Motoring Around Maui Part 2: The Road to HanaHAWAII, ROAD TRIPS, SERIES, STAFF — By Betsy Villanella on March 29, 2012 at 01:29
Series by staff writer Betsy Villanella. Photos Copyright © Betsy Villanella.
In my first article in this series I told you about our drive around the west coast of Maui—on a road not even marked on some maps—to Kahului, and back around to Kaanapali where we were staying. The next tour we took was the Road to Hana.
Considering the drive we took a few days earlier, this one didn’t seem so bad. The Hana Highway is well known for its hairpin turns, skinny roadways, and one-lane bridges. It is normally quite busy with tourists who want to experience the wonders to be seen and to say they “survived” the Hana Highway. We were lucky as it didn’t seem to be that busy to us that day.
One of the things I liked when starting these drives is that it wasn’t far from city crowds to quiet lanes lined with pineapple fields and beautiful gnarled trees, their branches hanging across the road and dappling the sunshine. Like the Honoapiilani Highway it also had jaw-dropping scenery, with many beautiful waterfalls and ocean vistas.
Among some of the wonders we saw along the way was the “rainbow tree.” It’s a kind of eucalyptus, and it sheds parts of its bark at different times every year: showing a bright green inner bark that darkens as it gets older to blue, purple, orange and then maroon.
As we got closer to Hana and the east coast, we could feel the moistness in the air and see differences in the trees and plant life. The smells of flowers and rotting fruit (a smell not really as unpleasant as it sounds) that have fallen from the trees got stronger.
Along with unbelievable ocean vistas and cooling waterfalls, we saw many chickens along the side of the roads. They are everywhere! Chickens were introduced by European and Asian visitors. Wild chickens are called “moa” by native Hawaiians.
Another thing I noticed that grows everywhere is hibiscus. This is frustrating for me. I have tried and failed a number of times to keep a healthy hibiscus in my yard in northeastern Pennsylvania. (I found out how much the deer love them.)
We were staying in Hana so we didn’t need to worry about the drive back that day. We took our time and let the afternoon drift away as we made our way up the side of ocean cliffs, around emerald bends and down into the beautiful village of Hana.
From the green jungles of Hana, over empty arid mountainsides, to the top of Haleakala! Coming up next in Part 3 of my driving tour, where I’ll bid a fond farewell to Maui—an island that will be forever in my heart.
Our Disney specialist Elizabeth Villanella has lived in the Montrose, Pennsylvania area most of her life. Betsy married her high school boyfriend in 1973. As an Air Force wife, she has lived in Texas, Italy, and Virginia. Between the two of them, her sons have given her fourteen grandchildren and counting. Betsy and her husband currently live with Albert K. Ninestein, a mini Schnauzer who’s as smart as his namesake. She loves to travel and wants to experience (and share) as many places in this world as she can! Betsy tweets as @betsy_v.