When we booked our trip for Maui, I sorda knew what was ahead. I’ve been there a few times before, but after 15 years, and me running the show this round, I wasn’t sure how brave I’d be.
In other words, how adventurous would I be capable of? Would I take in the (somewhat expensive) helicopter tours? How about the 12 hour (unforgettable) road to Hana drive? Snorkelling in the middle of the sea (over my head) at Molokini? Or what about seeing the sunrise on top of Haleakala? (where you leave your hotel at 2am and drive high above the cloud level?)
There’s lots of touristy, popular things to do. And now to choose.
I actually wanted to do the Hana tour in the worst way, but wasn’t wild about me driving 12 hours. And didn’t like our car… it rode the road too low. And my boy wasn’t into the 12 hour day with a guided tour. Lots of excuses. We didn’t do it.
(side note: on the last day I attempted to go on a tour by myself, but they were full. That was ok. I forgave myself for not going because I tried. Next time!)
I can’t remember if I’ve actually been here before. I remember as a kid being towed all the way to Hana (thumping up and down in the back seat from all the back road potholes and crazy curves… hated it back then! Silly kid…)
All I knew was the Iao Valley would be beautiful, and a small sampling of what Hana had to offer.
So we ventured off! And of course got lost. There are no road signs to this place, and you HAVE to punch in the right name for it on your GPS, otherwise you’ll get a tour in another part of the valley.
That was nice too btw..
But once we stopped for directions, finding out we were nearly there, we fuelled up with a McDonald’s chocolate milk shake, (oh my gosh, Hawaii serves them with whipping cream and a cherry on top!) and found the place. Yay!
I was so gung ho on finding this place, I flew past a Habitat for Humanity. Bad, bad me! But junk was secondary on this trip. You heard that right… never thought I’d see the day.
It costs $5 to park, and the hike takes only about 20 min tops, all on paved surfaces or steps. So it’s fast and perfect for the non athletic hiker types. (like us)
I wasn’t disappointed. It was this view that gave me a lump in my throat. The view was so incredible, you couldn’t help but feel overwhelmed with emotion.
Block off that sidewalk, and you have a scene from Lost or Survivor.
The Iao Needle is a vegetation covered lava remnant which has historical significance in Hawaii. You can read about it on Wikipedia HERE.
But I was in it for the simple rainforest experience.
As for my son?
“It’s RAINING! Hard!”
“Yes, it sure is! But it’s warm rain! And isn’t it cool you get to say you were in one part of the world where it almost always rains?!”
I proudly get to say, “We were in a rainforest!”
Where it indeed rains. Lots. So remember your hat, and a big shirt to cover your expensive camera…