Ah, the thrill! The thrill of it all!
We had been told to take the Sunrise Tour to Haleakala Volcano. So
we planned this trip as one of the major shows of our Maui vacation!
On the day of the big event we were forced to groggily crawl out of bed and slap ourselves awake. You have to be highly motivated, powerfully driven and blindly dedicated to get up this early. But we really wanted to see the rising sun forcing day across a volcanic landscape.
So they picked us up at our hotel at 2:00 AM--big deal! We'd somehow survive.
After picking up some more passengers, the bus was off and running. First stop was for coffee and goodies (to say nothing about the restrooms--in case we needed a rest, I suppose). Then our morning drive began up the mountain to the much awaited destination.
Going to Haleakala in the dark, all visual effects were, of course, zero. Most of us attempted to get some "sleep" as the bus did its rockin' un rollin' towards the much awaited Morning Show of the Sun God.
The road winds its way up the mountain, twisting and turning through several life zones. The view during the day can be specticular! It reveals varied landscapes, from dry to rain forest, sub-alpine shrub land to a barren alpine zone, where porous rocks clutter the naked ground. At the top elevation it is possible, at times, to find a snow covered landscape.
In the tropics?
Sure--at some 10,000 feet anything is possible!
And what about the impossible?
Some people are just born lucky!
And then others are just lucky to be born!
We sure picked the perfect day to visit this Wonder of Maui!
On the way up it had been dark, dank and cold outside. In fact, instructions to all tour passengers had been to dress warm and even bring blankets, "'cause it gets real cold up there!" Cold is one thing. We expected that; and were sure prepared for pure ice! Rain is another!
The driver parked within a short distance of the "crater" rim. He turned off the engine and lights and offered the following statement.
"Well we still have a lot of time before sunrise. So I suggest we can sit in here and wait for things to clear up."
So we waited. I personally dozed, since we'd arrived quite early. The wait was really quite long. At times the driver said something like: "It'll clear after a while. Hopefully"
We waited for a very long time, huddled inside with our fellow passengers, surrounded by the bleak darkness of pre-dawn morning.
A bit later we were told that once the Center opened we could go in there and see its displays (such as the "map" picture of the volcano, above to the left).
"By then," he seemed to promise, "things will be a big clearer. Hopefully."
The rain had not really diminished much. Though, as the night folded away, preparing for sunrise, hope also rose in our hearts. Real hope. Or. Perhaps false hope? The rain turned into a dank drizzle, as is suggested in the following pictures.
OUR ONLY CLOSE UP OF THE VOLCANO.
These people are looking at the milky view outside.
After we got our fill of rainfall at Haleakala, it was back to the bus.
Brigitte and a fellow passenger.
Actually taken at the first stop.
(But it works better here.)
Now we were treated to a daylight journey down the mountainside, through the varied time zones that mark the volcano's outer shell.
What we saw:
The view from the golf club coffee
Where we were served up a very nice breakfast, of our choice.
Wanna see what we missed!
Check out John Donohue's:
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The Maui Man.
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