Hello Friends and Family,

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Ke'anae Peninsula

A rare cloudless morning woke me up and told me it was time to take the Road to Hana. Being the skeptic, I went online to check the weather in Hana, which can be quite different than Napili — typically more of the cloudy, rainy variety. However, the Internet gave me a good forecast for Hana, so off I went — but not until I enjoyed one more glance at this beautiful Napili Sunrise.

For those of you who are not familiar with the Road to Hana, it is 52 miles of narrow, curving road that follows the old King's Trail from the ancient times. The road is in much better condition than when I first traveled on it. It has been repaved, widened in spots and guard rails put up. However, the old narrow bridges remain — often requiring that you stop to allow the oncoming vehicles to pass first.

In the photo below, you can actually make out the route — look at the horizontal breaks in the dense tropical vegetation which covers the cliffs. The uninitiated will ask why anyone would subject themselves to such punishment and perceived danger. The answer is because of the sights along the way — waterfalls, rainforest and views of the Pacific to die for. Sorry, perhaps I should not have used that last descriptive phrase.

It took a few trips to Maui before I was willing to take on the Road to Hana — and finally did so including a couple nights stay at the Hotel Hana Maui. That was a real treat and gave me plenty of time to explore before taking the same route home. Others will take a tour van and let someone else do the driving, provide a colorful narrative plus food and beverage at the appropriate times. By the way, when you finally arrive in Hana, you are not a proper tourist unless you stop at Hasegawa General Store and purchase a "I survived the Road to Maui" tee shirt.

My first planned stopping point was Ke`anae Peninsula. It is a small peninsula that juts into the Pacific, mostly just a couple feet above sea level. Of course that leaves it vulnerable to tsunamis and was, in fact, devastated by one in 1946. In a previous LAHP, I shared a photo of the lava and coral church which was the sole building to survive that tsunami. Click here if you would like to revisit the image of that church.

The waves had been larger than usual during my entire visit and today they did not disappoint — the ocean was a-churning.

In fact, the wave action was so jaw-dropping that one could only stand and watch — Mother Nature was doing all the talking.

And one has to be observant of the potential threats — finding safe places to observe the onslaught.

But it is so worth it.

And when a big wall of water hits, you not only hear it and see it, but you feel it too. Awesome.

Further, there are a few vantage points where you can see the waves pounding the shoreline farther down the road.

One aspect of Ke`anae Peninsula to be aware of is that there is still a good size Hawai`ian community here. Many are trying to preserve the old customs of growing taro and bananas.


I noticed that some of the fields were no longer being farmed and asked a Hawai`ian friend about it. He said that they are suffering from a lack of water. Taro requires a lot of water — plots are walled to hold the water in and interconnected in a tiered fashion so the water moves gently from one plot to the next.

Ke`anae Peninsula is such a special place — it is hard to leave but eventually I had to say "aloha" and move on if I were to make it to Hana today.

Fortunately, there are many beautiful sights along the way such as this stand of African Tulip trees to reward the traveler.

To be continued...

Life is good.

B. David

P. S., All photos and text © B. David Cathell Photography, Inc. — www.bdavidcathell.com