Haleakala, Hawaiian for House of the Sun, climbs to 10,023 feet above sea level. The really cool thing to do is to take a morning tour up the mountain in time to see the sunrise paint wonderful colors on the sandy, eroded slopes inside the crater. We’re not that cool, and we like our sleep so we didn’t awaken at 2 in the morning to take the 3-hour bus ride to the top. Instead, we slept until a decent hour and arrived at the crater at noon. It was the beginning of several days of overcast and some rain, as you can see above (taken from about 25 or 30 miles away from the mountain), so I’m not sure if the sunrise made it under the clouds for the early birds this day or not.
No matter, even with the overcast, the colors can be quite vivid, although my photo instinct has me lusting for the golden light of sunrise or sunset that would make the colors glow (some future trip, perhaps). The crater is some 7 miles long, 2 miles wide, and about a half-mile deep. A woman standing next to me commented that we could be looking at Mars. Indeed, the landscape was reminiscent of Mars Rover photos and other planetary images that I have seen. I have posted a few more images on my flickr site, and expect to be adding more over the next few weeks as I recover from vacation and catch up on things at home.
Oh, it’s worth pointing out that it was about 40 degrees (F) with a stiff wind, so we were glad to have come with our overcoats from snowy Michigan. We arrived when there were no clouds in the crater, then watched them come in and move out again.
When the cloud cover lifted, veiled views to the distance were possible. Below, looking northwest, you can see Kahului Bay and the town of Kahului (home of Maui’s main airport). The first mountain range, two-thirds up on the left, is the West Maui Mountains (which you can see from the west in my Day 8 post). Beyond those mountains, you can see the small island of Molokai with two peaks (known for its days as a leper colony). Molokai is only 8 or 9 miles from Maui. Beyond that, at some distance, is a dark mass that is nothing more than ocean without cloud cover.