the works, including home-made apple pie!

After eating we sank into a deep sofa and soaked up the atmosphere.  There was a fire in the stone fireplace, with antique bellows and tongs alongside.  Real in-use kerosene lamps hung on chains from the log beams overhead.  On one wall hung portraits of the owners ancestors.  For some reason they fascinated me — with the old poses and military costumes.  The lodge had been the father’s and was  loaded with antiques.  When the son retired, he built a house, and converted the lodge to a unique hotel.

We ate our breakfast snack on the balcony of our cottage, and then headed down the mountain and around to the coast road to Hana.

Next, join us on another hair-raising “adventure” on the road to Hana!



24. Kauai – Northern Route 2

24.  Kauai – Northern Route 2Kee Beach

Finally!  The end of the road!  Magnificent Kee Beach began at a wall of lava rock and then straightened out to disappear down the coast.  Towering above all this, almost perpendicular mountain sides cut off the world from the Na Pali Coast which is around the point.  A trail goes along the side of the mountain around the point for 11 miles if you’re out for a stroll – and then nothing!!  Well, unless you count one man, a hermit, and rugged cliffs & lush green valleys and beaches.  The old Hawaiians lived there.  What a wrench it must have been when the last Hawaiian gave up his grass hut and came out to civilization around 1920.

At Kee Beach, we ate our jelly sandwich, and then went swimming.  Kee is protected by an offshore reef so the water was calm, clear as glass, and just the right temperature.  We were alone most of the time to enjoy this paradise.  Betty fell in love with the place and didn’t want to leave.  We left long enough to go back to Haena Beach for a drink, and then hurried back to Kee to swim again and wait for the sunset, which was beautiful.  Reluctantly, we headed back to Hanalei for the night.

Hanalei PlantationUp to the luxurious Plantation Hotel for breakfast.  (Expensive to stay there – $50 🙂  We sat on the broad veranda where Rossano Brazzi sang to Mitzi Gaynor in “South Pacific” and enjoyed the magnificent view of Hanalei Bay with the mountains of “Bali Hai” behind.  We also enjoyed watching the little green finches that joined us for scraps.

Breakfast is served!  Betty had fresh orange juice, pancakes, muffins, and milk.  I got iced tea, papaya, muffins, crepe suzette with scrambled eggs on top, and hash brown potatoes.  I told the waitress I’d ordered the breakfast steak – she apologized and brought that too!  Whew!!  Believe it or not – I ate it all!!!  Absolutely delicious!!  The bill…$4.00!

lighthouseBack on the road south, we turned off to Kilauea Lighthouse; a coast Guard station.  The lighthouse is the largest of its kind in the world.  Around the cliffs at the base of the lighthouse nest Blue-Faced Boobies; a type of gull.  The Coast Guard had a chain up around the cliff to keep eager tourists from falling off, so we were about ten feet from the nearest nest.  With that meager protection the Boobies apparently ignore the gaping animals behind the fence.  The babies were a fuzzy few weeks old and just starting to try their featherless wings while mom sailed gracefully overhead and along the cliffs.

Boobie BirdI set up the camera and tried to get pictures.  Then I realized three things: 1. My feet hurt;       2. All the Boobies weren’t birds, – there was one red-faced boobie standing in the sun with a camera; 3. The longer I stood there with camera poised under those wheeling, gliding birds, the better my chances of being decorated – for stupidity.

So ends the first half of our trip; Kauai, the garden isle, beautiful, lush – from the deep rugged Waimea canyon to the tropical paradise at Cocoa Palms, to the calm serenity of Kee Beach!

Maui lies ahead! Four more days to see, for excitement, and to discover the uniqueness of Hawaii.

23. Kauai – Northern Route

23. Kauai – Northern RouteFern Grotto

Heading north, we joined a group for a three mile boat trip up the Wailua River to the Fern Grotto.  Captain John Smith piloted the boat and had a running narration of legends, old jokes, colors and scenery along the way.

The Fern Grotto, located in deep woods, was a high mouth cave with a trickle of water coming off the top.  Lush ferns like green lace were growing upside down at the mouth.  The cave was a natural band shell, so we stepped inside while the four members of the Smith family sang the Hawaiian Wedding Song – beautiful!

Across the road from the boat dock was the Coco Palms Resort.  The main building was a high peaked Tahitian Longhouse, and guest houses had thatched roofs.  A lagoon full of colorful Koi fish ran the length of the building to a grove of huge palm trees that backed up the property.  It was a beautiful tropical place.  Betty almost fell in the lagoon photographing the pink water lilies.Coco palms

At night there is a torch lighting ceremony.  A conch shell blows, drums beat and a boy runs through the trees and along the lagoon with a torch lighting torches.  He gets in an outrigger canoe and is paddled to the far end of the lagoon where he lights more torches.  Elvis filmed “Blue Hawaii” at this location.

Then up the coast to the small town of Hanalei on Hanalei Bay, arriving at our motel a little after 6:00 pm.  The lady told us there was no place open in town that late to eat – except up at the Plantation Hotel at $6.50 per person.  (Her tone implied that $6.50 was outrageous for dinner – remember folks, this is 1966)  But, she was very kind and gave us a can of soup, a papaya, tea, and milk and cookies, and finger bananas, which were delicious.  No charge, she had locked her cash register for the night.

Lumahai BeachUp and away toward the end of the road.  We stopped on a hill overlooking Lumahai Beach – the nurse’s beach in “South Pacific.”  It’s split in half by a tongue of lava.  Legend has it that an evil giant went around calling people bad names.  Another giant threw him to the sharks.  The sharks ate all of him except his tongue which was so bad they threw it back on the beach where it turned to stone.

Next was Haena Beach – used to film the Bali-Hai scenes in “South Pacific.”  It was a beautiful broad curve of white sand with restrooms and pavilion for a picnic, and a sign – “Dangerous Swimming” – Sigh!!