adrian is rad


volcanic moonscape: haleakala crater

Filed under: — adrian @ 5:19 pm

Originally it was just going to be a hiking to a cabin to sleep for the night and hiking back out. Not too hard, right? Then the details started to reveal themselves: it was 10 miles each way of hiking…at altitude (between 6.5K and 10K ft.)…on sand (partially). That’s starting to get a little harder.

The hike into Haleakala Crater last weekend did end up being pretty hard, but it was well worth it.

After a day of sitting on the beach, snorkeling, eating and going to a luau, we woke up bright and early and headed to the eastern side of Maui, up a windy and increasingly colder road up up the gradual slope of Haleakala. We stopped at the ranger station; our 8 minute don’t-destroy-the-crater video out of the way and back-country permits hanging from our bags, we headed to the summit.

From the parking lot there, I could see the lava rock and the clouds below us. This is not bad, I thought…When I went to the other side of the parking lot, to the visitor’s center and I could see the full extent of the crater below. It was massive. There was some vegetation, but it seemed nevertheless like I was looking down into a lunar crater, with a mostly black rock landscape and a number of cinder cones sticking up.

The next few hours were down, down, down on sliding sands–in more ways that ones as that’s also the name of the trail there. The landscape was deep browns, reds and blacks and the ever-growing walls of the crater. The vegetation was sparse grasses and some silverswords–only found in Haleakala. It was quite mildly otherworldly compared to what we’d see later but at the time it was quite amazing.

We broke at lunch time at the first cabin–there were three cabins and we were staying at the farthest one in (of course). The woman who was staying there already had some water boiled for sanitization, so we filled up. Right around there, we started noticing the changing scenery. There was some brown grasses and small shrubs. We could see where we were going–to a small field under a set of craggy and lush cliffs.


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