13 November 2010

Sunrise at Haleakala

Day 3- November 11th, 2010

Today we got up at the wonderful time of 3:30am in order to get to the top of Mount Haleakala before sunrise. It is about a 2 hour drive to the top of the 10,000 foot summit where the sunrises have a “legendary” status- it is on the list of things one MUST do when in Maui. Will was a bit skeptical about getting up so early but I think he has changed his mind now.

We were out the door and ready to go at 4:09am. I wasn’t sure exactly how long the drive would take but we ended up at the summit right around 5:50am which was perfect. The sky was already starting to lighten up and the colors were fantastic. The temperature at the summit is typically between 30 and 40 degrees so we were dressed appropriately. It would be just like at home! HA! There was a lady working up there who told us the actual temperature was 47 degrees- not too bad at all. The sunrise was set for 6:26am so we took some photos and wandered around a bit. It was far more crowded than I had imagined.

It was absolutely breathtaking to watch the sunrise in such an amazing place. Words will not do justice to what we saw so I will just post some pictures. Niko summed it up the best. After the sunrise he looked at us and said “The sun came up. It’s like magic!” Yes, it was just that- magical. I would recommend this experience to anyone who goes to Maui. I would trade a couple of hours of sleep to see this anytime.

Next on our agenda was checking out a few of the local places near Haleakala and in the area referred to as upcountry. Our first stop after we got down the mountain was Alii Kula Lavendar farm. However, it didn’t occur to us how early it still was so it was still closed when we got there at 7:45am! We decided to hit it up on our way back through and headed east towards Tedschi Winery. We were hungry at that point so we stopped down the road in the tiny town of Keokea. There were exactly 5 things there as far as I could tell. A small park where there were public restrooms, a tiny gas station, a small food mart that didn’t accept anything other than cash, a hospital and a coffee shop. We went into the food mart and got Niko some crackers and a soda (his belly was upset) then went for a small walk. I think he was a bit carsick from the early morning and steep windy roads. When he seemed to be feeling back to normal we headed into Grandma’s Coffee House for breakfast.

I wasn’t expecting much from the coffee shop. How great could it be? I figured the coffee would be stale and the breakfast would be greasy. Boy was I wrong! What we stumbled on was a gem in the middle of nowhere. The coffee was fantastic- the family has been growing, hand picking and roasting their own beans locally since the 1918. The beans are grown organically on the slopes of Haleakala around 3500 feet elevation.  They also make all of their pastries in house and the food was fresh and made to order. But that wasn’t all- it was BUSY in there. I felt like I was at home in a local Starbucks. Everyone knew each other and it was clearly the local hangout. The atmosphere was wonderful- there were tables of friends, bicycle riders and the typical older crowd enjoying retirement. What a great find!  Check this place out if you ever are in Maui! 

This was a long day! 
To be continued...

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