As Jennifer mentioned in her last post, we’re in Maui, Hawaii, enjoying a fabulous stay at the Westin Maui Resort & Spa. From our hotel in Ka’anapli, on West Maui, we’ve made excursions to a few different attractions on the island.
Since both of us like to hike, Jen and I asked our friend Michael from the Hawaii Visitors & Convention Bureau to recommend a great trail for us. He got us driving directions–via outfitter Hike Maui, I believe–to the Waihee Ridge Trail. Great! We thought. An hour’s drive along the northwest coast to a 5-mile round-trip, moderate trek.
Indeed, the actual hike itself was amazing. We felt like we’d been dropped in Jurassic Park, with all the lush foliage, bright-green ferns, deep gorges and striking cliffs we spotted along the trail.
But what our buddy Michael didn’t tell us was that the drive to the trailhead–Honoapiilani Hwy and Kahekili Hwy–was treacherous. So much so, the rental car company’s contract is void if you drive on the crazy, winding, curvy, cliff-hugging so-called “highway” (ha!) above the Pacific Ocean! (Naturally, we discovered this while reading the “don’t drive here” map the rental-car company gave us, while already hugging the cliffs in said rental car. )
Thankfully, Jen was at the wheel, handling the crazy winding roads like a pro. She dutifully tooted the car horn when we’d pass a “Blow Horn” sign, to warn drivers who couldn’t see us around the rocky corner. Of course, I got to enjoy all the amazing scenery, while she kept her eyes on the road.
And you know what? Even though the ride was mildly anxiety provoking (okay, white-knuckle inducing), we were actually pleased we didn’t know we weren’t supposed to drive on the Kahekili Highway in a rental car. If we’d been given the option of taking the “easier” route to the trailhead, we probably would have taken it.
Instead we found ourselves passing through tiny towns way off the typical tourist route. We marveled at the little houses in remote Old Kahakuloa Village, and wondered how many people attended services at the small, green clapboard church. We giggled at the signs that proclaimed “Free Samples of Julia’s Best Banana Bread on the Planet – 3/4 mile ahead.” And wondered why we’d see a sign, “Narrow Road Ahead,” when we’d already been on “narrow winding roads” for the past 45 minutes! What? How much narrower and more winding could a road get!
And we stopped and chatted with Bruce Turnbull at the Turnbull Studios & Sculpture Garden. He moved to the area after “dropping out”in the 1960s and never left–creating a little slice of paradise in an area where few visitors tread.
So, we’re thrilled that we ended up on the road less traveled for our excursion the other day, but we do wonder if Michael was trying to tell us something by sending us on the most treacherous road either of us had ever encountered! Was it something we said?