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Wai'anapanapa State Park

Seth Willingham


Behind the Shot

The Hana Highway on Maui’s north and east side is a historic 64.4-mile-long highway that connects Kahului and Kipahulu. With perfect conditions and no delays, the 52-mile stretch from Kahului to the small town of Hana takes about 2 hours and 30 minutes to travel by car. But due to flooding roads, 59 bridges (46 of them one lane only) and gawking travelers, this winding, narrow, bumpy journey often takes a full day to complete. One of the treasures found along this highway, just before Hana, is Waiʻanapanapa State Park. Hawaiian for “glistening fresh water,” Waiʻanapanapa is home to freshwater streams, natural caves, lava tubes, stone arches, abundant wildlife and beautiful black volcanic sand beaches.

“I’ve known about Wai’anapanapa State Park for a long time, and I had been wanting to shoot there since I heard about it,” Seth says, “but the weather and the trip itself can be unpredictable and unforgiving. The road is treacherous, and you never know what you are going to find when you get there. When we were driving the weather was volatile. We didn’t think we’d make it to the park after a grueling six-hour drive, but we were lucky and enjoyed a perfectly clear moment to take this shot.”