Early on a Sunday morning we took off and headed up the tallest mountain on Maui.
Up we went until we were at the same level as the clouds.
And the road kept going – we could see Molokai in the distance, and we kept going.
we were looking down on the 5000′ high West Maui Mountains and the clouds now. Where could we be going?
No not really, it is Haleakala Mountain (and National Park). The buildings are an observatory.
But if you could visit the moon in shorts this is the place (to be fair it was in the upper 50s but it is Hawaii so I am wearing shorts).
Haleakala is a volcano, and the top is the crater with numerous cauldrons. They like to point out that while it is officially 10,023′ above sea level, there is another 19, 680′ below sea level, so it is taller than Everest (but shorter overall than nearby Mauna Kea).
There are numerous cauldrons in the crater, which is a deceptive 2600′ deep.
While barren of vegetation, the crater floor is full of color, as this series of photos will show. These are some of my favorite photos of all time, all from the same place!
We went down the path into the cauldron for about 45 minutes – resulting in a 2 hour hike back up. For me this was one of the tougher hikes, it is 10,000′ in elevation, it is continuous, without shade (and I likely only went down 700-800 vertical feet)
It is an incredible place, and we were fortunate that it was a very sunny day the day we visited, as the clouds often obscure the mountain (at least parts), and later in the day and for the rest of our time in Maui, it was at least partially obscured.
We returned to Maui (aka sea level) and went for a drive to Kahakuloa. While most people drive the famed road to Hana (we did – later), this road was far more impressive and challenging. It was mostly a lane and a half, often clinging to the cliffs to the ocean, with minimal guard rails.
It was great!
Great unexpected views would just pop up without warning.
The road passes through a couple of little towns.
Eventually you make it back to a road with state highway maintenance (aka – two lanes), but the views continue.
We stopped at the Nakalele Blowhole.
Another north shore coastline (note the road running along the top of the hill).
Maui’s north shore is known for the surfing. We watched a number of them catch waves before calling it a day.