Haleakala Sunrise, Napili CoastJune 19, 1992 in the United States
Well, we did it! The alarm went off at 2:30am and by 2.50 we were showered and off in the darkness on the way to watch the sunrise at the top of Haleakala. The climb up the slopes was a long one - about 38 miles. In that distance you actually climb from sea level to 10,075 feet. We took some warm weather gear, but it was just icy at the top. I felt like I was back in Sydney again. Foolishly, in an attempt to warm myself I sprinted up the flight of stairs to the hut at the summit, and spent the next 5 minutes panting for breath. In the darkness I had not noticed the sign "Walk slowly at this altitude".
We arrived at about 4.45. We were quite excited at the view we would get from the top, as the early morning was almost cloudless. As dawn approached a substantial bank of cloud had built up and sunrise didn't actually occur until about 5.40. After their early rise, the boys were getting pretty restless waiting, especially as it was so cold.
The sunrise was nice, but I'm not sure it was worth a 2.30am start and putting up with the fatigue. More cloud rolled in, and obscured the view of the crater and anything much else. Disappointing, as Pete and I remembered very clearly the impact it had had on us the previous time. We hung around for quite some time, driving from summit to various viewpoints, hoping the clouds would evaporate and delight us with a wonderful view. It was not to happen and eventually we gave up at about 10.30. We had been up there for about 6 hours!
To make matters worse, Sean had been complaining of feeling sick. Up it came at one of the viewing points, his own little private eruption. Further subsidiary eruptions took place as we descended the mountain on a narrow winding road down a mountain, it's difficult to stop when a sick child yells out "stop the car!".
Back up at the top we saw lots of Silversword - a unique and beautiful plant which grows nowhere else in the world but on top of Haleakala. It has developed special adaptations which have allowed it to do so.
We made our way back to Lahaina, stopping to pick up some bread rolls to eat for lunch before all collapsing into bed for a nap. On waking at about 2.30 we packed up again and headed off north through Napili and saw a lot of expensive looking resorts and condos. We ended up at a pretty bay for a swim, relax and sunbake (Honolua Bay). There were lots of beautiful coloured birds there that Pete and I both tried to film.
Didn't leave til 5.45 and were the last ones on the beach. Home for a quick change and into Lahaina where the boys had their hearts set on Cheeseburger in Paradise. It had a rather pleasant ambiance as its built right on the water with the sea breeze blowing in, with a guy with a voice like Don Henley playing the guitar and singing.
Pete & I were disappointed in the meal - bill was $58 for essentially a hamburger meal each. Pete & I had a nice cocktail each though, and the boys a "bottomless soda" in a mug which changed colour as you drank it, and which they took for souvenirs.Read more