Saturday, August 19, 2006 –
This morning, we all had flights to catch from the airport at 12:30 p.m. Jeff had to take a flight to Honolulu, where he would leave for Atlanta on Sunday. Mom, Dad and I had a flight to Kahului, Maui on Aloha Airlines. After buying an Ironman shirt at the airport, we said goodbye to Jeff in the open park like terminals of the airport. There are no gates here, so we walked up to our plane and boarded for the short journey to Maui.
Upon arrival in Kahului, we picked up our rental car and drove to Mama’s Fish House where we had a sumptuous seafood dinner. Then we headed out on the 68-mile-long Road to Hana, one of America’s most beautiful drives. We drove this route backing in 2003, but the curving road clinging the mountainside of Haleakala never gets old. It was so laid back driving under a canopy of trees with a stunning view of the Pacific below. We also stopped at the occasional waterfall, such as magnificent Wailua Falls, an 80-foot-high waterfall closer to Hana.
Upon arrival in Hana, we stopped by the black sand beach near Waikaloa. We also walked to the ancient burial site, hoping not to unleash any evil spirits during our visit. After checking into the Hana Kai Maui resort, we got acquainted with our oceanfront condo bungalow.
Afterwards, Dad and I traveled to Oheo Gulch, home of the Seven Sacred Pools. Dad and I had visited the pools before, but this time we decided to hike the Pipiwai Trail nearby to Waimoku Falls. On the four-mile round trip, we gained about 650 feet in elevation. About half a mile down the trail, we passed 185-foot-tall Makahiku Falls. We followed the Pipiwai Stream along the trail, considered one of the most beautiful hikes on the island. The most surprising scenery was entering a bamboo forest about halfway through. We walked on boardwalks and it was very dense. In fact, we returned back through it a little before sunset, it was pretty dark inside and almost hard to see the boardwalk.
Waimoku Falls was one of the most beautiful falls I have ever hiked to on such a short 3-hour roundtrip. The 400-feet waterfall falls along a sheer lava rock wall into rocky pool. Dad and I talked about life while enjoying the great view.
After returning to the bungalow, we got cleaned up and went to dinner at the nearby Hotel Hana Maui. The dinner was a good as we remembered it. One highlight was this Hawaiian lady with an amazing voice accompanied by outstanding musicians on ukuleles. Truly fantastic musicians! They performed many Hawaiian songs, some Broadway songs and a few all-time classics like Moon River.