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Report 1896: Two Travellers on Maui, January 25 - Feb 5, 2011

By Doug Phillips from Canada, Winter 2011

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Page 3 of 14: Haleakala Sunrise - Wednesday, January 26

photo by Melissa Black

Sunrise at the top of Haleakala crater

We had a good sleep and were wide awake at 4:30am, in time for a drive with Michael and Melissa of almost two hours over to Haleakala National Park to watch the sunrise from the top of the volcanic crater. When we reached the entrance to the park, still 11 miles from our destination, Michael realized that he didn't have enough gas to make it to the top and back. Ah well, I thought, something to do another day, but Michael wasn't giving up. He and Melissa flagged down some cars on the way to the top to see if they could give us a lift. Within a few minutes we met a young couple from Santa Cruz, CA, playing "hooky" from work for five days, sharing the rear seat of their car with Melissa as Michael drove back down to fill up with gas.

I had heard that it was cold at the top of the crater. When we got out of the car at the parking area, I thought, "Hey, this isn't so bad, a bit like a cool day in November." But the parking area is only the end of the road, not the end of the journey. There is five-minute walk along a steep, winding, narrow path up an outcropping to the right of the parking area that leads to the top rim of the crater - 10,023 feet high - the highest we have ever been outside of an airplane. It was VERY cool and windy from that vantage point. The air was also noticeably thin, making breathing a bit of an effort. Liz had meant to leave her woolen mittens in our car back in Toronto, but she forgot and brought them along. She wore them this morning on Maui.

About 200 people from all over were there, including a couple from Saskatoon. The experience was well worth the effort as the views were spectacular.

Michael arrived as we were getting ready to leave, and drove us over to Kuna to Grandma's Coffee House, his choice for "best breakfast" in that part of Maui. It was indeed a treat as we joined some cyclists and locals in a small seating area for a very good breakfast. Oh, by the way, the restroom is across the road about 100 yards away. We are in the area known as "Upcountry"; the vibe is even more relaxed than in the rest of the island.

After breakfast, we drove back over to Lahaina/Ka'anapali area for a relaxing afternoon. We spent some time in the town of Lahaina, the most distinctive community on Maui. It has been around for a long time as a seaport - with roots in Hawaiian, whaling and missionary history. Today, it is the tourist centre of the island with an active commercial and restaurant stretch along Front Street and a busy harbour area with cruise ships sitting offshore several days a week. But the town retains much of its charm along with some of its historical past.

Next: A Driving Tour

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