Road to Hana
The Road to Hana IS all it’s cracked up to be. It has all the sights, smells and sounds you would expect for Hawaii. It is very much worth taking the better part of a day driving from Paia (our favorite chill little town) to Hana or beyond. Taking the tight twists and turns and pulling off at the dozens of waterfalls and forests along the way is the only way to truly experience what the road has to offer.
Driving the road actually to Hana and taking your time is very enjoyable but the racer inside me thoroughly enjoyed the early morning run on a nearly traffic free road back to Paia. With little rain and traffic our small rental Civic was more than capable of providing an adrenaline rush for at least half the ride back. But please do be courteous to other drivers and yield way when possible, no matter if you’re trying to send it deep or not.
We drove past Hana to go to Haleakala National Park. This is the same park that features the red planet but the two are not connected unless you drive the entire Road to Hana. On this side of the park it is dense forest and at sea level. It's where you find the short and easy (unless muddy, for us it was muddy af) and ever changing Pipiwai Trail.
This trail takes you past 100 foot+ waterfalls, bamboo forests, great banyan trees, and dense rainforests. It is one of the most rewarding hikes I have done in my life.
Camping was free with entry fee to the park to hike the Pipiwai Trail but since I have the annual national parks pass Whitney and I were able to enter and camp for free. We were confined to the tent because the mosquitos were killer down by the ocean and high grasses where camp is situated. Good thing we bought that deck of cards in Yosemite last year, they really came in handy for tent dwelling.