A place with giant white crosses built on mountain tops in the midst of shear drop off cliffs and cascading waterfalls as tall as the eye can see left me wondering how in the world anyone got the crosses up to these places and the dedication, risk, and perseverance it must have taken. I’ve lived in Hawaii for over six years now and I’ve wanted to make it to Hana the entire six years. The windy road is, I believe, over 60 miles and averages about 10 near hairpin turns per mile with areas of drop off cliffs and room for only one vehicle. Not many have a desire to travel this road often and I was curious to find out for myself if the trip would be as nauseating and anxiety filled as some have made it out to be. I set out on this adventure with a good friend who lives in Maui. We packed a weekends worth of things, a cooler for the ride, and we were off.
I think most will tell you half the fun is stopping at all the hidden gems along the way, so that’s what we did. I have never seen so many waterfalls in my life. It seemed like there was a new one every few turns. There was something enchanting about this part of Hawaii in particular. If you decide to take this drive take your time, start out early, do a couple hikes and a couple beaches along the way. This will also help if you are prone to car sickness; which my friend is. And the fruit and banana bread stands are worth the stop.
Our first night we decided to rent a place from VRBO. It was a cottage tucked back on some agriculture land with a coffee farm next to it and a deck with a beautiful view of the land. I’m not sure there could be a more perfect way to start this stay in Hana. It was only available for one night and we had such an amazing drive up we knew one night wouldn’t be enough to enjoy all Hana has to offer, so we booked another night at Travaasa, a pretty lavish resort in Hana with an ocean view, and it was a treat. When we pulled into the parking area for the hotel there on a mountain top right in front of us was another cross. I would get a feeling that filled my soul with a sense of peace every time I saw another one on a new mountain peak. And I’m hopeful that with the amount of work and effort it must’ve taken to get these crosses up there, they felt the same way and it was a constant reminder for them of God’s presence in their lives and it was shared amongst this community of people. It was also a constant reminder for me that God is on these adventures with me leading the way.
While in Hana we ventured out to more waterfalls via hikes, trudged through magnificent bamboo forests that went on and on, ducked our heads through lava tubes, and when our feet were too tired to walk anymore we laid on various red and black sand beaches. And when I say black sand I mean I have never seen such true black sand. Usually when I’ve gone to black sand beaches in the past to me it looked more like a darker dirtier sand, not black sand. But one beach in particular we saw from up above as we were enjoying the view and it was a perfect little bay with pitch black sand. So of course we made our way down.
We didn’t want to spend a bunch of money on food and in this area there is just no need to. We ate banana bread and drank locally grown coffee for breakfast or went to a take out window that had great egg sandwiches or eggs any way you like them. For lunch and dinner there are great food trucks to try. One in particular made what was my favorite meal of the trip. I love Huli Huli chicken and this was by far the best Huli Huli chicken I’ve had, Huli Huli chicken at Koki beach. That’s what the signs said and we followed. The kindest couple sets up shop every day under a tent at Koki beach and they get to making these delicious meals. Everything was so good! I’m not a huge mac salad lover but this mac salad changed my mind and was the best mac salad I’ve had and the chicken was out of this world. The portions are generous too. I was stuffed. This place is a must while in Hana.
I truly loved this trip and every moment of exploration. Hana is a place where most only go for a night or two but I could easily stay for a week and still not get in all the sights to be seen.