Maui – The Seven Sacred Pools

Picture of Ashlee under the big beautiful tree
Ashlee under the big beautiful tree

Sunday was an exciting morning for us as we were heading out on a hike we had heard much about. Our destination was ‘O’he’o Gulch, home of the Seven Sacred Pools. We didn’t waste much time with our microwave breakfast and we had the car loaded fairly quickly so we could check out and hit the road. We didn’t arrive as early as we had hoped though as someone had wrecked their car along the road and the police had it closed off so the tow truck could remove the vehicle. This was just another reminder that the road past Hana is very narrow and has many blind corners, so it is important to be very cautious here. Luckily, nobody was hurt and the accident only closed the road for about an hour so we still arrived at the park at a reasonable time.

Picture of the Seven sacred Pools
Seven sacred Pools

The woman at the entrance to Haleakalā National Park was very friendly and cautioned us about the dangerously high flow at the pools. We decided to hike down and see them even though the current was too strong to allow for swimming, and we are glad we did. The pools were incredible! Heavy rains occasionally cause the river to flow this violently and can occur quickly, so the park asked that nobody get any closer than this. People have died here in the past, so it is important to take their instructions seriously and never approach the fast moving water in one of these flash flood areas.

 

Picture of a cool lizard
Cool lizard
Picture of the Hawaiian green spider (Argiope appensa)
Argiope appensa

As we continued our hike up the mountain toward the waterfalls we spotted a pretty cool looking spider which turned out to be a Hawaiian Garden Spider (Argiope Appensa). We also saw several of these cool looking lizards hanging out on the rocks along the trail.

 

 

Picture of stone stairs
Stone Stairs

The hike to the uppermost waterfall was two miles from the end of the Seven Pools trail and it climbed the mountain with very little leveling out. We were impressed by the beautifully constructed stone stairs that made up much of the trail. We had a few light showers on this portion of the trail, but the temperature remained in the 80’s so the rain felt nice and we were able to enjoy the hike anyway. There were not many people along the trail this early in the day and it was nice to hear nothing but the rain, river, and birds chirping as we climbed the mountain toward the waterfall.

The vegetation changed immediately to bamboo half was up the mountain after crossing a small bridge over the river. We couldn’t believe the incredible sight before us – a dense bamboo forest that stretched up toward the sky and caused immense darkness. The whole hike was worth it for this alone.

We continued to hike through the bamboo forest for at least half a mile before it gave way to other plants and the trail got tougher and crossed several small streams. As the day passed by the rain became heavier, and by the time we headed the falls, we were in a downpour. Here is the last photo we took before packing the cameras back in their nice dry packs:

Photo of Huge Waterfall
Huge Waterfall

The hike back to the car remained wet until about the halfway point, then started to dry out as the clouds gave way to some sun. By the time we reached the car, We had some very nice weather – just in time to see the grave of Charles Lindbergh.

Photo of The grave of Charles Lindbergh
The grave of Charles Lindbergh

We had heard he was buried here in Maui while on our flight in from Oakland, and decided we should stop by and see. We were pleased to wander into a small, peaceful, well kept cemetery behind an old church overlooking the ocean. As we continued down the road, it became narrower and poorly maintained. Shortly after passing Lindbergh’s grave, the road turned to dirt and we were careful to avoid some of the loose rocks with the nice Jetta TDI we rented. If you ever decide to travel this route, I recommend you rent something with more ground clearance, unless of course, you have tons of experience driving really low 2WD cars offroad. 😉

Picture of The road past Hana
The road past Hana

The road continued like this for a few miles before becoming paved again and was a great way to see wide open grassy landscapes overlooking the ocean. The drive back to Lahaina along this route was beautiful and without much traffic.

Upon reaching Lahaina, we stopped at Teddy’s Bigger Burgers for a big burger – it sure was tasty after all that hiking! We hadn’t even finished our burgers when we realized the sun was close to setting so we put our tray back, grabbed our remaining dinner and cruised over to Baby Beach for an epic sunset. We ran into some interesting people there like Twilight, who had quit his job in Arizona a few months back and moved to Maui with no real plan, and Paris who had a very similar story… Hmmmmmmmm… should we even go home? 😉 Don’t worry, We’ll be back home. 😉

Picture of the Sunset over Baby Beach in Maui
Sunset over Baby Beach in Maui

Maui – The Road to Hana

A picture of Ashlee Taking pictures at the Black Sand Beach
Ashlee Taking pictures at the Black Sand Beach

After an incredible stay on the island of Maui, we are sitting in the airport waiting for our flight to Kona on the big island of Hawaii. Since our last update, we have taken the road to Hana, climbed to the falls at O’heo’ Gulch, and Watched a sunset on the beach in Lahaina. It was so incredible I don’t even know how to describe it, so let’s just start at the beginning.

We crawled out of bed before the sun Saturday morning and loaded our stuff back in the car in preparation for our coming adventure before heading to breakfast. The Mauian Hotel serves up an awesome spread of fresh fruit and an addictive Cinnamon french toast.

Photo of our Lanai at the Mauian hotel
Breakfast on our Lanai at the Mauian Hotel

We took some food back to our room and sat on the porch (Lanai) to enjoy our meal and process the last of our pictures from the day before while listening to the sound of the ocean.  After breakfast we headed for the Hana Highway in hopes of finding something beautiful.

Our first stop along the road was the small town of Piea on the west side of the island. In Piea we found many small shops to explore and we enjoyed walking the town with our first shaved ice on the island. One small restaurant, the Piea Fish Market, caught our attention, so we headed in for some lunch. We asked the girl at he counter what was good and ended up ordering things we had not tried before. If you haven’t eaten Opah (Moon fish), I’d recommend you try it if you get the chance – it was delicious, and a great way to fill-up before our hike to the falls.

Picture of Small falls near the road
Small falls near the road

North of Piea, the road becomes scenic, and there are many small waterfalls flowing into the ocean. We noticed several cars stopped on the side of the road and thought we should see what it was all about. It turned out that there was a local farm stand and the man running it told us there were two waterfalls we should hike to. Without second thought we grabbed our camera gear, and up the trail we went. The first waterfall we saw was hiding out in the thick growth just beyond the farm stand. After spending some time taking pictures, we continued our hike to the second falls. At the base of the falls was a rocky stream crossing.

Picture of David in front of the falls
David in front of the falls

It’s good thing David was warming his Merrell trail running water shoes, because they were perfect for the rocky terrain and the deep crossing. I decided to stay on the dry side with the camera bags. It was a great stop along the road to Hana.

 

Picture of some Waterfalls in Maui
Waterfalls in Maui
A picture of the View from the Road to Hana
View from the Road to Hana

The second half of the drive brought us even more amazing views as the road got narrower. After a few stops to view the beautiful Maui coastline we arrived at our destination in Hana. The Hana Kai Maui Hotel is located just above a rocky cove with an incredible view of the ocean.

Picture of our feet on the black sand
It really is black!

When we checked in the lady at the office suggested we explore the Black Sand Beach at Wainapanapa State Park just a few miles North, so we did. If you are ever in Maui, and as far south as Hana (which you should be), this is a must see destination. The tiny beach is as black as can be and there weren’t many people there when we arrived.

Picture of Black Sands Beach
Black Sands Beach

We stayed until the sun went down and then stopped for dinner at a small place in Hana before grabbing a few things at the market and heading back to our room. The rest of the evening was spent sitting on our Lanai eating chocolate gelato and processing pictures from the day. There’s nothing quite like enjoying the warm breeze in Hana after a long day exploring one of Maui’s most scenic drives.