Monday, December 21, 2009

The Road to Hana: Maui's wild ride

Getting there is more than half the fun if you are headed to Hana. In fact, spend the day getting there and not arriving and you will see some of Hawaii's best tropical rain forests and natural area preserves. Then spend another day actually getting to Hana and beyond (to the Pools of Oheo, the lower part of Haleakala National Park).

The Hana Highway has more than 50 one-lane bridges and dozens of roadside waterfalls and streams as it curves endlessly through mind boggling greenery on a rugged coast. Twin Falls, Waikomo Nature Trail, Keanae Arboretum, and Waianapanapa State Park are some of the better known stopping spots. But some of the best adventures are scarcely publicized roads into the forest reserves, each marked by subtle brown-and-yellow signs of the Department of Land and Natural Resources. Access is questionable to some of these spots, in some places restricted to hunters, but few if any of the gates are posted no trespassing and all lead into public lands (leased in some cases by water companies). See Maui Trailblazer, pages 119 to 130 for details.