For our first full day we have a Valley Excursions tour for the Hana Road – essentially circling the island.
Our pickup is at 6:45am – it’s good that we are still on Eastern time – and the driver actually arrives 15 minutes early. We are the last two on the bus. We don’t get to choose but we end up in the first two seats behind the driver and tour guide, Eric.
Our first stop is actually for a continental breakfast – I get coffee and D tries POG (which turns out to be Passionfruit Orange Guava juice – we decide later she would have liked it better if she’d known what it was. But she likes the muffins and I like the lilikoi jelly for the biscuits, and soon enough we are back on the road to Hana.
Where to start? The road is windy and narrow snaking along the cliff side road. I’m glad we’ve taken a tour. I’m glad I packed my seabands for the drive. I’m so very glad D is unfazed by it.
The views are spectacular though. We stop at lava rocks buffeted by sea spray, pass twisted and looming trees wrapped in giant rhododendrons, and so many waterfalls I lose count.
We stop for lunch and everyone takes advantage of real facilities to get on their swimsuits.
At the black sand beach we wade in over smooth, hot, shifting rocks. We don’t really swim – the rocks are hard on the feet and we have a ride ahead of us. Anyway a few stops ahead at Haleakala National Park we hope to swim in the seven sacred pools and then change back to clothes.
But the pools are closed due to unsafe conditions. We press on, to the little church beside the graveside of the Sam and Mary Pryor (of PanAm fame) and of Charles Lindbergh, and discover the climbability of banyan trees.
We do make an extra stop later to wade into the cool of rain runoff, before changing back into clothes for the ride back. Eric gives a lot of tips as to wear to find food and shopping, before he drops us all off.
In all it’s been nearly 12 hours, and although we’ve had an amazing time, we are glad to be back and to get some food into us. We stop at the takeout grill poolside and share some fries and sodas while we wait on our small pepperoni pizza.
Food when hungry is such a felt blessing.
But the whole day has been.
We have good intentions but D is asleep by 9:30 and I turn out my light before 10:30.