Hey, did I ever tell you guys about the time Matt and I almost died on our honeymoon? No, that’s right I never did, because we vowed afterward to never tell a soul. However, I now have permission from the hubby to openly talk about the time we almost went kaput.
P.S. You might want to grab some snacks because this could be a long one…
It all started on the sunny island of Maui…beautiful white sandy beaches, double rainbows, endless sunshine, and friendly locals. We were having a wonderful time beaching, eating like there was no tomorrow (can you feel the foreshadowing?), and taking in authentic luau’s.
Nothing could go wrong, right? I mean, we even match.
So, on the fourth day of our trip we decided to take a day to do the Road to Hana. For those of you who aren’t familiar with it, the Road to Hana is a stretch of winding highway with over 59 narrow bridges, 46 of which are only one-lane bridges. There are about 620 curves, and almost all of it is through lush tropical rainforests. It takes about 3 hours to get to the end of the Road to Hana, and once you get to the end, it takes about 3 hours to get back to where you started. Along the way, there are beautiful waterfalls to see, hidden secret pools to swim in, and lush botanical gardens to feast your eyes upon. You don’t see any of these things by simply driving along the road, you have to pull over (basically on the side of a mountain with no railing) and find somewhere to park. The thing is, everybody has the same idea, and there is virtually nowhere to park, so you find a small little nook anywhere, and pray your car won’t topple over a cliff.
I thought I’d give you a highlight reel of all the sights we saw before we almost died.
(If you don’t care, feel free to skip over this part…)
Road to Hana = Road to Hell
A botanical garden within the Garden of Eden.
We hiked a short trail to find this waterfall
Changs Pond. This is a hidden pool of water, that only the craziest locals jump into. Why? Because there is only a tiny patch of water where you can jump that is deep enough. If you miss the mark, then you are dunzo. Matt and I just happened to be there when this man made the jump. He was accompanied by his mother (as pictured) and three young daughters who were all screaming, "Please don't die, Dad," as he was jumping.
We drove along the highway took lots of pictures, and were having a great time. We probably started the trip around 9 in the morning, and had every intention of being back at our hotel by 4 in the afternoon. However, because we went on our honeymoon in July, which is one of the busiest times of the year for tourists, there were immense amounts of traffic.
The Road to Hana was packed, and it was taking much longer than we expected. It was nearly 4 o’clock already, and we hadn’t even made it to the end, nor started the trip to get back. The one thing we agreed on before this excursion even began, was that we didn’t want to be driving the Road to Hana at night under any circumstances. However, we really wanted to get to the end of Hana, because there were still a few more things that we were dying to see.
The beautiful and infamous Black Sand Beach
A trail led to this cave on the Black Sand Beach
To be honest, even now I think we are really happy we decided to see the Black Sand Beach, because it was one of our favorite things about the Road to Hana.
So, back to the story…
We were forced to decide whether we should forgo the Black Sand Beach and other sights still left, or just turn around right then, and make it home before dark. As we were discussing our options, we happened to notice that our trusty GPS said there was another way to get back, that didn’t require us to turn back around and follow the highway all the way back to where we started. This route would also take half of the time, than the standard way we had planned on. Too good to be true?
Well, we weren’t convinced, yet. So, we pulled over and investigated the route in further depth, and even took a look at one of the maps provided in our guide book. Sure enough there was a trail. It looked like lots of tight turns, but what was the worst that could happen? We had been driving along winding, narrow roads already all day.
This is pretty accurate...
We had no idea what we were getting ourselves into. (Insert a DUN DUN DUNNNNNNN right about here.)
But we carried on as normal, took our time and saw the rest of what there was to see along the Road to Hana. Soon enough we made it to the end, and the part where you normally would turn back around to where you came from.
Matt asked me one last time, “So, are you sure you wanna do this?”
“YES!” I agreed enthusiastically. Anything to get me back to the hotel sooner…I was starving, and I had to pee really bad.
So, off we went…
As we started driving, we noticed that we didn’t see any other cars around. Hmmm…that was odd.
All of the sudden the paved road turned into a gravel road, but we were still okay. We had a Wrangler, and that kind of car should be able to handle gravel roads, right?
We kept driving, and I started getting really nervous, because as I looked behind me and in front of me, there still weren’t any other cars on the road…
We started to make our way on the gravel road up a mountain, with no railing may I add, and the road got narrower and narrower. My heart was beating out of my chest, because the road had tapered off so much, that our car barely fit on this road. We kept climbing up the mountain, getting further into danger, and where there was no room for error. The slightest mistake would have sent us tumbling off a cliff. When Matt started to panic, I knew that I should be worried, and when he said, “I think we better find a way to turn around,” I was downright terrified.
We kept driving for about three more minutes, all the while breaking no more than 3 miles per hour. We came upon a tiny place in the road where we thought there might be enough room to turn the car around. He started to make a three-point turn, but soon realized there wasn’t enough room. We were almost hanging off the edge. He quickly turned the car back around, and we were forced to keep going.
So, we did what we had to do, and kept forging ahead. In silence. We were both too scared to speak. I looked at my phone to see if I had any service. There was no service. This made me panic even more, but I didn’t say a word. As we continued, we got further and further up a mountain, and that was when I heard a crashing. I couldn’t help it, I had to look over the edge. There was water, lots of it, crashing up to heights I’ve never seen before. Water was splashing into our car.
Holy hell, this might not be okay…
I started to think about what would happen if our car went over the edge. Would we be able to escape the car, if we even survived the crash? Or would the violent waves keep knocking us into the sharp side of the rocky mountain? I worried that our families would never know what happened to us, and I worried that no one would ever find us. I prayed over and over that we would make it home okay.
I noticed along the way that the only signs we saw said “Service Road.” Well, that wasn’t right. These were not roads that you were suppose to travel on, but how were we suppose to know? The GPS led us that way.
Eventually the road wound back down and we were on solid land, but it was only temporary.
Here are a few shots from what we saw when we were briefly on solid ground…
Solid ground but only for a moment. Now imagine this road getting narrower and narrower, and turning into the side of a cliff. Scary right?
Just a cool shot
Me and the Wrangler...
The road kept winding back up cliffs, and then winding back down to solid ground. Eventually it got dark out, and that was probably the scariest part. We simply drove slowly, took our time driving no more than about 6 miles per hour, and the whole process beginning to end took about 6 hours to complete. Thankfully we also gassed up before starting the ride back, or else we would have ran out of gas…and that would have been worse.
Through our entire drive we never saw another soul on the road.
I was proud of Matt for staying so calm, and proud of myself for navigating us through the ordeal. Even though it makes me extremely nauseous to read while riding in a car, I was able to read a map through all the twists and turns of the road.
I obviously don’t have pictures of the scariest parts of the trip, because we were both concentrating too much on not dying. Though, I kind of wish I had a few to look back on now…
For the next two days of our honeymoon, we stayed on flat land, ate flavored ices on the beach, and thanked our lucky stars that we lived.
On the last day of our trip, we stopped in a jewelry store. I wanted to open up an oyster to see if I would get a pearl. I’ve always wanted to do that.
So, the saleswoman got out a big bucket, and she told me to pick one. I selected one from the top. She pried it open with a special tool, and it cracked open.
Inside of it, was not one, but two light pink pearls. Besides the fact that my favorite color is pink, the saleswoman told us that pale pink pearls mean Protection, Life, and Love.
And how ironic that there should be two? One for me, and one for Matt.
And two for Protection, Life, and Love. Enough for the both of us.
Photo by Bluntcard.