The Road Past Hana

by Bob Sparrow

Welcome to Hana

Hana, Maui

As I pulled onto main street in ‘downtown’ Hana; OK, there is only one street in downtown Hana, actually there is barely even a downtown Hana, I dropped off Kristen and headed down to Hana Bay to eat the picnic lunch that I had packed.  As I gnawed on some dead chicken and gazed at the picturesque crescent beach, I started turning over in my mind the story that Kristen had told me about Carly Scott’s disappearance and put together another scenario of why Kristen was out on the road hitchhiking.  Perhaps Kristen had been seeing Carly’s old boyfriend, Steve Cabobianco, and when she learned that Carly was carrying his baby and feared they might be getting back together again, she . . . made her disappear.  So now I wondered if I had aided and abetted a criminal and was now a ‘person of interest’ in the on-going investigation.  Either that or someone had put a hallucinogenic in my chicken.  On further contemplation, the hallucinogenic chicken theory makes more sense.

Hamoa Beach

Hamoa Beach

My first couple of stops heading out on the ‘road passed Hana’ were at two spectacular beaches – Koki and Hamoa – they were un-crowded and pristine, right out of South Pacific; in fact James Michener, called them the most beautiful beaches in the south Pacific even though they are in the north Pacific.

7 Pools

Seven Pools with Hippos

 Haleakala is the 10,000-foot dormant volcano, which from the top several years ago my daughter, Dana and I saw a beautiful sunrise and then bicycled down the mountain.  Haleakala State Park goes from the peak down to the beautiful shoreline in front of me, where numerous waterfalls and the Seven Pools are located.  Actually they used to be called the Seven Sacred Pools until no one could answer the question as to why they were sacred.  To me they looked like a hippo watering hole at feeding time as the pools were filled with large, over-weight tourists detracting from the otherwise beautiful waterfalls and pools.  I quickly moved on.

 Next stop was famous American aviator, Charles Lindbergh’s gravesite, located just up the road on the beautifully jagged Kipahulu coast.  When faced with cancer in 1968, rather than take treatment on the mainland, Lindbergh chose to live out his remaining years here – he died in 1974.

Just passed Lindbergh’s gravesite the road changes from a narrow, single lane, partly paved, bumpy, unmaintained road to unpaved road to Hanaa narrow, single lane, unpaved, unmaintained, crushed lava carriageway.  It was here I was expecting to see the ‘Dead End, Turn Around’ and No Rental Cars Permitted Beyond This Point’ signs but, “Honestly officer, I never saw them.”  If you came across another car coming from the other direction, which I did only once, I had to back up to the nearest wide spot in the road so they could pass.  As reward for the demanding drive, the scene in front of me of black lava, contrasting with the green vegetation and the blue water crashing against the coastline was so amazing.

Kaupo Gen Store

Kaupo General Store

After several miles, where the only building I saw was a solitary church, I got back to what is termed as ‘rough paved road’ and ‘civilization’ which consisted only of Kaupo General Store, sitting all by itself along this desolate road.  I purchased a pineapple-coconut shave ice and stood alone on a small rise next to the road and looked at the miles of grassland, actually grazing farmland for horses and cattle, all the way down to the black lava coastline where there were several energy-producing windmills.  If you’re ever looking for peace, quiet and solitude, this is the place.

As the crushed lava trail I was traveling on turned into a paved two-lane road, I saw two cars ahead of me and several tourists standing by the roadside posing for pictures and I knew the adventure on and passed the road to Hana was over.

Update: As of this writing there is still no new news on the whereabouts of Carly Scott, missing now for 30 days.

Hawaiian Postscript – OK, OK I Didn’t Work the WHOLE Time!

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by Bob Sparrow

     For those who may have questioned my veracity regarding the story on my recent trip to Hawaii (I Had To Go To Hawaii To WORK! – A Picture Story), in the interest of full disclosure, I must admit that while the conference I attended did go from Thursday – Saturday, the vendors (and I’m a virtual vending machine) were not included in Saturday’s agenda.  Since I was wasn’t sentenced to spend five hours on a ‘red eye’ strapped into the last row of seats for my flight home until 9:00 pm Saturday, I had the whole day to explore Kaua’i.

