Haleakalā to PalikūSeptember 13, 2019 in the United States ⋅ ⛅ 15 °C
Haleakalā to Palikū
3:45 am is our wake up time today. We have tickets to go see the sunrise atop an extinct volcano in Haleakalā national park. Thankfully we packed all our stuff before going to bed last night. We have quick toast, pack the car and start our climb.
James our audio guide is there to explain some of the history of Hawaii while we turn and turn and turn all the hairpin switchbacks. As we go higher I start to feel vertigo, all I see on the side of the road is a couple of brands of grass and after that it’s pitch black. It looks like I’m driving along a precipice. I know I won’t drive off the road but it’s still creepy.
I also realize as we go up that we will be at about 3000m high once we get at the top. I am not acclimated to hike at this altitude... I start worrying that the trek might be too tough. We have about 40 pounds of extra weight to carry. I calm myself down by telling myself that I’ll try and if it’s too tough we’ll turn back instead of continuing the whole trail. Ben also tells me that we will be going down most of the way. Tomorrow we will be hiking it all back up.
Once we arrive at the top we are guided in the very tight parking to a spot we can leave our vehicle. We were not the only one with permits... there are lots of people here. As we get out of the car we feel the very cold air. It’s about 5 Celsius. Thankfully we have our coats; it’s still however cold, the wind doesn’t help. We head to one of the viewpoints and squeeze in with the people to take some photos. We take tons of course. We will clean up what we don’t want later.
Once the sun is out everyone heads back to their car to go back down. We decide to take the car and drive just a little higher where there is another observation point. From here we can see the telescopes, however, we are not able to go visit.
I drop off Ben back at the visitor centre and leave him with our gear. I take the car down to a lower parking. We need to do this because we will be exiting from a different trailhead. To get back to the visitor centre I have to hitchhike. OMG, I hope someone will want to pick me up. After about 10 minutes, Keith, a retired Navy officer, gives me a ride. Thank you Keith.
I’m ready as I’ll ever be, let’s go. The hike down the crater is a good incline. It’s not too bad on the knee, I’ve been having issues with my left knee going down stairs for the last year. Ever since the crazy amount of hiking we did last year in Yosemite my knee has it’s days where it’s painful.
The scenery is fantastic, it keeps changing on us every km. Some places are super dry and full of lava rock. Other places have different vegetation that seems very fragile. We were warned not to venture off the trail as it takes a long time for things to grow in high altitude. As we get further down we also get more clouds rolling in from the ocean. We clearly see the difference where the rain falls. The vegetation is different and more luscious.
We arrive at our camping spot around 2pm. We pick our spot and try to put the tent up. As we haven’t used our tent in a while we always have a hard time with the first set of poles. For some reason it’s not intuitive and we ended up changing it more times than I want to share. We have to hurry as the rain is starting. We finally get everything set up and get in the tent. We made it just in time as the rain starts falling pretty hard. We chill in the tent until the rain stops. I think I will be sleeping pretty well tonight.
We have dinner and watch a couple shows we downloaded. The area here is very quiet. It’s Friday 13th and it’s also the full moon. I hope there are not too many werewolves 😆Read more