The following blog was written by Kay, a friend of ours who just spent 3 weeks on Maui.
With over 30 miles of hiking trails we felt we picked the most picturesque trail. The vistas were spectacular. Here we could see the Pacific Ocean on one side and the crater on the other. The Halemaumau Trail winds down 1000 feet into the crater.
The barren landscape in the crater illustrates the diversity of Haleakala.. Few plant species establish seedlings in this harsh environment. We did admire the silversword (ahinahina), one of the hardy shrubs growing here.
Andy and I hiked past Holua where there is a cabin with bunks and a wood burning stove. There is also a primitive campsite. We spoke to some backpackers who stayed there the previous night. The stars were incredible, they told us. We continued on past the silversword loop for approximately another mile before turning around.
We saw a family of Nene (Hawaiian goose) near the cabin at Holua. They are a native species here. Inspite of the sign we had to wonder why these wild birds were hanging out around the cabin.
We hiked over 10 miles taking about 5 hours to do so.
Haleakala is one of the best of many hikes I have experienced throughout the world.
Many mahalos to Kay for a great post. You may also like to read Day Trip to Haleakala