We arrive at Kīpahulu Campground around 3:30 p.m. and park next to one of the remaining barbecue grills. The campground is a grassy expanse offering panoramic views of the Pacific. As we unpack, I can hear the delicate plucks of an ‘ukulele music coming from somewhere in the distance.
For a closer look at the ocean, we take the nearby Kuloa Point Trail, an easy half-mile walk that begins at the Kipahulu Visitor Center. Following the path towards the ocean, we pass a native hala grove and remnants of an ancient fishing shrine, until arriving at the mouth of ‘Ohe’o Gulch pools. From here, my attention is fixated mauka (towards the mountain), where fresh water spills seaward from pond to pond.
Losing track of time, I notice the sky has turned from light to dark blue, and we decide to retreat to the campsite. By nightfall, we’re settled into lawn chairs, trying to pinpoint constellations before tucking in for the evening.
The early-summer sun wakes Kīpahulu—and us—with a warm embrace. We load the car and lace up our hiking shoes. Next stop, Wai‘ānapanapa State Park, on the opposite side of Hāna town.
En route, I recall that Hāna Farms is only a short drive past Wai‘ānapanapa, near Hāna’s airport road. The hike can wait. You see, banana bread is my comfort food, and the road to Hāna is littered with roadside stands, each advertising they have “the best.” A couple of years ago, my family rented a house in Hāna. My mom and aunty drove for miles, scooping up every variety of banana bread they could find—probably half a dozen loaves. Family members conducted a blind taste test, and the winner was (drumroll please) . . . Hāna Farms! So off we head, looking for the bright yellow sign “The Original 6 Varieties.” I opt for the classic, but take note of some interesting combos, including coconut lime and chai flavors. We pack our savory souvenirs into the cooler and make our way to Wai‘ānapanapa State Park.
With its dramatic cliffs and dense vegetation, Wai‘ānapanapa is the stuff of postcards. But its true magic lies in what you can’t see. In the 1500s, Maui’s famed chief Pi‘ilani constructed the West Maui phase of what came to be known as the King’s Highway—the noted alaloa (long road). His son Kihapi‘ilani continued the work, laying the East Maui section to complete the only ancient highway to encircle any Hawaiian island.