In my post about visiting the Big Island of Hawaii’s Green Sand Beach, I promised that I would share the details of our terrifying 4WD (four-wheel-drive) excursion. From the main highway that loops around the island, we drove several miles on an old, paved road, which was slightly wider than a single lane but still not wide enough for two cars to pass without one pulling off into the grass.
Even on the main highway, we had been in the middle of nowhere. (Aside from a few large towns and vacation resorts, the majority of the Big Island is beautifully secluded.) We took a few turns and arrived at a dirt parking area. Folks without 4WD were leaving their cars to either hike 3 miles to the beach or pay for a shuttle. When I say shuttle, I don’t mean a fancy van or mini bus. These shuttles were muddy pickup trucks, and the passengers stood in the back, holding onto railings for dear life.We had a pickup truck, so we decided to drive a little further and scope things out. After talking to several folks who had made the drive, we went for it and didn’t look back. Well, that’s not exactly true. For the first 10 minutes of the trip, I looked back many times and wondered if we had made the right decision. The landscape was beautiful, and thankfully, it hadn’t recently rained, so the ground was dry, and there was no risk of getting stuck in the mud.
The most challenging part was avoiding the impassible sections, as there were many paths to choose from, and they frequently crossed each other. Some just flat out ended with no warning. We had received a few pieces of advice, but for much of the time, we just chose random routes, knowing that at any time, we could come across a deeply rutted spot and have to back up. Thankfully, that only happened twice.
Mr. Handsome drove, and I sat in the passenger seat providing him with a steady stream of advice and reminding him to “take it slow.” I played a very necessary role, or at least that’s what I tell myself.
I filmed this video while we were on our way back. It doesn’t do a great job of showing just how bumpy the ride was, but I think you’ll enjoy it.