Nov 06

Road to Hana – Backside of Haleakala – Maui

Bumpy RoadKaren and I had a decision to make.  Do we continue to drive on and break our car rental agreement or do we take all 600 curves again by retracing our road back the way we came.  We talked it over and decided to push on.  Just because we did it does not mean you should or have to because you are taking the chance of voiding your rental agreement, which means if you get stuck or wreck your rental car you would be responsible for all payments.  Karen and I took that chance in our Ford Focus rental, and are sure glad that nothing happened. 
Ranch LandAs we took off down the road all I cared about at that point was making it through a five mile curvy dirt road section and then it should be smooth sailing from that point on.  The most troubling part of taking this road back was the blind curves.  For about the first ten miles there are several blind curves, which Karen and I took very slowly just hoping there wasn’t some vehicle on the other side coming at us in rush.  As far as the road condition, at the time that we were there it was fine.  There were a few short dirt sections, but they were graded.  If you have ever driven a dirt road in the countryside then this will not be any sort of trouble for you.  Once you are past the curvy section the road opens up and then it is just going up and down hills with a limited site distance.  We took our time and made it just fine.
Blind CurvesIt is truly an amazing thing to see how the rain shadow effect changes the landscape of the Hawaiian Islands.  It makes it almost seem like you are in a completely different state or country.  Earlier in the day we were driving by one waterfall after another in amazing tropical rainforest now we were driving through the middle of a ranch that was nothing but dry brush land as far as the eye could see.
Dry SideIt was a little interesting seeing a ranch in what looks like the middle of nowhere.  It is an open range ranch so Karen and I got up close and personal with some of the local cows.  Another reason to take it slow when driving on the backside road.  Overall, the traffic both ways was minimal.  This was not during the busy season so I have no idea how much traffic you might come across.  I would hate to take some of those blind curves on a busy day.  Just remember to take it easy and if someone is on your tail find a place to pullover and let them pass.   
Black CowThe road eventually went from dirt to a patchwork of asphalt that was almost bumpier than the dirt road.  Karen and I were extremely happy that we were not having to take as many curves, and started to enjoy the rugged beauty that is the backside of Haleakala.  We got out a few times and took in as much of it as we could, but we were getting tired so for the most part we just wanted to head back, grab some dinner, and relax in our hotel room. 
Driving the BacksideEventually we hit Highway 31 and were finally on a two lane road that was smooth.  It was a wonderful day and once we hit that smooth highway again we were glad that we decided to take the backside route to our hotel.  We had left South Kihei at six in the morning and made it back to our hotel a little before eight at night.  It was a long day, but definitely a day we will never forget.          
A Different Land

Non-watermarked photo via http://www.govisithawaii.com/2009/08/26/should-you-drive-the-back-side-of-the-road-to-hana/

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  1. jms

    Thanks for Sharing this! In Maui now, reading this on my iPhone! As I probably won’t drive the backside, it was great to hear your adventure!

    JMS- Seattle, WA

    1. Kenny and Karen

      We hope you had a great time on your trip. Maui is an incredible place.

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