Of the many group trips we’ve taken, Hawaii was one of the most memorable ones for a lot of reasons. First, because this week was subsidized by the company as a reward for 2.5 years of service and legging out 75 business trips. Second because we each got to bring a plus-one – meaning we got to give the gift of travel to three of our best friends.. one of whom is a huge fan of Lilo & Stitch, so we were singing that soundtrack for weeks before and after 🙂
Of note on the 10-day adventure was experiencing my first night dive and coming within inches of the elusive oceanic manta ray, our pre/post Luau photo shoots in ABC Store Hawaiian attire, finding a Marriott property that sported bunk beds, and almost having our own personal plane. And I’ve always been of the opinion that calories don’t count on vacation but I ate so much ahi tuna poke that week I may have disproven my own theory.
I was most excited about seeing the gorgeous stretch of Maui that attracts tens of thousands of people to drive it’s coastal route – The Road to Hana – every year and we’d saved that excursion for last. However, I never thought we’d be one of the (probably?) few people to hitchhike it.
Ironically, that event has nothing to do with us incorrectly assuming the infrastructure along the drive would include things like cell service and gas stations (so download the road guide and fill up your tank prior to embarking!). Although the extra hour for us to course correct was annoying, it only kept my anticipation rising.
We skipped the first few stops along the route per the average reviews and finally maneuvered our minivan into a spot outside of this beautiful little waterfall oasis equipped with a rope swing.
If I’ve learned anything about myself recently, it’s that my brain likes to commit to things my body doesn’t necessarily like to handle. Specifically, heights. We bounded up and around to the rocky runway of sorts and watched a few folks wrangle the rope and take the plunge. Senior was the first of us to jump and, in losing large amounts of skin from his hands, taught us all a very important lesson about how not to use a rope swing. Shaking like a tambourine I finally made the plunge into the nice, cold nature bath.
The day included stretches of jungle, alien-like Rainbow trees, a red sand beach, copious amounts of waterfalls, of course stopping for lunch.. and Sean realizing a little too late that he’d left his backpack at our picnic table. Rather than endure the 60 minutes of driving for his search (& not recovery) the rest of us decided to wait in the waterfall mist provided by our current stop.
That lasted a whole fifteen minutes before realizing the loss of daylight was jeopardizing us seeing the best stop along the route. Whining quickly turned to problem solving and joking about hitchhiking our way to the Seven Sacred Pools. It was one of those ideas that sounded better and better with each mention until we all started to make moves towards the area with cars..
Maybe a minute into strategizing about which cars (large) and demographic (not murderous looking) to target, this large utility truck serendipitously stopped a few feet from us. Our spunky friend Emilee took the reins, introducing ourselves and our dilemma to the driver. Less than a minute later he was flipping down his tailgate and pulling out a step stool.
Like I said before, cell service was rather questionable so it was a good thing Sean has developed proper instincts about how we operate over the years and eventually found us splashing around in one of the Seven Sacred Pools. Otherwise he would have missed out on these gorgeous views –
I don’t think it’s fair to say we saved the best for last because every day was amazing in it’s own right. Not even getting iced with a full liter of Smirnoff sugar bomb (since they savagely don’t sell the normal sized ones) could ruin a day on those islands watching sunsets like these with friends I consider Ohana.