The Road to Hana

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It's been quite a cold dark winter up here in Alaska, yet again.  I feel like every winter the weatherman says that this is the coldest winter in sixty years.  

Even being from Alaska, it's hard to cope with the cold and the dark.  Several years ago, we as a family decided to take a winter break each and ever winter, as a health and happiness investment.  Some years, we really can't afford it.  Some years, we really don't have the time. But we stop and take a break to refresh and renew, stock up on vitamin D, regardless of our responsibilities.

Our favorite island is Maui for two reasons: there's a direct flight from Alaska and Maui is very family friendly.  

And on all of our past trips to Hawaii - and most days of this trip - we spend our time playing freeze tag in the kiddie pool or boogie boarding and making sandcastles on the beach.  We love to spend our vacation time together as a family.

But this trip, the Ram and I decided to take a day long car ride around the southern part of Maui and "take the road to Hana."  We've been wanting to go to Hana for years, but haven't wanted to take kids on the winding narrow roads, in the car all day, when they could be splashing in a pool or at the beach.

We left early in the morning, spending a couple of hours driving across the island to the start of the road to Hana.  I was stressed that we would not have enough time to make the journey around the island and be back in time for dinner plans.

The road is a two lane slow one, giving us ample excuses to sight see as we went along.  I was content to just relax and stay on the road, focused on getting home in time to make our dinner plans.

But the Ram insisted that we pull over when he made out a barely there trail through a patch of boulders.  

I was sure we were heading to a "break" area in the woods.

But was pleasantly surprised to find a waterfall flowing into a pool below.

As I watched the water flow down the waterfall into the quiet pool, restful despite the waterfall, I thought, even water takes a break once in a while.

Back in the car, we made our way to Hana, ate breakfast, and filled the car up.  Then we had to make a decision.  Should we turn around and go back the way we came, or should we venture on, along the one lane dirt roads, and circle the island?

We put our trust in the road ahead.

And trekked onward.

This was by far the most beautiful part of the road for me.

We have a life we love, but each little farm beckoned to me, calling me, saying, come live a simple life up here in the upcountry.  

Spend your days picking fruit and selling in a roadside stand to happy travelers, hungry to not just see, but to taste the beautiful countryside.

But then the road started getting rougher, 

And we started wondering if we should turn around.

They say this road is about the journey, not the destination.  And I started thinking why is it that the most beautiful parts of your journey are always the toughest?  Why is it always a one lane rocky cliffside road when life is at it's best, a six lane freeway when there's nothing to see?  

Maybe life is telling us to slow down not just for the dangerous curve ahead.

But to slow down and see the beautiful curve ahead.

And sometimes, when you start feeling stiff and tired from riding along on this journey, life is telling you to take a break and stretch, to get out of the car.

What you may miss tomorrow because you took the time today is always a trade off.  

But sometimes, stopping to take a break and be in the moment, not just passing through it, can inspire and refresh you.

This life we have is a wonderful one, and we are very thankful for each moment.  But sometimes, taking a break, getting out to smell the fresh air and feel the breeze, is just what we need to appreciate our life more and face new days with fresh optimism.

Find out where that muddy road goes.

It may lead nowhere.

And it may lead here.

The closer you get, the lighter your load becomes.

And you'll appreciate the destination so much more for the journey that brought you there.

We are happy to be home and are feeling refreshed and renewed, already working hard, if not harder, again.  Hope you stop and take a break on your journey as well. There's always a flower to smell or a snowflake to taste along the way.

Comments

I love the road to Hana. When we were last there, the road was washed out. We made it to Hana, had an avocado the size of my head for lunch from a roadside stand, then made the trek back to Kula. I think Maui is my favorite island. Great to hear you all get out of the cold once a year.
Matt

That's because Maui is the very best island in the world!! We have been voted that more years then I can count on one hand.

So glad you were able to come down and enjoy

LOVE Maui & the road to Hana. We got married in Maui and did the road to Hana a few days later. We made it well past Hana, to a church where Charles Lindburgh is buried. As much as we wanted to trek ahead and circle the island, the road was completely washed out and not passable, so we had to turn around and go back the way we came. The road is even mor treacherous after dark!!! Can not wait for the opportunity to go back and finish what we started!

This is such a beautiful post, reminding us to slow down and enjoy life, and if life is feeling like a bumpy road, to look around the corner ahead!

I grew up in the Caribbean and now live in busy Atlanta where we are said to have some of the nation's worst traffic. I rarely get to enjoy the view anymore :(

Here is a short story I heard one time: A rich business man was vacationing on an island. He stopped to speak to an old fisherman by the bay. The rich man asked the old fisherman "Hey, don't you want to do something other than fish for the rest of your life? I can tell you how to make lots of money!". The old man replied "What would I need all that money for?". The rich man said "so you can be like me and have three houses, and five cars, and you don't have to worry about retirement. When you retire you can buy a home in the islands and enjoy the rest of your days.". The old fisherman chuckled and said "Why are you working so hard to get what I already have?".

See, the old fisherman already had what the rich man wanted, a simpler life.

My husband and I were married in Maui 11yrs ago this May, we swore we'd be back in a couple years but life (and 2 daughters) have postponed that trip. Your photos are beautiful and remind me so much of my wedding & honeymoon! You look beautiful too!

My husband and I just experienced the Road to Hana in October for the first time. It was daunting but remarkable and I will never forget it. According to the locals, this fall was the driest ever on Maui and there had been very little rain. It allowed us to make the trip all the way around instead of turning back after Haleakala. But it also meant that some of the waterfalls were not as robust as other times of the year. It didn't ruin my experience, it just gives me another reason to go back. One of my favorite things about Maui is the trade-winds that help keep the insects away. http://thepursuitofhandyness.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/20121025-224...

My husband and I just experienced the Road to Hana in October for the first time. It was daunting but remarkable and I will never forget it. According to the locals, this fall was the driest ever on Maui and there had been very little rain. It allowed us to make the trip all the way around instead of turning back after Haleakala. But it also meant that some of the waterfalls were not as robust as other times of the year. It didn't ruin my experience, it just gives me another reason to go back. One of my favorite things about Maui is the trade-winds that help keep the insects away. http://thepursuitofhandyness.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/20121025-224...

Oh, you've made me a little "home" sick. My husband & I honeymooned in Hana over 10 years ago & because of that we have a daughter named Hana. Thank you for the beautiful photos & reminders.

I too loved Maui. We also did the trip around the other side but I wasn't as happy about it as you were. After back jarring miles and washed out roads we get to this little store in the middle of nowhere and stop to stretch and get an ice-cream. (a fancy red sports car pulled up beside us too) As we went in to the store the proprietor of the store look startled to see us and said "oh? the roads open?" Ya I "knew" it was a bad idea. LOL
The next day my dear father in law had to repair a flat tire before the rental company found out. ;)
I would totally go back. In a heartbeat.

Ana, I love your travel posts as much as I love your momplex posts as much as I love your building plan posts! In the middle of this busy life, it's nice to be reminded to stop and enjoy the beautiful things God has given us! Glad you were able to take a break from all that snow!