Haleakala National Park covers a range of five distinctly different climates zones. Whereas nights at Hosmer’s Grove were freezing cold, camping at Kipahulu was more of what we expected of Hawaii: warm and tropical with banyan trees to climb and rocky cliff-lined beaches to explore.
Kipahulu was a rustic and wild place with an open grassy field where it seemed as if anyone could set up a tent or park a car and a single environmental toilet off to the side. The views from camp were incredible and untouched and even more amazing., free.
We parked our Westie under a shady tree and spent the evening hiking along the shore. We never saw anyone else once we left on the short trail from camp to the cliffs. After catching the sunset it started to rain so we huddled in our van and finished off what tropical fruit we still had for dinner. Once the warm evening shower subsided we climbed onto the roof of our campervan with two cans of beer and stargazed, listened to the sound of waves crashing, and enjoyed our million dollar view. There’s no way anyone could convince me that any resort in all of Hawaii came with a better view than the top of our van parked in a free campsite.
The next morning we were the only two at camp to get up early enough to catch the sunrise from our private beach. Sly was pretty cranky at being up so early and annoyed with all my photo taking. Eventually, and as always, we were glad to be up to watch the beginning of another beautiful morning.