There has to be a darn good reason to get up at 3:00 in the morning and drive for two hours. I managed to convince my family that no trip to Maui was complete without driving to the top of Haleakala, the island's highest mountain, to see the sunrise. With coffee and snacks in hand, we were all more or less willing.
Our bible, Maui Revealed, warned us that it would be cold on the volcano, so we packed all the jackets and sweaters we had, in addition to wearing pants and socks. Unfortunately, we poor Alaskan souls were ill prepared for the reality of howling winds on a mountain top. After all, I don't travel to Hawaii prepared for cold weather. The base temperature (upper 40s) wasn't too bad, but 20-30 mph winds added a significant wind chill. (We were just having a conversation trying to collectively guesstimate how hard the wind was blowing. Thane said 20-25, Carol 30-40. All I know is that it was blowing hard enough to buffet me about a bit as I was trying to take pictures.) Sunrise was at 6:54. As advised, we arrived over an hour early to make sure we got a parking spot. That was a long time to stand out on an exposed mountain top. By the time I declared myself done, my toes were completely numb and my fingers were so cold I couldn't feel the button I needed to push on my camera.
Near frostbite and hypothermia were worth it. I took nearly 80 photos. Here are just a few to try to show you the amazing show to which we were treated. These are in the order I took them over the course of an hour or so.
Just for fun, here's a few photos of us and some of the other lunatics up there freezing their gonads off. That's a space observatory behind me in the one photo. Unfortunately, we didn't get to explore it.
The rest of the day was nothing in comparison to the early morning: breakfast and shopping in Makawao and napping on the beach in Kihei. In case you're wondering, I'd definitely go for the sunrise again, but I'd be much better prepared next time. I hope we'll get back up there at a more reasonable hour to do a little hiking before we leave next week. (Sob...the end is coming too soon....)