Posted by: Josey | December 8, 2008

Hana, Maui, Hawaii: Tonight We Live Like Locals (Part Four)

Read part one here.
Read part two here.
Read part three here.

by Josey Miller

At around 10am the following morning, we met Sky as planned. The yellow stray hound he’d adopted, Boy, greeted our car.


“Do you want to take the long hike or the short hike?” Sky asked.

“You’re the one who has to work today. We’re on vacation,” I responded.

“The long hike it is.”

On our walk up his sprawling lawn with Boy bounding behind us, he pointed out his landscaping: fragrant Rosemary and bite-sized Hawaiian red chili peppers.

We helped each other trespass over a barbed-wire fence and walked for about a half hour through a field of knee-high, dried-out grass—the Pacific to one side of us and the misty mountains in the distance to the other side.

“You can’t tell anybody about this, okay? I mean, you can tell people you saw it, but you can’t tell them where it is specifically, or I’ll have to kill you. At least, if the word gets out to tourists, the people of Hana will definitely kill me,” he said smiling, but still slightly nervous.

And I slowly realized that we were approaching the side of a cliff. I cautiously peered over the edge.


It was the black sand beach of my wildest Hawaiian dreams.

Our guide looked pleased with himself. “Do you want to go down there?” he asked.

“Yeah, right,” I laughed.

He cleared away some brush to show me and Jeff an old, frayed rope leading down the three-plus-story descent.

“Seriously, do you?”

I was terrified, but I’m not one to turn down a dare. I looked at Jeff for approval, and he nodded. One by one we repelled down the cliff, carrying our full body weight and burning our hands. I smashed against the stony wall on several occasions leaving bruises I’d wear like medals for the rest of our trip. But we each—even Boy—reached the bottom, triumphant, albeit coated in a layer of chalky, reddish dust.


I naively thought I’d take a dip, but the first foamy, turquoise wave hurled me to the ground like a ragdoll, where I laid, stunned and humbled, choking on salt water. The boys laughed (and politely pretended they hadn’t just been mooned, which they had). And the four of us spent an hour happily pacing the length of our private beach: my “true Hawaii.”


Too bad what comes down must go up.

“Smile!” Sky yelled from the top with my camera in hand.

“Why, so I can look happy in one final photo before falling to my untimely death?” I shouted back breathlessly.


But I lived to tell the story after all.


  1. You couldn’t have met a more appropriate “guide” to a Hana Treasure….in fact, he IS a treasure!!

  2. Mahalo nui loa to Sky and Pranee for sharing their aloha and to you for sharing your Hana story. I want papaya salad and black sand beaches!

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