Haleakala

March 21, 2008  •  Leave a Comment
After waiting for two weeks to head up to the "crater" on Haleakala, we decided to follow Bob's and Gloria's advice and trust that you drove through the clouds out into the bright sunshine above them. So yesterday after some swimming and sunning at the pool we headed out and up. As predicted, the temperature dropped from 80 degrees at Shores of Maui to 54 degrees at the rim of the valley-crater. We drove through dense fog on the way up the mountain and kept promising ourselves that if it didn't improve in a little bit we would turn around. It did improve and although we didn't see the whole crater by any stretch of the imagination, what we saw was amazing. And as with the Road to Hana - the trip was part of the fun.

On the way back home we stopped and bought a Protea bouquet which I hope to take back to Illinois with us on Tuesday. We saw Protea growing on the mountain side along with a field of Lavender and the most gorgeous trees and vines. We also saw lots of Silversword growing up on top and John got one cooperative chukar to pose in front of a Silversword for a portrait. unfortunately we didn't see any Nene which is too bad because John and I are both big fans of geese.

The moon was full this week and John has been up early two mornings trying to capture the moon as it sets over the ocean to the west. This is not as easy as it might sound since there is such a huge light difference between the moon and the night sky and ocean.

I went snorkeling again this morning for a little while and was brave enough to go out further. Have loved seeing all of the brilliant colored fishes but do not have anything exotic to report. I did see a turtle the other night while John was shooting a sunset photo and I was standing on the beach. I kept seeing this head pop up out of the surf, fairly close to shore. At first I thought it must just be a piece of drift wood or something being tossed around in the surf and then it popped up, looked around, and disappeared when the sea was calm.

I'm not sure which day it was that we went to see the Iao Needle, maybe on Wednesday. The gorges of Hawaii are incredibly beautiful with deeply carved water channels cutting through the cliffs. We could clearly see water channels for waterfalls up on the mountains, but again, no water.

On the way up to the needle we stopped at this little county park next to the nature center. I believe it is called the Maui Heritage Park. There are several distinct areas dedicated to all of the different groups that settled in Hawaii - Polynesians, Japanese, Chinese, Koreans, Portuguese, and New England missionaries and traders. Each group is represented by a small building and garden that represents their cultural contributions. There were several banyan trees, formal Japanese gardens and water features, and the ubiquitous rooster, although this one wasn't wild. Someone had tied him by the leg to keep him near the Portuguese exhibit.

On the way back from the Needle (by the way, we really liked the Iao Needle but the sky was very overcast so there aren't any great images of it) we stopped at the Bailey Museum which was something that I really wanted to do. This is the only remaining building of a girls' boarding school founded by missionaries. It was filled with artifacts of Hawaii previous to contact with the outside world and with the artifacts of the mission years. Here the woman running the gift shop gave me a Plumeria flower to pin in my hair - she gave me the hairpin, too - and the young woman who staffed the ticket table advised me how a married woman should wear it.

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