Monday, August 25, 2008

Haleakala Volcano

On Maui, you can see the Haleakala Volcano in the distant from just about every location. One wonderful aspect of Maui is that there is a huge range of climate. At one point, there is an alpine another point, there is a rain forest. It's the best of both worlds with an ocean all around it. It's also breezy all the time... thanks to the wonderful trade winds.
We never got a crstal clear view of the volcano from below because the clouds were always covering looking through fog.

One day, we decided to drive to the summit. The Haleakala National Park covers 45 square miles...the park encompasses the alpine desert volcanic summit, and also the rain forest and coastal area on the eastern end of Maui.

From below, we often watched the clouds swirl around the summit. As we climbed the mountain, it was surreal to be at the same height as the clouds...and then higher than the clouds. They were constantly changing at a quick pace since the wind stirs up everything.
It was also pretty chilly.

The drive to the summit took several hours along narrow, winding roads. All along there were places to pull over and view the changing landscape. There were trails you could take ranging from short hikes to long ones covering many miles. You could make hiking in the park a vacation in itself. Maui is known as a hiker's dream, and now I know why.

At one point, you would be on this ordinary walking trail...turn the corner and find a view that would take your breath away. The photographs do not capture the range of colors that were present. It reminded me of sand you can layer the colors and mix them a little.

At some points, it looked as though we were walking on the moon.

In this photo, you can see the Big Island in the far, far distant. We were lucky that day, since it isn't always visible.

Here's my son as he sits on top of the summit. The summit is at 10,023 feet. The kids got severe headaches and found it difficult to breath. Interestingly enough, I was fine.
Some people travel to the summit in time for sunrise or sun set. I would have loved to see the view at one of those times. We'll have to save that for the return trip. :)
There is an excursion available where they drive you to the summit and you bike down the mountain. This sounded fun until I saw some of the narrow roads and cliffs...and a few crazy drivers. There aren't any guard rails...and your view is often limited as you turn curves in the road.

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