At every destination you will be a told a list of “must-do” things. Sometimes those turn out to be tourist traps, other times you walk away with a glorious memory. Sunrise at Haleakala was definitely the latter. This is a trip that is not for the faint of heart. There is a price to pay and I’m not talking about the $15 entrance fee into the summit. Be prepared to wake up at 3am dressed in insanely un-Hawaiian winter clothes and drive up a windy road up to the summit in a half asleep daze. Be prepared to stand up to some of the windiest conditions 10,000 feet above ground that will leave your face and hands stiff from waiting in anticipation for the sun to peek above the horizon.
All of this sounds pretty awful for a trip that promised nothing but bikinis and short shorts 24/7, but let me tell you… Haleakala is a breath taking experience and you will regret nothing. When we reached the top, it was still very early and you can see millions of stars shining so brightly and a clear view of the crescent moon. There is a small glass hut that you can experience the view without suffering from the cold but we stood outside the entire time to take it all in – wind and all.
You are so high up that you are literally above the clouds. You can see the whimsical fluffy bits of cotton float over the mountain tops.
At last after hours of standing in the freezing cold in our winter coats, hats and gloves, the sun finally revealed itself in the distance, bringing a haze of yellow orange across the sky.
The view from this height was really nothing I have ever experienced. Most people will dip right as the sun rises to escape the cold. But stay a little longer and you will have the sunrise all to yourself.
With still plenty of time left in the day, we went down to check out some beaches and pro surfers. One of the most famous beaches in Maui is called Peahi a.k.a. “Jaws” for its monstrous waves that can exceed 60 feet. We did not actually get to go to the beach as it is a pretty hard route to find and has restricted access so most people can only watch from a distance.
Ended the day off with, obviously, another beautiful sunset 🙂