The day was still up in the air, but we all agreed on checking out some of the local markets. In Kihei we dropped off my mom and sister while Sox, Sprout and I continued on to a playground for him. Sprout wasn’t that interested in playing by himself, so he sort of clung to mum or dad. It was pretty warm for him, and the playground wasn’t 100% shaded. Some of the structures felt a little warm. Still, he wasn’t interested in anything there.
We packed it in after a half hour or so and headed back to catch up with my mum and sister. Sox and I poked around a bit, then headed up the road another market place. This open air market was great. There were lots of little shops in a small area, and 1/3 of them had some cool trinkets, while the rest were filled with typical touristy clothing.
After getting out fill of shopping, we needed to eat. We were right beside Bada Bing!, an italian restaurant. We popped in for a bite to eat, then I retrieved the van, picked everyone up, then we headed back to the condo for nap time.
My mom and sister were scheduled to do their underwater tour this day, but it was again postponed due to the water conditions. After a quick discussion and a consult of weather conditions, we all agreed that this was the day for Haleakala! Yahoo, volcano time.
Once Sprout was up from his nap, we gathered our snacks, and once again piled into the van (the van was pretty awesome for transporting us around, but I wouldn’t want one for every day driving).
Once past the airport the road took a distinct upwards turn. We past a construction trailer where one end was up on a four foot tall block, while the other end was basically on the ground. It was pretty cool to watch our progress to the top in terms of altitude. Around 5000 feet we hit the lush, green rolling hills used for farmland.
Then we got into the cloud layer. We could see it coming, and I was expecting to find the road completely socked in, but what we found was interesting. We were in the clouds, but it was not right on the road surface. Once we broke through the cloud layer, and were above the clouds, we were in a different land. It was much more rocky and felt very desolate.
We got the the park entrance and paid the fee to get in. Right there we saw some Nene birds. These are rare birds that inhabit higher altitudes. We continued up a ways and stopped at the visitor’s centre which had just closed for the day. I saw a couple more Nene’s, but was unable to get a picture because they were hiding in the shadows.
We kept driving higher and higher, while the road got more and more scary. The landscape got steeper and steeper with the road still doing cray switchbacks. There were also a lot fewer guardrails, and the corners that did have them had tiny rails. I was a little nervous on the drive up, which made me really nervous for the drive down.
We had lots of time, and our guide book mentioned that it was a very good idea to stop at the Leleiwi Lookout. There was a short but easy trail that goes to the lookout. Rounding the final corner we were greeted with a huge crater, and a few small cinder cones in the middle. Wow. Such a foreign and interesting landscape. Like many places I have visited, I could have spent hours photographing the area. It was definitely cool here.
We continued on to the top, and upon exiting the van found that it was windy, very windy. I poked around a bit, took a few pictures, chased Sprout around, and waited for the sun to go down. The sun dove for the horizon quite quickly. I got as many pictures as I could before I froze my butt off. Watching the sun set into the clouds was an amazing experience. The guide book recommended the sunset over the sunrise, and I am so happy we made this trip over the early morning one.
After too short a time we started our trip down. I was driving, and took it very slow, pulling over a few times to let others pass. The drive was a little hairy, but we got down just fine. A quick dinner at McDonalds, and the day was done.