This week, Shake is spending the weekend in Hāna, and I am incredibly envious. I’m just fanning the flames of jealousy by looking at these photos, but since I hadn’t gotten around to posting about our Hāna trip we took back in May, now’s as good a time as any!
OK, I have actually posted some things from our Hāna trip, like our lo‘i adventure at Kapahu Living Farm, and all of the fantastic things that Travaasa Hāna hotel’s chef, Konrad Arroyo, served us.
But, there’s so much more to share!
For example, the inimitable Coconut Glen’s, found at Mile Marker 27½ along the Hāna Highway. It’s a crazy little shack along the roadside—you can’t miss the bright signs—where Coconut Glen (yes, there is one) serves up his dairy-free ice cream, made from coconuts.
Our travel companion, Rebecca, knows all the good spots to stop along the way to Hāna, so when she said stop, we did. (This despite our having eaten breakfast at Leoda’s, and snacking on an obscene amount of snacks in the car throughout the drive.)
Coconut Glen makes some tasty ice cream, I have to say. It does seem to melt much more quickly than regular ice cream; Shake got the Banana Rum Raisin (with extremely drunk raisins), which seemed to accelerate the melting of his cone even more rapidly. I got the Coffee-Toffee, and Rebecca tried the Blueberry Buddha. I liked the crunchy bits of toffee and coffee grounds in mine.
The ice cream sustained us for the rest of our drive down to Hāna.
This was my first time staying overnight in Hāna, and we actually got to stay for three nights, courtesy of Travaasa Hāna. Formerly the Hotel Hāna Maui, Travaasa is the only hotel in town. (There are VRBOs and such, though.) If you’re going to stay, do at least two nights. While lounging in the jacuzzi, we met at least two honeymooning couples who said, “We’re only staying tonight…but we were thinking maybe we should do one more…Do you think so?” Hells, yeah!
Despite it being such a small town, there are several outdoorsy things to do, and the drive down takes so long, most of your day is already gone when you get there. If you stay a couple nights, you can do everything in a leisurely fashion, and on both mornings, you can get a headstart on seeing the sights before the hordes of tourists driving down arrive.
Hāna is a peaceful place. I could feel myself relaxing as soon as we got there.
Treat yourself to a massage at the spa. Out of any massage I’ve ever had, this one was the most worth it. The treatment rooms and locker room are not as luxe as places like the Ritz-Carlton, but I will happily skip the frou frou shampoos and fancy couches to sit on in exchange for a massage as good as the one I got!
We had our treatments the same day we arrived, and man—I wish our schedule had worked out so we could have had them on our last! Because I earned all those calories I ate at Chef Konrad’s fantastic dinners with the activities over the next two days.
The resort offers various activities; some are included as resort amenities, while others have an additional fee. While Shake worked, I took a horseback ride through Hāna Ranch’s grazing lands, along the coastline. (One-hour ride, additional fee.) After some initial disagreements with my horse, involving a tree and our conflicting opinions as to whether we should go under it (horse) or around (me), we had a lovely ride. That’s not my horse in the photo, but that of the writer who went on the ride with me.
I prefer a trail ride to a hike not just because of my aversion to exercise, but because you get the opportunity to look around and take in the view instead of watching where you put your feet. (Me, especially, since I’m prone to tripping over nothing in an empty room, much less outside with holes and rocks and branches. Yes, I really am that klutzy.) If you’re lucky enough to have a private ride or small group, it’s easy to hear the guide talk about the area. Because the area is ranch land, the guides are experienced paniolo (cowboys); most have lived in Hāna all their lives.
I joke about my laziness, but riding isn’t as easy as just sitting around. And you wake up the next morning with aches in places you never thought you could strain simply by sitting there. I was happy to fall into bed after dinner.
The next day, we all fueled up on breakfast in preparation for our field trip to Kapahu Living Farm. Shake had his favorite granola.
We piled into the cars and were on our way. We stopped for a bit to look out over ‘Ohe‘o Gulch.
Everyone in the group cracked up as I lay on the ground to take this photo and then, taking advantage of my seated position, proceeded to remove the bottom halves of my hiking pants. It got hot! (I adore my zippy pants.)
I did also take a more conventional view of the stream as it exited the gulch and met the ocean.
After our visit with Uncle John and Aunty Tweety Lind at the farm, they guided us up through their property to a private trail which joins up with the Pīpīwai Trail. (That’s a great Unreal Hawaii blog post on the trail route.) The official trail is a four-mile roundtrip deal. Our coming through the farm didn’t really shorten it for us, as we had (due to some unforeseen circumstances) hiked from the road up to the farm—probably half a mile. (Check out that map link—I centered it on the farm, so you can zoom out and see where we were, relative to the road and the trail.)
We joined the official trail near the second bridge on the trail (if you’re coming up the proper way), right at the beginning of the bamboo forest.
Through the bamboo forest, there’s a Trex boardwalk that blends nicely with the scenery. Careful; while you’re on the boardwalk, you won’t step into any holes or trip on any roots, but it can get slippery from mud tracked by hikers’ shoes.
The forest is…magical. Bamboo is a non-native, invasive plant here, but the sensation of the tall stalks (it’s grass, not a tree!) waving in the wind around you is incredible. If you’re lucky enough to get a few moments of quiet, the sounds of the bamboo gently knocking against each other and the wind rustling the leaves are mesmerizing. It’s also a photographer’s dream, with the play of light and shadow and ethereal green. Very Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.
When the bamboo forest ends, so does the boardwalk. The path of the trail is clear; there are stone steps in areas where it climbs, so it’s not terribly difficult going. Instead of bamboo, now there’s all kinds of old-growth tropical forest. Gnarly old trees, lots of ferns.
The Waimoku Falls are the end point of the trail. There’s a small stream you can cross to stand closer. (NOT if it’s raining or threatening to rain—flash floods are common and even if the stream is not flowing heavily at the moment, it only takes seconds to turn dangerous and impassable.)
We didn’t cross the stream because none of us wanted to take off our shoes or get them wet. (It’s not wide, nor deep, but it is near impossible to cross without getting your feet damp.)
The 400-foot high falls are a popular sight, the trail is moderately strenuous (we came up a much steeper route; the official trail does ascend, but more gradually) and the bamboo forest is a big attraction; that means that there are a lot of folks on the trail. If you stay in Hāna, you can get a jump start before others come along.
Back at the resort, we got to enjoy one more fabulous meal and take in the beauty of a Hāna night one more time.
It’s pretty obvious why people say “Heavenly Hāna.” I can’t wait to stay again!
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