a rare and fragile species of silversword grows exclusively on Haleakala’s slopes
I kept hoping to see a Nene but no luck.
The title of this post is a bit deceiving — we didn’t actually go on a real hike while at Haleakala. We were tired and had been on the go since arriving in Oahu so it was nice to take it easy after such an early morning. I hiked a crater once before (and more than my share of hikes down into the Grand Canyon) to know that what goes down has to come back up…in the blazing hot sun. Another activity that looked really fun was riding a bike from the top of the mountain back down to the base through a bike guide company, but then, once we got down, we’d have to get back up to our camper.
We were perfectly content to take it all in from the top.
The summit of the tallest peak in Haleakala is over 10,000 feet and while we were definitely above the cloud line for some reason it didn’t *feel* like we were that high up? Maybe it had something to do with driving that distance instead of our usual mode of hiking where every single gain in elevation seems like a major achievement. From this point we could see the coastline of Maui on one side, and a massive crater depression made up of volcanic cones on the other. See those little spidery trails on that Martian landscape? Those were the hiking trails. One of the trails led to some sweet looking wilderness cabins and campsites, and I guess for the truly ambitious, one *could* hike all the way back to Hosmer’s Grove. We really wanted to camp in one of those cabins but since we had our campervan, and none of those sites were drive-in, it didn’t make much sense. So we stayed up top and peered out over the moon-like terrain, as if we were visitors on another planet.