Posts Tagged ‘clouds’

The Haleakala Sunrise was one of our favorite experiences during our previous trip, so we really wanted to get up there again on our latest trip. Since our trip co-incided with the 2011 Lyrid Meteor Shower, we decided the peak day of the shower would be the best time to experience the sunrise. We were staying in Kihei at the Maui Banyan. All the websites and information we could find said it would take two hours to reach the summit. I found a good website with the actual sunrise time information. We wanted to get up there well before sunrise to try and spot some meteors, so we decided to leave Kihei by 3:00am. We ended up leaving at 3:15 am and reached the summit by 5:40 am. We had to take it pretty slow the higher up we got, since a few of us were feeling a bit motion sick towards the top due to all the crazy switchbacks.

Once we got to the top we went straight to the trunk of the car to grab our coats, extra sweaters, etc, as you could certainly tell we were not at sea level any longer. We had checked the weather forecast the day before, so had a pretty good idea of what to expect. And since we had been so cold on our previous trip to the sunrise, we had packed extra clothes this time – I brought my toque as well. I still ended up giving my extra sweater to Shauna, and stole my brother’s spare. The thermometer on the rental car’s computer said it was 45’F up there, and the wind was blowing on top of that. Not terribly cold, but definitely a big change from relaxing on the beach the day before.

One thing we did forget to bring was a flashlight. It was pitch black darkness up there. At least the moon was relatively big, so we were able to see well enough not to trip over anything. The view from the summit is amazing, with a panoramic view in all directions. I wanted to get some photos of the city lights of Central Maui, and was pretty happy with how they turned out:
Central Maui Lights

I also managed to fit the Big Dipper into one of them, although it doesnt show up as well in the smaller version:
Central Maui and the Big Dipper

This photo is a 27 second exposure, lit only using the moonlight and the first hints of light as the sun began showing on the horizon:
First Light

As I mentioned earlier, we picked the peak morning of the Lyrid Meteor Shower hoping to spot (and photograph) some of the meteors. Unfortunately with the moon being so bright most of the websites I had looked at figured it would not be the most visible meteor shower. We did see a handful of meteors, but I wasnt able to photograph any of them. We saw a few driving up the crater road, and a few more once we got to the top. The crowd up there was giving the occasional ooohhhh and aaaaahhhhh, as I was taking photos of the coast. So I know I missed a few as well.

As the sun continued to approach the horizon, the colors of the clouds and sky changed rather quickly. It was quite an amazing sight, and we were very happy with the whole experience even before the sun finally appeared:

Beginning of the Haleakala Volcano Crater Sunrise, Maui

Above the clouds- Haleakala Volcano Crater Sunrise, Maui

Haleakala Sunrise - Maui

It was quite crowded at the summit. Since I was busy taking photographs of the coastline and other things, I did not get a very good spot in front of the shelter area. So I decided to head down in front of the shelter where a few other people had set up their chairs. I found a nice flat rock to sit on, and patiently awaited the sunrise. In the mean time, I took a photo of the happy and slightly chilly crowd as they all took various photos from in front of the shelter:
Watching the Sunrise

Unfortunately, within another minute or so, the park ranger came along and asked us to return to the proper viewing area, as we were not supposed to be sitting down in front of the shelter. I headed back around, and started taking some more photos from behind the shelter once again. I took this photo moments before the sun finally broke above the horizon:
Haleakala Sunrise - Maui

And this one was just moments after it poked above the clouds. It was an amazing sight to behold:
Haleakala Sunrise - Maui

I had to pan quite a bit to the right in order to get a photo of the sunrise without any people in it:
Haleakala Sunrise - Maui

The view through Shauna’s camera:
Haleakala Volcano Crater Sunrise, Maui

This is one of my favorites, as the sun continued to rise higher into the sky:
Haleakala Sunrise - Maui

Once the sun was up we were able to start exploring around the summit. There are a few trails up there that circle the parking area and offer some amazing views of central Maui, as well as the Big Island of Hawaii.

Haleakala Volcano Crater Sunrise, Maui

View from the parking lot as the sun continued to rise above the shelter area:
Lookout Tower- Haleakala Volcano Crater Sunrise, Maui

View of the West Maui Mountains, with Lanai in the distance:
Early morning view of the South Maui Coast from the top of the Haleakala Volcano.

A silversword plant near the summit parking area – the only place on earth these grow:
Silversword plant- Maui Haleakala Volcano Park


We then headed down to the main Visitor Center. The views of the crater from the visitor center are quite good as well. But we really wanted to hike up the short trail that starts at the visitor center, as we did not hike it on our previous trip. I stopped to take quite a few photos along the way, and was really impressed with the views into the crater showing the Sliding Sands Trail:
Sliding Sands Trail

Once you get to the top of the trail, the entire crater lies before you once again. I do not think there are any other places on earth that look quite like this:
Haleakala Crater

It looks more like the moon than anything else:
Haleakala Crater

From the overlook at the top of the trail you also get a good view of the Sliding Sands trail, as well as the Big Island of Hawaii off in the distance. The people walking the trail look like tiny little spots, way off in the distance. The sheer size of the crater is simply amazing
Sliding Sands Trail

By this time we were starting to get hungry. We weren’t cold at all, as the sun was getting higher in the sky, and actually took a layer or two off. As we descended back down towards Kula, we saw the sign for the Leleiwi Lookout. I remembered reading about this before, and had wanted to check it out. The views from the trail to the lookout are worth stopping for on their own:
View of Central Maui

But after a quick walk (only a few minutes) we arrived at the Leleiwi Lookout, and the crater unfolded before us once again. It was an entirely different perspective, and we were very happy that we stopped to check it out:
Leleiwi Lookout

You get a different persepctive on the cinder cones and lava flows within the crater:
Cinder Cones and Lava Flow

From there it was back to the car, and onward with our descent back to sea level. It was 10am or so by the time we made it back to Kahului, so we were getting rather hungry, as well as tired. We decided that Maui Coffee Roasters was the perfect place for breakfast, and some coffee. But you can read that review here if you like.

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