Sunday, April 12, 2015

High on Haleakala

After finally feeling settled and on track, it was time to accomplish something that took time and energy and that would be to head upcountry and hike down into the Haleakala Crater in Haleakala National Park.  I did my homework and loads of due diligence then came up with a plan.  I would park down at the Halemau'u Trailhead then hitch-hike up to the summit.  From the summit I would do a one way hike down into the crater then hike up out of the crater along the Halemau'u Trail to my car which would be 20kms with all the elevation over the last six kms.

I got an early start from my condo.  I was excited, well rested and raring to go.  Driving up the  Crater Road, I owned my side while I swear hundreds of vehicles were coming down. You see, they were all up there for the sunrise, the sun was now up, now they were heading home.  No one was sharing my side of the road with me.  That had me concerned, as I was hoping there would be loads of traffic making it easy to catch a ride.

I arrived at the Halemau'u Trailhead parking lot. I was above the cloud.  Yup, I was high.  I geared up and bundled up as it was on the chilly side.  I took the path that lead to the designated hitch-hikers pullout. 
I settled in, snapped a shot and within a matter of five minutes a vehicle came along. I held out my hitch-hiking sign, they pulled over and picked me up. The photo shows the pullout area,
Well before 8:30 I was on the Sliding Sand Trail, smiling, giggling, happy as can be and loving where I was and what I was seeing.  No one else was heading down but a few were hiking up.  I read that most people just hike a portion of the  Sliding Sand Trail down then turn around and hike back up.
Like I said it was on the chilly side, so the longer layers were needed, for a short period anyway. You can see the Sliding Sand Trail top left. I have become attached to the flower in the hair thing.  
You can see a couple hiking along that trail.  I had full intentions of hiking out to the cinder cone but by this time I am well past it.  I got caught up in the beauty of the area and just passed on by the turn-off.
I carried on down, still more down, and even further down.  The further down, the prettier.  It was hot down here.  I thought yesterday's colors were vibrant,  this scenery takes vibrancy to a whole new level.
                                                  The scenery was breathtaking.
                                                         so many colourful flowers
I reached the bottom.  This is the junction where I veer off the Sliding Sand Trail.  It's a fine spot for a rest break and a destination shot.  I noticed that clouds were building.  The forecast did call for showers.
This section was a land like no other. It was desolate and beautiful. It was flat and meandering and a good place to pick up the pace.  I was just short of the halfway mark here.
The clouds were falling and there was a light mist off and on.  Not only was this place desolate, the area was now looking eerie yet still beautiful.
                                                  looking back at where I just ascended
I reached a col-like spot that had a cairn.  This was a perfect spot for a true summit shot, well maybe not a summit shot as I am not at the high point.  How about, the top spot in the basement of the crater.  That's it!
I took a 1 km detour around a cone and this was the view from the backside.  It was very green in this part.
I also took the Silverwood Loop.  By now, the clouds are thick, and I can see nothing but what is right in front of me.  Time to focus on what is at my nose tip.
I made it to the Holua Cabin and met four folks sitting at the picnic table.  Other than the couple who drove me to summit, these are the only others I came in contact with.  What are the odds, they are from Nova Scotia also.  I fueled up for the six km climb ahead.
                                      some more focusing on what is right under my nose.
I had no far off views at all along the last stretch.  I hear it is pretty, I will just have to accept that.  I was back at my car in roughy six hours.  I stopped in at the Visitor Center to purchase my badge of honor  and to get my passport book stamped.  This was truly an amazing day and I am happy my plan worked out.  It was very easy to get high on Haleakala! 


1 comment:

  1. What a huge crater - impressive. The flower in the hair definitely suits you.


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