Finding your heavenly holiday in Hawaii

As Vancouverites, my husband and I can attest to living through grey wet winters, but feel it’s the price we pay, for living on the beautiful West Coast. So, we simply grin and bear it.

But after the record rainfalls this past year, it’s been hard to come up with a smile. While some say it’s global warming, others think they are just pineapple express systems that have blown across the Pacific Ocean.

If the wet and wild can travel all the way from Hawaii, then we can do the return trip. For this holiday, we’re in search of total reprieve, away from the hoopla and throngs of tourists. Even though Maui has become a popular hot spot, the town of Hana still retains some Old World feel.

The reason, you ask? The highway that spans from the airport’s locale of Kahului to this eastern coast hamlet is not much wider than a glorified footpath. Within a two-hour time frame, we veer around 600 curves, creep over 50 one-lane bridges and yield to countless on-comers.

My heart beats double time and stomach flip-flops as we navigate hairpins, blind corners and sheer face cliffs. Yet, in spite of the adrenaline rush and need for Gravol, the hair-raising journey is worth every minute.

Our slender road loops through a feathery rainforest where we’re canopied by vine-dripping banyans, kissed by trickling waterfalls and welcomed by a pot of gold at the end of numerous rainbows.

The secluded treasure trove of Hana is steeped with just as much history as beauty. It was once home to a thriving sugar plantation and, after business dried up in 1943, the land was purchased by Paul Fagan, a highfalutin Californian.

“He not only established the present-day working ranch,” we’re informed, after reaching our destination resort, “but he opened Hotel Hana-Maui. Welcome!” The friendly receptionist wears a purple orchid behind one ear and greets us with a fragrant lei and winning smile.

As well as a rundown on the past, she provides a map of the present, and by the look at the embracing acreage, it’ll come in handy.

Asphalt walkways weave over the terrain like silver threads and lace through the quaint community of 1,800 residents.

They link up posh accommodations that range from views of a rugged shoreline or garden blooms, chichi activities, spa specialties and culinary choices. A number of these will soon create our experience. Tennis and a three-hole pitch and putt will keep us well-grounded.

A hula and ukulele lesson will immerse us in the culture, the nearby surf and pools will cool us off, and ahh, the spa. We’re whisked away to our Sea Ranch cottage, plantation-style, where every consideration has been given.

Our fruit basket would appease Adam and Eve, as would the deep soaker tub and tandem-size shower. There’s a stash of soft drinks, home grown coffee and a cushy feather-top bed. What’s not to love? And while the Casablanca- like fan oscillates above, we’re soon lulled to sleep by the pounding surf.

It’s easy to hibernate in our retreat, but there are just as many temptations outside the door.

The nearby main street of Hana is flanked by a handful of souvenir stalls, and hugging up to its perimeters are beautifully-coloured stretches of sand. We explore the golden crescent of Hamoa Beach, stroll the red cinder surface of Kaihalulu and check out the black sandy boulevard of Waianapanapa State Park.

Some attract surfers by the score. Others are perfect spots for picnicking. They possess a beauty of their own.

On our final day, we discover one last tropical splash a few kilometres from town.

Deep from within the jungle-draped hills of Haleakala National Park are a series of waterfalls that plummet into a narrow gorge.

The rushing torrents carve away the lush chasm known as Ohe’o Gulch, then cascade into seven inviting pools.

Though at times, these temporary reservoirs are popular swimming holes, during our visit the water is high and turbulent and we admire the scene at a distance. It’s a memorable farewell to this windward side of the island where, in spite of excessive rainfall, we’ve been captivated during our two-day visit.

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