by Gudrun Enger, of Kitchen Gadget Girl
After many days in a hotel, on a beautiful beach, believe it or not, we were ready to explore the island of Maui. With the help of my favorite Hawaiian guide book, Maui Revealed, we hit the Road to Hana, intending to find a nice waterfall hike. And boy, did we ever!
Just past mile marker 6 (most of the roads and destinations in Hawaii are related to mile markers. We have those on the mainland too, but don’t use them nearly as well), across from a large fence and a grove of pine trees, was a low barbed wire fence.
Crossing over the fence, we entered a forest of bamboo and began our search for the The Four Falls of Na’ili’ili-Haele. Hiking in and around the bamboo (with a wrong turn or two!), we finally came upon the first waterfall. Below was a refreshing pool that the kids jumped right into. I suggested they swim with their hands, rather than their feet, since I could see several boulders in the water.
Onto the next waterfall, which required a scramble up a muddy dirt hill. Fortunately, some kind soul had fastened a few ropes to the trees above, and we used those to hoist ourselves up the hill. A little more walking, and we came to a wooden ladder (rickety does not begin to describe it!), which my kids climbed up like monkeys and my husband and I climbed ever so carefully.
When we reached the top, we walked out onto the rocks for a view of the waterfall we just left. As it turns out, this was waterfall #2, and #3 and #4 were further up the path. A group of hikers coming back down gave us the scoop – sounded like the next two waterfalls were going to be a bit of bear to reach (including swimming across one pool to get to the climbing path for the next waterfall), so we decided that two was good for us.
Even today, my kids talk about that hike with such amazement and excitement. My daughter decided that all hikes should involve mud ladders and my son was all for getting lost in a bamboo forest again.
Reminder: getting off the beaten path can sometimes be a great way to visit a destination!