     On Friday evening, while not sitting at one of those tiki bars not having one of those umbrella drinks, I struck up a conversation with a young man who had just returned from a hike.  I asked him to tell me about it.  He had me at “at the end is this beautiful waterfall.”  My Saturday was planned.

     I took the Kuhio Highway – the term ‘Highway’ here is used in the most colloquial sense – it is a narrow, two-lane road, when it doesn’t cross a river and go down to a one-lane bridge, that winds past the posh resort, homes and golf courses of Princeville and then through the quaint and euphonious town of Hanalei until it just ends.  I think it was the first highway I’d driven on that just came to a dead-end.  I parked.  I was at Ke’e Beach in Haena State Park, on the Na Pali coast, trailhead for the hike to Hanakapi’ai Falls.  This was the setting for Bali Hai in the movie South Pacific; beautiful doesn’t even begin to describe it.

     The trail to the falls goes up the mountain then down to Hanakapi’ai Beach, which is two miles away.  It is narrow and drops off rather dramatically.  Here is part of the ‘Hazard Warning’ for this trail:

Extreme inclines and declines on uneven, narrow footpath on high cliffs.  Loose rocks underfoot and from eroding cliffs above.  Strong currents and flash flooding can occur at the river.  Dangerous shorebreak and riptides at Hanakapi`ai beach – use extreme caution.  Hike Rating: Strenuous

      So one false step could send you down the cliff, careening off lava rock into a watery grave several hundred feet below; but you will have died in a most beautiful place, so you’d have that going for you.

     It was about mid-morning when I reach Hanakapi’ai Beach and it was becoming quite warm; I considered a quick dip in the ocean (I read the ‘Hazard Warning’ after I did the hike) when I noticed a wooden sign stuck in the sand at the entrance to the beach.

 In case you can’t read it, it says, “BEACH WARNING! DO NOT GO NEAR THE WATER, UNSEEN CURRENTS HAVE KILLED (82 in Roman numerals) VISITORS.  I noticed that there was plenty of room for more hash marks so . . .

I splashed a little water in my face from the stream, turned and got on the trail toward the falls


     The trail cuts through the rainforest and crisscrosses the stream several times.   An agile hiker could use the large rocks in the stream as ‘stepping stones’ for the many traverses that are required.  I, on the other hand, had shoes and socks that were soaked by the time I reached the falls.  And I’m sure a less-experienced hiker might lose this poorly marked and seldom traveled trail, but . . . OK, yes, I misplaced the trail a few times, but I told myself I was just being adventurous, not lost; the road less traveled and all that.  I was less cavalier about losing the trail when I remembered that Jurassic Park was filmed around here and wondered if any of those creatures were still hanging out here.  Instinctively my step quickened.  As I was making my way back to the trail I came upon a fairly wide clearing in the otherwise thick foliage.  I noticed a sign at the other end of the clearing and made my way over to see what it said.


     What?!  I could have taken a helicopter here?!!  Don’t tell anyone, but I did ‘linger’ there for a while and thought that anyone coming to see the falls by helicopter would have missed the beautiful scenery along the way, and probably had very dry shoes and thus would not have appreciated the experience nearly as much as I did.

   Moving a little further up the trail, I reached the falls.  The view was spectacular and well worth the four mile hike, OK, it was worth the eight mile hike since I was planning on making the return trip.  The falls are several hundred feet high and cascade into a crystal clear pool, complete, as you can see in the photo, with nymphs, mythologically speaking.  I included them in the picture to give a perspective of the size of the waterfall.

       The return trip was uneventful, although I think someone moved the rocks in the stream further apart.  By the time I got back to the trailhead, my shoes were completely soaked, but my throat was quite dry, as I had run out of water on my return trip, so the young Hawaiian selling fresh coconuts filled with milk, complete with straw, at trails end, was a welcome sight.

     My shoes were not only soaked, but they were severely cut up from the lava rock, so no longer viable for hiking, but I wear them now when I work in the yard, and every time I look at them I think of this most beautiful hike.