Flashback Friday - Haleakala Crater in Hawaii

Brrrrrr! Well, it's finally winter in the Northeast after a very mild fall and early winter. In fact, we're supposed to get a major snowstorm tonight. I thought it would be fun to do a blog about a warm place…like Hawaii. Except it's a little ironic, I decided to focus on our adventure at Haleakala which, when we made it to the top, was extremely cold. We were freezing our butts off!! LOL


If you go to Maui, one of the coolest things to do that I highly recommend, is taking the van to the top of Halaekala Crater to watch the sunrise above the clouds. It is an unforgettable experience!

Margaret and I took this trip in August of 1993. We were up at 2:00 in the morning to get ready to meet the van for our adventure. The mini bus picked us up at 3:00 and we had about a half an hour's ride to a supermarket to meet another van that was going to take us up the volcano. There's a 37-mile winding road from sea level to summit. You can drive if you're feeling adventurous and don't mind driving with no guardrails in the dark. We definitely preferred the van especially that early in the morning.

We arrived at the lookout (9,740 feet) at 5:00. We had about 40 minutes before the sun began to rise. It was in the low 40s. So if you go, bundle up! They gave us coffee and donuts which helped keep us warm.

Amazing sunrise at the top of Haleakala above the clouds!

At 6:00 the sun came over the horizon. About 6:15 the driver took us to the tippy top of the volcano (10,000 feet) to see the view from Pu'u'ula'ula Summit. It's spectacular!

Here are some interesting facts:

  • Haleakala National Park is 33 miles wide, 24 miles long

  • Manhattan ould fit in the crater of the volcano which is 7.7 miles long, 2.5 miles wide, and 3,000 feet deep

  • Haleakala means "house of the sun"

There is a great legend about Maui, a demigod, snaring the sun and slowing it's progress across the sky to make the days longer:

Maui Snaring the Sun - http://www.sacred-texts.com/pac/maui/maui07.htm

Haleakala from the Visitors Center

On the way back down the we stopped at the ranger station. The Visitors Center/Ranger Station is at 6,700 feet. There we saw Nene, the native Hawaiian bird, a cousin to the Canadian goose. It is endangered and protected.

Hawaiian Goose - http://www.threeringranch.org/animals/nene.html

Silver Sword is a plant that grows only at Haleakala. It can live 10-50 years as a low round bush. Each plant only blossoms once its lifetime, sending a stalk up that can grow over 6 feet and produce over 600 flower heads.

Eleven Amazing Things about the Haleakala Silversword - http://www.kindofcurious.com/2010/02/eleven-amazing-things-about-haleakala.html

Haleakala Silverswords - http://www.nps.gov/hale/learn/nature/silversword.htm

We were back at the hotel by 9:30AM. It was well worth getting up so early and the long trip!

Maui was our favorite Hawaiian Island and there are many fun activities to do there. Maybe I'll include some of them in future Flashback Fridays.

Sunrise at Haleakala - http://gohawaii.about.com/od/mauiland/a/haleakala_dawn.htm

Haleakala Volcano Crater on the Island of Maui - http://cruises.about.com/od/hawaiicruises/a/haleakala.htm

National Park Service Haleakala - http://www.nps.gov/hale/index.htm

MauiGuidebook.com - http://mauiguidebook.com/camping/haleakala-crater/

Sunrise and Sunset over Haleakala - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xDBMaAWtQHI

Haleakala Crater Maui Hawaii - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zXmg1YqH60Y

If you've taken this tour recently, give us an update of what company you used, how much it costs, and what your experience was like.

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