The first full day we were in Maui we made the Road to Hana trip. Well, we got about half way. And I survived!
I’d heard so much about this drive. When you do a search for ‘Maui attractions’ it’s included in just about every link you can find and I envisioned this four lane road with big flashing “Stop and try our pineapple here!” signs every 40 feet. Sure the pictures made it LOOK nice but pictures of Vegas are welcoming and encouraging and nowhere do they mention that if you stray so much as 10 feet off The Strip you are overwhelmed with the stench of sun baked urine and accosted by bums. And that they smell WORSE.
I was never in my life so happy to be SO WRONG. On the drive from the condo to Paia where we rented a cooler and bought a box lunch to take on the trip I was glued to the window. The day before it was dark by the time we drove by all this so I was seeing it for the first time. The sky was the kind of baby blue I’ve dreamed about but 20+ years of living in a city with the worst pollution in the COUNTRY had convinced me only existed there: in my dreams. Every color was that way. The sugar cane was the most vibrant green I had ever seen. The water was a perfect gradient of teal to a light then a deep dark blue that even the most experienced graphic designer could never replicate. I was in awe of EVERYTHING.
We had gotten up late and the attraction coordinator at the hotel assured us as we booked our glass bottom boat and Molokini/Lanai snorkeling trip later in the week that we were getting way to late a start for the Hana drive. And… we should consider taking a GUIDED tour to fully appreciate all that the road had to offer. To us this seemed kinda silly since we had a Shelby Stang to make the trip in and to her seemed perfectly logical because she’d get a higher commission. I’m glad we didn’t listen to her.
We arrived at the first stop, Twin Falls, probably sometime around 9:30AM. I had on flip flops but had thrown my tennis shoes in the trunk in case we did any serious hiking. Ben told me that we should bring shoes but the few other people I saw walking off to the trail all had sandals on too so I told him I’d be fine. He brought a backpack along with his shoes anyway and I just kinda giggled at my boy scout boyfriend, grabbed the Canon and we were off.
The trail was MUDDY. And lush and beautiful and so very very green. And REALLY MUDDY. On the way there the self guided Road to Hana tour CD had told us that Hana averages 300 inches of rain a year and is a real rain forests. I guess for most clear thinking people that means “Don’t wear flipflops, moron.” heh I struggled and Ben laughed. So it was pretty much like any other walk we’d been on except that we were in Paradise. Anna means ‘graceful‘ ya know.
When we got to the falls we took pictures and watched two guys swim around the bottom and just sat and soaked in the serene beauty of it all. After about 15 minutes or so and almost killing myself on slippery rocks Ben said,
Ben: You should go in.
Ben: You should get in the water.
Me: I didn’t bring a towel and I don’t have a change of clothes in the car.
Ben: So when you tell this story to people do you want to tell them about how you walked to this beautiful waterfall… and then left. Or do you want to tell them how you walked to this beautiful waterfall then SWAM in it and how awesome that was?
Ben: I’m gonna go take some more pictures.
So I sat there for a minute or two and thought, “what the hell… I might as well get in. How many times will I get the chance to go swimming in a waterfall in a rain forest in Paradise, right?”
After swimming around a bit and climbing onto the rocks behind the waterfall I decided that we better get going since we had a long drive in front of us that day. Going through the bottom of the falls was tricky because the water was POUNDING down with enough force that I had to hold the wall with one hand and my bikini top uo with the other… with my eyes closed so I didn’t lose my contacts.
I managed to get off the rocks gracefully (SEE: slipped and fell flat on my ass then tried to slide down the rest of the way which gave me a wedgie so far up my bum it cleaned my sinuses out) and swam to where the rock shelf started at the edge of the pond in waste deep water with my eyes still closed. When I opened them I saw Ben looking at me with a sly grin on his face holding out a cell phone and saying, “Since you did that, you should marry me.” I’m sure I looked at him with the most puzzled look on my face because I was thinking to myself I must have hit my HEAD when I fell too because I was totally hearing things.
Ben: Will you marry me?
I realized when my contacts cleared and my eyes focused that it was an opened RING BOX he was holding, not a cell phone! In a single second my heart started racing about 4,000 MPH and I got this silly knot in my throat and felt like the world spun completely around me with every single beat of my heart. I put my head down for a second and closed my eyes. I wanted to convince myself that I wasn’t dreaming that the Man of My Dreams had just proposed to me at the edge of a waterfall the middle of a rain forest in Maui.
I opened my eyes and it was real. I yelled YES(!!) and climbed/waded to where he was (almost falling at least 6 times because again, GRACEFUL) and climbed on the rock next to my fiance and kissed him and put the ring on my finger. The next few moments are kinda blurry. I remember shaking but not feeling cold at all, and Ben yelping as I pressed my cold body to him when we kissed, and the couple that had been swimming before offered to take our picture and saying congrats. I was on such a high that I felt like we floated, not walked, back to the car to continue the drive to Hana.
On the walk he told me about picking out the diamond, and the setting and that he’d had the ring for a MONTH. And that EVERY SINGLE PERSON we know knew that he was going to propose. He’d told my mom and dad and all our friends and the girl that works at the front desk and nVidia. Everybody.
So, we’re engaged. Looking down at the ring still causes my heart to flutter at the thought that I’m going to marry the man who saved my life and makes me laugh every single day and who loved me through battles with depression and from 240 miles away and who reminds me daily that I’m special and cared about and for.
We don’t have a date set yet but the latest idea is to have the wedding around Spring of 2008. As details progress, of course, you will all be informed.