Monday, June 18, 2012

Road to Hana Part 2: The Pipiwai Trail and beyond

If you haven't done so.  Read Part 1 of the road to Hana

We made it to Hana and then decided to continue our journey around the other side of the island.  The stop I really wanted to hit was actually past Hana.  I wanted to hike the Pipiwai trail.  This trail is part of the Haleakala National park.  It is 4 miles round trip, and an amazing hike.  Read below and you'll understand why.

The hike takes you through lots of jungle and forest.  You get to see lots of plant life and some beautiful flowers, trees and waterfalls.
Robyn makes the jungle look good.
I took this picture so you would all think I do dangerous stuff.  In reality, I stayed far, far away from the steep cliff and fatal drop.  (My fear of heights has kept me alive so far.  So I'm just gonna stick with that.)
There were basically 3 landmarks on the trail that I wanted to see.  I really wanted to see the Banyan tree, the bamboo forest and Waimoku Falls.
The Giant Banyan tree was super cool.  But it's hard to say whether it was cooler than me or not.  That's why we're both in the picture.
After we got to the Banyan tree the bamboo forest began about a quarter mile later.
There was a bridge that lead into the beginning of the forest.  It was like stepping into a tunnel.
There was a zen feeling within the forest.  I felt this picture of Robyn captured that feeling pretty well.
We were in a bit of a time crunch.  We weren't sure exactly how long it would take to drive home, but we didn't want to do it in darkness.  So we were trying to do this trail as fast as possible so that we could be back to our hotel before dark.  We had talked about just hiking to the bamboo forest and then turning around.  But once we got there, we thought it was so cool we just had to continue.
It was such a surreal feeling being surrounded by the bamboo.
They had built these wooden trails that lasted about a half mile.  Super cool!
As the wind blew through the bamboo shoots, they would knock together.  I took this short video to capture a 360 degree view of the forest and hear a little bit of the knocking sound as well.

By the time the bamboo forest ended, we were able to look up and see Waimoku Falls.  I'm so glad we didn't quit before we got there.  It was super amazing!
I looked it up.  It's a 400 foot tall waterfall.  The picture doesn't do it justice.
We spent several minutes there and then ran the 2 miles back down as fast as we could.  I was pretty proud of myself.  I was a little speed demon.  People coming up the trail were probably terrified to see an individual as large as myself barreling down the trail at such speeds.  Of course, with gravity on my team, going quickly wasn't too difficult.  It's stopping that can be difficult.

We then continued along the "back side" of the road to Hana.  We debated whether to take this way or go back the way we came.  There were several blogs and websites that I read that basically said we would die if we went the back way.  Apparently even the car rental companies discourage driving along that road.  We decided all the people that are afraid of that road are just wimps.

End of Road to Hana
This picture is not mine.  I stole it from a website saying we will die on this road.
As we drove along, there were a few treacherous spots.  My dad drove it flawlessly, though.  At one point, there was a car coming the opposite way.  We tried as hard as we could to squeeze by.  We eventually both pulled our mirrors in while my dad hit the gas so that our car would climb the mountain on the right while the other people squeezed by.  It was dicey but no one died.

Another time we were driving along and there was a sheer dropoff of several hundred feet into the ocean.  I freaked out just a tiny little bit but Robyn held my hand to make me feel better.  And then I called everyone that was too scared to drive this road a wimp.  That made me feel better too.

Eventually we made it back to Kihei (the city where our hotel is) and lived to tell the tale.  We were so hungry we could die, and we weren't willing to wait for any restaurants to seat us.  We went to KFC which gave us some delicious food fast.  Once again, crisis averted, death defied.

I didn't fall into the ocean.  I didn't starve to death or anything.  The worst thing that happened was that when I got out of the car when we got back I discovered that my feet hurt really bad.  It turns out that my hiking sandals are not actually running sandals.  So running down that mountain had given me some blisters.

But I even survived that crisis with a few good band aids.

I'm a survivor.


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