For Day 1, click here.
For Day 5, click here.
On the morning of Day 6, we were in for a special treat neither of us had seen before: watching the sun RISE over the Pacific. My husband is from California, and we have often gone there for family vacations, so we have seen the sun set over the Pacific many times. But being on the far eastern shore of Maui, we now got to see it rise.
For breakfast, we had some of the leftover banana bread from the previous day, toasted and slathered in butter, which really made it taste even more wonderful.
My husband then headed out to do more cliff jumps at the bay across from us, while I went back to sleep for a while, and then read some tour guides and brochures to decide what to do on the rest of our trip. When my husband got back, we leisurely packed up to go, and made our way back to Hana one last time. Even though we were still pretty full from breakfast, we had an early lunch at the same food truck as the day before. Since my meal had been so great, I ordered the exact same thing again.
From there, we headed out to drive back to our side of the island along the southern route. Evidently, there had been a mud slide from excessive rains, because part of the road was mostly closed down, and they were moving huge boulders out of the road with a backhoe, which we enjoyed watching.
Early on this drive, there are several more popular waterfalls and pools.
Along one of these stops, my husband saw this roadside stand that sold conch shells. I thought they were pretty and wanted to get one, but he was not interested in buying one until he learned that they could be used to make a sound that is very similar to that of a fog horn. He loves instruments, and since blowing into the shell is very much like playing a trumpet, he was able to do it perfectly immediately (whereas I made a sound like you would expect a dying cow to make). I also bought some rings made from shells for the girls, but misplaced them somehow and have never found them since.
Since many of the curves were one-way only, and blind to boot, cars are supposed to honk before entering. My husband got to make good use of his new shell instead. ;)
One of the most popular spots on the Road to Hana are the "Seven Sacred Pools", which are actually about 30 minutes past Hana. This was the first and only waterfall/pool along this entire drive where I got into the water, because most of the ones my husband had been swimming in were too dangerous to get to when pregnant, or too cold because the rain water in these waterfalls comes from high up on the island. This water was still pretty cold (high 60s, maybe?), but I am so glad I went for a swim here.
After this stop, most people turn around and drive back the way they came, along the northern route. The southern route is said to be too rough and dangerous to drive, with parts of the road supposedly almost impassable. After talking to others who had actually done the drive, we decided to go ahead and take that route anyway. Indeed, we are very glad we did! Either some people have a strange idea what a "bad road" is, or the islanders are intentionally spreading misinformation to keep tourists from this part of Maui (which, really, was nice for us as traffic was far less than on the way to Hana).
Unlike the northern shore which gets a lot of rain and is covered in rain forest, the southern shore is fairly dry, and looked a lot more like Arizona. I think much of this is ranch land. The views of the Pacific from this side were breathtaking.
Remember this map from yesterday?
You would think that coming up from the southern shore, there would be a road connecting it with Keoneoio, but those dotted lines are a very rough hiking trail through some stark, black, extensive lava fields that date back to an eruption sometime between A.D. 1480 and 1790. I don't know if building a road is not possible, or if they don't want to do it because La Perouse Bay is a nature preserve now, but in any case there is no connecting road there.
A few miles farther north, past the lava fields, one would then expect to find a quick, easy way to cut over from Ulupalakua or Keokea to Makena or Wailea, rather than having to go all the way back up to Kahului, and then down the shore again. Indeed, locals have been asking for such a road connecting this 4-mile stretch for at least 40 years now, but no dice. Interestingly enough, you can see such a road (Kealakapu Rd, in grey) on the above map, and it is also visible on Google maps. The satellite view shows that it is paved and well maintained, so naturally, I was wondering why no GPS system or route planner ever includes this road. Google, as always, held the answer, and it's pretty weird: Oprah Winfrey owns 1,000 acres of land right there in Upcountry Maui (in addition to 100 acres in Hana, but who's counting). Kealakapu Rd. is on her private land. She had it paved and developed for her own personal use, so unlike the rest of us mortals who have to drive an hour on overcrowded roads to cover 4 miles as the crow flies, she can jet from her estate near Keokea to the resorts in Wailea in mere minutes. You know, when she's even on the island, and not at one of her other estates in Montecito, Fisher Island, Lavallette, Douglasville, Telluride, or the island of Antigua. Sigh. For all that, she has neither spouse nor children to enjoy these beautiful sites with, so I actually pity her. She can keep that private road, and I'll enjoy the longer drive with my awesome husband. But yeah, I'm pretty sure the locals would be much obliged if she could open it up to through traffic, as many private roads on the island are.
For dinner, we stopped back in at Da Kitchen for a great Hawaiian takeout of chicken katsu, teriyaki beef, and kalua pork, which we enjoyed on the beach. Not only is the food at Da Kitchen delicious and very reasonably priced, but the portions are so huge that even though we split a plate, and both ate as much as we wanted, there was still food left when we were done.
When we got back to the guest house, another party had arrived that we got to meet. They were staying in one of the other wings. I was hoping this would put an end to my husband wanting to get up before sunrise every day, since we didn't want to wake the other guests.
Relaxing on our balcony