Hana, hana, banana fofana, waianapanapa
Trip Start Aug 17, 2003
18Trip End Sep 03, 2003
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We woke up early in the morning and packed up our tent into the Jeep. I was especially excited about driving up to Hana since I've read so many good things about how absolutely gorgeous it was going to be.
Our plan for today was to drive through the road to Hana with fewer stops than usual so that we could get into Camp Waianapanapa early enough to get a spot. Tomorrow, we will drive back where we came from down Hana highway to take out time to check out the sites. On our way out, we stopped by Wailuku to get out camp permits. It was $5 a day per person for state camp permits.
The first little town we passed was Paia. Nothing much here really. Could've missed the town altogether if we blinked. The scenery changed drastically from what we were used to on West Maui. Explosions of green everywhere, temperatures cooled a little bit, and we were met with sudden rainshowers all throughout our drive. Our guidebook warned of heavy traffic on the Hana highway, but we didn't seem to encounter much traffic heading to Hana but saw lots of people heading away from Hana on the highway instead.
We saw several gorgeous waterfalls on our way to Hana and made a mental note to come back tomorrow to explore. I really enjoyed driving this highway, as there was just so much to see. The winding roads were fun to drive too, and the green jungle vegetation and lovely rain in contrast with the drier, windier and brown west maui just made everything so much more alive and lovelier.
Next, we come across the Halfway to Hana store. We didn't stop but decided we'll come back tomorrow instead. Several winding miles later and more one lane bridges and one gorgeous scenery after another, we pass Camp Keane in Keane, a YMCA camp. Shortly after, we pass the Hana airport, saw the sign indicating Waianapanapa campgrounds, and turn into a smaller road towards the campgrounds.
We signed in with the camp people, and pitched our tent. It was a smart thing for us to just get here early because the campgrounds were already rather full with tents. We picked a spot right by some banana trees about several hundred feet away from a cliff that overlooked the black sand beach and lava cliffs.
Waianapanapa campgrounds is rather nice, with available outdoor grills for cooking, outdoor showers but some seriously nasty bathrooms. However, they clean the bathrooms every morning so if you hit them early enough, they're rather manageable and clean.
I noticed alot of tourists coming to Waianapanapa, not to camp but to check out the black sand beaches. The blacksand beach was unbelievable but you can't really swim in these beaches due to the strong currents and tall waves. We managed to get the tent up and all our stuff in it before a thunderous rain shower. We waited out the rain in the tent for a little bit and then walked around the campgrounds, exploring the blacksand beaches and some really cool caves that snaked around the shoreline's lava cliffs. We then decided to head out to Hana after unloading out things into the tent.
There isn't anything much in Hana except for a gas station (which came in rather handy for us.. since we'd end up driving the Hana highway several times), two grocery stores, some hotels, the Hana bay and a restaurant. We wanted to get some food but the restaurant was closed till 6pm so we decided to just hit the grocery stores to get some supplies and come back to the restaurant later.
We head back to camp, consulted our guidebook for things to do... decided to skip dinner at the restaurant since the book strongly advised against it, and just cooked dinner instead. Nadine and I did a pretty good job starting a fire with no coals and just a ton of matches and sticks. Nadine was quite the good gatherer of sticks and we made a pretty decent meal of rice and eggs. We sat among an awesome grove of trees on a fallen tree trunk and watched the ocean while eating dinner.
The rest of the evening was spent darting in and out of the tent due to the persistent but intermittent rain showers. Yet another night falling to the sound of crashing waves and sudden rainshowers. Tomorrow, exploring Hana, the Hana highway, and more one lane bridges and winding roads!