Road to Hana


As we entered our first stop on the Road to Hana, on the path to Twin Falls, I took this photo at the beginning of the path.  Twin Falls is actually on private land, a farm, and they only ask for donations and if you want to buy some of their fresh fruit smoothies or banana bread (excellent by the way) you can help them out that way too.  Of course, not leaving trash behind if you picnic there is a help too.



Eric took these shots of me at the lower falls at Twin Falls.  I seem to be his favorite subject; he must be in love.


The two of us at the lower falls at our Twin Falls stop.


I took this shot of Eric while he was planning on taking shots of the Lower Falls.  He took the shot that shows that the greenish pond next to him, was actually full of tadpoles.  We don’t know if these were the dreaded invasive “coqui” frog tadpoles that we later saw signs on the road warning us that they had finally invaded NE Maui.  I remember two years ago, driving back from Hawaii Volcanoes National Park at night, on the SE side of the Big Island of Hawaii, we had stopped for gas and heard these really loud frogs singing.  We thought it was rather funny at the time, but later learned that these were “coqui” frogs and that they were an invasive species (a VERY large deal in Hawaii where so many invasive species have wiped out indigenous flora and fauna) and that their singing was so loud they were keeping ENTIRE NEIGHBORHOODS awake at night.  I’m not sure what other problem coqui frogs are bringing to the Hawaiian Islands, but they seemed to have at least gotten some of the problem under control near Volcano, Big Island,  as we were there the same week of the year as we were there two years ago, and we opened our windows as we drove by the same area and couldn’t hear them singing at all.




I’m showing multiple shots of the lower falls at Twin Falls so you get an idea of how much the drought this past summer/autumn of 2010 affected the various falls that people visit (and often swim in the pool below) on the Road To Hana.  There had been rain just two nights before (and twenty-four hours later there was a storm that added quite a bit to restoring the water tables, but it wasn’t until Wednesday’s and Thursday’s storms, Jan. 12th and 13th, the ones you will find out later cancelled our planned dives to Molokini and also caused massive flooding not only on Maui, but on Oahu) and that is why there was ANYTHING at the lower falls at all.  Usually the rock area near these lower falls is a pool people swim in.  Not since last year’s drought, although, after this past week’s rain, I’m sure there was a torrent coming down this hill into this pool and some of these rocks have been washed away.  It was pretty though, even at this low level.





Now it was MY turn to sneak in a photo of MY favorite subject:  Eric!  Of course my EXCUSE was taking a photo of the Lower Falls.



I snapped this photo of a lovely flower, that I’d never seen before on the hike to the Upper Falls (the true “Twin Falls”).  It looked rather like it was related to a Bird of Paradise plant, but I had no idea what it was.  After half an hour of internet searching today, before posting this, I found it is one of two types of a particular type of Heliconia plant that is native to Hawaii.  It’s common name is called the Macaw Flower, but that covers two different types of Heliconia.  From the USDA database, I think I found out which one it is:   Heliconia bihai.




This is a banana plant.  People call them trees, but they aren’t trees.  I’d never seen a banana tree with both green bananas growing on it and flower near it (the red bulbous part) at the same time.  This type of banana plant is native to Hawaii and is called:   Musa troglodytarum L.  aka the fe'i banana.  I think they are also the same type as the sweet, smaller, “apple bananas” that you can get everywhere on all the Hawaiian Islands.  I’ve been eating them almost every day, they are ono!




A Banyan Tree that I saw walking along the path to the Upper Falls.   I have a fascination with Banyan Trees.   I’m forcing you to share it with me.  Poor you.





We had to cross this washed out (due to the heavy rains the night before last) path to the Upper Falls.  It was very slippery rocks and I’m really glad I had my Land’s End trekker sandals on.  Yes, my feet got wet, but these sandals had good traction AND dried quickly.  Really, this hike is supposed to be “gentle” according to the guide books.  Now for us, it was fine, but there were a lot of elderly people and people who were not prepared at all (shoe wise) to make it to the Upper Falls because they had probably seen the same guide books which all list it as a “gentle” hike.  I don’t blame the owners of the farm for the bad advertising, I own the guidebooks.  I think they just all copy each other sometimes.  The weather the day or night before has a LOT to do with hiking conditions on the Road to Hana (as well as driving on it) and they do NOT mention this in most of the guidebooks.  We had a “Road To Hana” CD guide that was left at our condo that we used and they do mention it on the outside cover AND during the CD tour…the general guidebooks don’t seem to.  Since this is the FIRST major waterfall stop on the road, you would think that they would mention this.






The Twin Falls, upper falls.  We were lucky to see them within 48 hours of the last rainfall as before then they were barely trickling at all into the pool below.  There were people in the pool below them swimming, but I didn’t get close enough to the pool to photograph the whole pool area.  The walk through the water was treacherous with lots of rocks and even with my good trekker sandals there was no way I was risking falling in and ruining my camera or cutting my foot.  This was our first stop on the road and we didn’t want to have to turn around due to injury.  We hadn’t planned to swim in any of the waterfall pools this trip anyway, as we started late and we wanted to make it to Waia’napa’napa State Park where there was a black sand beach we could access in the winter months (which is when we always visit Hawaii) before dark.   I have some video I took of the falls which gives you a much better idea of the feeling of being there, but I will add that later, as we are having trouble uploading it.








Off to our next stop…




























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