Hawaii – November 2018 – Day 16 From Maui to the Moon

Early on a Sunday morning we took off and headed up the tallest mountain on Maui.

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Up we went until we were at the same level as the clouds.

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And the road kept going – we could see Molokai in the distance, and we kept going.

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we were looking down on the 5000′ high West Maui Mountains and the clouds now. Where could we be going?

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The moon!

No not really, it is Haleakala Mountain (and National Park). The buildings are an observatory.

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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).

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There are numerous cauldrons in the crater, which is a deceptive 2600′ deep.

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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!

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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.

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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!

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Great unexpected views would just pop up without warning.

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The road passes through a couple of little towns.

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Eventually you make it back to a road with state highway maintenance (aka – two lanes), but the views continue.

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We stopped at the Nakalele Blowhole.

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Another north shore coastline (note the road running along the top of the hill).

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Maui’s north shore is known for the surfing. We watched a number of them catch waves before calling it a day.

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Hawaii – November 2018 – Day 5 Volcano National Park

Having arrived after dark the night before, once the sun came up in the morning we found ourselves facing Kilauea. Showing my ignorance at some things in nature I always thought that a volcano was the huge cylindrical cone where everything came shooting out the top.

On this day I learned that they can be very different. For Mauna Loa, there have been numerous cauldrons/craters that have erupted over time. Even the most recent this spring, didn’t erupt in the cauldron, rather the lava lake that was in Kilauea disappeared as the lava exited lava tubes miles away, leaving this cauldron empty, except for the steam vents.

To me it looked like an abandoned strip mine with steam.

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Our visit continued with a drive down Chain of Craters Road, so named as it passes numerous craters from previous eruptions over the last 100 years.

Each crater has a different look depending on age.

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We stopped along the way and took a great 3 mile round trip hike across lava fields to Pu’u Huluhulu.

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The amount of vegetation that grows in what seems like impossible conditions is amazing, and beautiful. We found these berries growing everywhere.

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Through every available crack.

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Also interesting were the different surfaces, some were smooth, some with swirls, and this one with thousands of little indentations.

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Having completed our hike, we continued our drive towards the sea.

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Once we reached the ocean you could again see how volcanic activity forms all of Hawaii.

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The Holei Sea Arch is a 90′ high natural arch formed from the erosion of the lava cliffs from the pounding of the surf.

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Returning to the main part of the park (and people), we went for a walk along the steam vents. Unlike Yellowstone where there is a strong sulfur smell, these just felt and smelled like you are standing outside of a house in the winter where the drying vent is running – only much more so.

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The steam vents were all over the place.

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Many had offerings to the volcano gods to ask them to behave themselves.

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As with most of our days in Hawaii, it ended with a great sunset.

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Flagstaff, AZ – June 2005 – Sunset Crater

Sunset Crater is a cinder cone located just north of Flagstaff. The crater is now protected as the Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument. ┬áThe crater is over 1000′ high, and is estimate to have erupted around 1085.

They now prohibit hiking up the cone due to damage, but the views from the areas you can hike around are excellent.

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