Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Rough road to paradise

When the sun is bright and the surf is low, beachgoers have no problem driving the mile-and-half so-called road across a hellscape of lava to Kekaha Kai State Park. Nowadays, since gravel fills in some of the deepr ruts, even passenger cars can make the journey. Awaiting is another mile-and-half of coastline with soft-sand beaches and turquoise waters set along a slender oasis of coco palms and ironwood trees.

Makalawena Beach is the most desirable (powder sand, colorful water) and the farthest out—which fits the no-pain, no-gain theory just fine—but the problem is that a 4WD drive road also accesses this beach from the other side, and the net result is more cooler-hefting people.

So, the palm-fringed crescent Mahaiula Bay, only about a quarter-mile from the car becomes the smart choice for visitors who want a little more low-key day. Fewer people still visit the beach you can drive right up to, Kekaha Kai Beach Park, even though it has shaded picnic tables, new restrooms, and a better-than-decent swath of sand and swimming beach. Moral of the story: Sometimes what you are looking for is right in front of you, and not down the hot trail.