Sunday, December 18, 2016

Hawaii 2016 - Day 3 (12/5/2016) - Haleakalā

I was a bit lazier this morning, with the first order of business being a stroll along Kahekili Beach.  After cleaning up back in the room I drove to Whaler's Village to find some cheap lunch (pizza) in the food court.  Next, I drove up the northwest coast to Nakalele Blowhole, arriving around 1:30pm.  I hiked down to the blowhole, snapped a few pics, and then returned to the car.  I worked up quite a sweat on the way back up, even though it wasn't very strenuous (I'm finding that I sweat even more as I advance in years, and I've always been a sweaty person).

My next destination was the peak of Haleakalā, the dormant shield volcano that makes up the eastern part of the island.  I continued along route 340 on the northwest coast to get back to Kahului.  That road was well paved, but was winding and a single lane for long stretches (I continuously worried how I would get by if another car approached from the opposite direction).  The going was pretty easy after the approach to Kahului, though, as even the Haleakalā Highway is two-way and well paved all the way up the mountain (except for maybe 1 or 2 bridge crossings while on the mountain).  The National Park Service describes the summit as remote (since the nearest emergency help is probably 45 minutes away), but it is quite easy to get to and at no point did I seriously fear for my safety.

The drive up was interesting, with cattle often visible along the road on the lower half.  The road went up through the clouds, and then things cleared up as I approached the National Park entrance.  It remained clear until a couple miles from the summit, at which point it began to drizzle, but with strong winds that made it feel like a more substantial rain.  I parked at the Summit Building parking lot at 4:15pm (where it was 46 degrees Fahrenheit), made a quick jaunt up the stairs to check out the summit building, then left to check out the lookouts a little lower on the road.  I was lucky to catch a nice sunset (~5:45pm) just below the clouds on the way down the mountain.

After that I headed back to Kahului to grab dinner at Max's Restaurant before returning to the hotel.

Pictures can be found here:

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