March 22nd continued
Oheo Gulch at Kipahulu is part of Haleakala National Park, and since we’d gone up to the crater only a couple days before our receipt would have still been valid, but I’d STUPIDLY cleaned out my wallet earlier that morning so we had to pay again. it’s only ten bucks but STILL. Unfortunately the pools were closed to swimming, which meant we had to stay up on the cliffs and trails, but it was still beautiful.
Now, this is where almost everyone turns back and from what I remembered from my 1999 visit you aren’t allowed to drive rental cars past that point because the roads aren’t very good. However, I heard the park ranger in the visitor center tell some people they could definitely continue on in their rented Town Car. I think it was a trick though, because if you look at the map in the back of the magazine the car rental agency gives you, that part of the road is marked in red with a big note that “DRIVING PAST THIS POINT INVALIDATES YOUR RENTAL AGREEMENT.” That’s because at this point the road turns into an single lane unpaved muddy track clinging guardrail-less to the side of a cliff. NOT THAT I WOULD KNOW, becuase we would never do something that would invalidate our rental agreement like drive around the far side of the island. If we had, though, photos of the backcountry taken from a moving car might look something like this.
After all the lush greenery on the east side of the island, the southern side is bleak. Bleak and eerie and creepy. At first the rusted out cars and rickety old rape shacks are unsettling, but as the fences and powerlines fall away you find yourself longing for some sign of civilization.
Now, the thing about this weird, forbidden road is that it doesn’t actually go around the island. It cuts across the flank of the volcano and if you take it, you have to drive nearly all the way to Kahului in order to get to Kihei. At one point though, you would be right above where you were staying, and if there was just one road that went down the hill you’d be home in 10 minutes.
Next Up: Beach Day #3, the Ocean Center & Coming Home