Waianapanapa and Beyond

Since moving to Maui I have been working two jobs and my free time is limited to random days off. But, this past weekend I found, due to schedule changes, that I had two days off in a row from my full time job and no pressing orders for my own on-line business…the first time this has happened in over a year. Sooooooo, I took advantage of this amazing opportunity and decided to go camping in Hana. For those of you who have been following my blog, you will remember my trip to Hana with my son. It’s a beautiful journey, however on that trip we had a lot of rain which dampened the experience a bit. This time the weather was perfect. I packed my tent, sleeping bag, a cooler with snacks, etc. a beach chair, bathing suit and away I went. Of course I had to make a few stops between my onset to my destination of Waianapanapa. You can not travel the Hana Hwy. without stopping for banana bread! Or, making a little detour to the Keanae Penisula, or having coffee and Blueberry/Lilikoi muffins at the Hana Bay Cafe or…

The Hana Bay Cafe is a jewel. They have everything from local plate lunches to pastries that are made fresh each morning. It overlooks the blue waters where families gather to swim and picnic. In the same building next door there were church services going on–hmmmm on Saturday. It was a lively group–singing, playing ukulele and guitar. Most were dressed in beach clothing, wearing slippers and shorts. But, they were equally vocal in their praise. It was open for anyone.
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Onward to Waianapanapa State Park. Since I was camping alone I was glad to see other campers at the site. The grounds of this state park are filled with trees, most chose to pitch their tents away from the trees toward the back of the park, I pitched mine under the trees near an ancient Hawaiian cemetery. I was happy to know that when the State Park was formed, they didn’t disturb the burial area and simply left the rock wall separating it from the rest of the grounds.

Cemetery at Waianapanapa State Par

Cemetery at Waianapanapa State Park

My trees and my tent. I love my tent! It sleeps four, but I love having all the extra room to myself. It’s easy to put up. And although I folded it before my departure, I was unable to get it back into its carrying case, so that’s something I will have to do again at home.
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Since the sun was shining, I was settled in, so I went for a swim down at the black sand beach. Well, not really sand, more like small smooth black pebbles which were very hot on the feet! I think I could hear a sizzle when I stepped into the cool water. Next time I will leave my slippers closers to the water’s edge. There was a fairly strong current and I’m not a strong swimmer, so I didn’t venture far. But, the water was so refreshing.
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After my swim I took the trail to the Waianapanapa Caves. I think if I had someone with me I would’ve gone into the crystal fresh waters of the cave, but I wasn’t brave enough to chance a slip and fall with no one within shouting distance. The caves are somewhat dark, lit only partially by the sun. The water is so clear that each stone on the bed was visible. I was unable to judge the depth, but I think it was deeper than it appears.

Waianapanapa Caves

Waianapanapa Caves

I read a lot, something I’ve not had a lot of time to do. Though I enjoy my Nook, I still enjoy turning the crisp pages of paper. I snacked on cold chicken, cheese, an apple and when night fell, I moved inside with my lantern to read myself to sleep.

I didn’t stay long on Sunday as I wanted to drive the back way home and knew this would be slow-going. I had never gone around the back side of the island and wanted to make a stop at ‘Ohe’o Ponds before heading home. Oh my, I’m so glad I stopped. This area is usually referred to as Seven Sacred Pools. The water falls from high up the mountain forming pools as it tumbles down on its journey to the ocean. The higher pools are quite a trek up so I decided to go to the lower three. The pool I finally went swimming in was quite large, the water clear and cool, the water fall refreshing. The ponds are deep enough so as not to be able to touch bottom. Though closer to the edges rocks from a kind of mossy stairway. I am generally freaked out by mossy, slimy rocks, but for some reason these didn’t bother me. The freshwater limu waved back and forth with the water’s movement and seemed more like a carpet than critter-filled .

Crystal waters of O'he'o Ponds

Crystal waters of O’he’o Ponds

I was told of another pool with a higher waterfall just mountain side of the Alelele Bridge so I stopped there as well, but no one at the lower pool knew about it, so I decided not to hike there. I did discover ‘ili’ili heaven though. For a hula dancer these are smooth stones that are held two to a hand and clicked together much like castanets. WP_20140914_026
In hindsight, I probably shouldn’t have stopped at all as when backing out, I scraped the paint off the rear fender of a rental car!

The following photos were taken along the drive which, at times, was harrowing. At one point the road narrowed to a one lane narrow dirt trek with the mountain on one side and a steep precipice to the ocean on the other with no guard rails. Needless to say it was slow going. This is not a trip for the faint-hearted! But, it was very scenic.
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Beautiful Hawaiian walls that can go on for miles. that is still used today.

Beautiful Hawaiian walls that can go on for miles. Stacked without mortar. There is a art to building them that is still used today.

Hana Ranch spreads across the view. WP_20140914_005 WP_20140914_006

When I reached the top of the narrow drive, the road widened and appeared to be recently paved. What a blessing! I rounded a corner and there across the ocean was Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa on the Big Island of Hawai’i. I was filled with nostalgia. My home for 40 years, it was a little sad to see it from such distance. The rest of the drive was easy…a stop at the Ulupalakua General store for an Elk Burger and at the Tedeschi Winery for a bottle of Ulupalakua Red and down the mountain to Kula where I unloaded my car and thought of where my next day-trip would take me.

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3 thoughts on “Waianapanapa and Beyond

  1. I really look forward to looking at this travelogue. You ought to bind them into a little book. The pictures are fab and you just keep finding more surprises in your island paradise. That pool and waterfall made me drool; we’re still fighting triple digit heat, a drought and fires (though none in San Diego). Was that the two volcanoes in the sunset picture? I could just about make them out. Wish I was there.

    • It’s funny, DeeDee, my blog was originally intended to be about my shop, showcasing some of the things I made, etc. But, somehow it was hijacked by a travel bug. I should probably rename it! I’m sure there will come a time when I will have no more travel material to post and I will have to go back to my shop, but until then…maybe Lana’i. I would love to go camping there.

      • I hadn’t read your entire post–

        No, those aren’t Mauna Kea & Mauna Loa. This was actually taken from my camp site of the beach below after sunset. My photo of the mountains didn’t come out. I guess they were just too far in the distance. I don’t know how you handle triple digit heat. Auwe! I recently saw a video in San Diego of a palm tree exploding when struck by lightning. I guess they are having some crazy weather all over the Mainland. My friends on the Big Island are carefully watching a lava flow heading for the town of Pahoa. It is traveling through the Hawaiian homesteads thankfully missing the sparsely spread houses.

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