Top of the World Haleakala Style

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The Haleakala crater looks like what I would imagine Mars looks like.

Haleakala, “House of the Sun.”  This must have been an impressive volcano when active (which I believe was like 400 years ago.)  It is ten thousand feet straight up from sea level (about 3000 meters.)  The huge crater is about 7 miles (11 km) across, 2 miles (3 km) wide and drops about 2,500 feet (800 m) from the rim.  On my several trips to Hawaii, I’ve been up to Haleakala three times and twice I’ve hiked down into the crater.


It is like hiking onto the moon…or maybe more appropriately onto the surface of Mars.  The pictures can’t show you the dominating vibrant reds, complimented by greens, yellows and sparkly black bits of lava.

Me and my shadow!
  It is actually quite surreal.  At the top, it is cold and the hike down in is pretty easy.  It’s downhill after all.  Once you get down a thousand feet, it’s back up to very warm.


The first time I hiked the crater, I did it with my brother.  I’m about six foot tall, 175 lbs…my brother 6’3” and probably 235 lbs at the time (he’s a whopping 275 these days!)  Needless to say, he’s not particularly built for hiking.  We hiked well into the crater, down to a cabin at the floor of the crater for lunch, shot a few pictures of Nene’s running around and headed back.  He almost died on the ascent.  I had to hike up to the car ahead, retrieve some extra Gatorade and return back down a couple miles and pace him back up.  He subsequently lost at least one of his big toenails, maybe both…can’t remember precisely.


THIS time, the friend that was with me was also a fairly big guy.  I made sure we didn’t go as far because I forget what a hiking machine I can be.  Every quarter mile or so after a point I kept asking him how he was doing.  When we finally turned back, he did make it up, but was definitely dragging his tail by the time we made it back to the rim.  We maybe did 3 miles round trip.  Nothing to it, but he was glad I convinced him not to hike down as far as my brother and I had which was his original intent…more than double the distance.

lululalu says:
Wow, I would have loved to hike down to the crater! I got so nauseous by the time we drove up. We didnt even attempt the road to Hana the next day :P
Posted on: Mar 05, 2009
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The Haleakala crater looks like wh…
The Haleakala crater looks like w…
Me and my shadow!
Me and my shadow!
A Haleakala Silversword.
A Haleakala Silversword.
Hiking down into Haleakala crater.
Hiking down into Haleakala crater.
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photo by: danielrice20