One big “touristy” thing to do on Maui, is to drive up to the top to the technically active volcano, Haleakala, and watch the sun rise over the clouds. Haleakala (“House of the Sun”) is 10,023 ft high and has a crater the size of Manhattan. To watch the sunrise, you have to get up pretty early. We were awake at 2:45 am and left by 3:30 am. Yes, I realize that 3:30am in Hawaii is 9:30am on the East Coast, but we had definitely adjusted to the time change by then.
The drive up to the Haleakala takes about 1.5 to 2 hours. Below you can see our route from our hotel in Wailea to where Highway 378 (Haleakala Crater Road) begins.
Then you drive up a road with over 33 switchbacks.
Can you see my wonderful red highlighting job?
That my friends is how you climb 10,000 feet (from sea level to the top of Haleakala) in 37 miles. Thank goodness Matt drove up the volcano. There were no guardrails, and I was kind of freaking out that we were going to fall down the side of the mountain.
At the top, it was about 42 degrees. I was smart and wore jeans and a fleece. Matt was a bit chilly in his shorts.
There were tons of other people up there, too, all vying for a “good spot”.
We weren’t supposed to go past the railings (for our own safety) and some people were doing it to get some good pictures. They got into trouble and yelling was involved.
We decided to go up to the summit where there were considerably less people.
The sunset views were pretty spectacular.
And the parking lot below us.
Did I mention how early it was?
The inside of the crater looked like the surface of Mars.
Above you can see all of the antennae at the National Lab. I wonder if my company worked on them?
On our way back down the mountain, we decided to stop at the Kalahaku Overlook. And we found a silversword! This plant grows ONLY on the side of Haleakala. As in this is the only place on the entire planet where you can find it!
We also took a few more pictures.
What a cool experience. Of course, Matt (my driver) may have a differing opinion, since I slept on the way home!