Monday, January 30, 2012

Hiking the Crater in Haleakala National Park, Maui, Hawaii

The following blog was written by Kay, a friend of ours who just spent 3 weeks on Maui. 

There are two trails entering the wilderness area of Haleakala National Park from the summit area. My brother, Andy, and I chose the lower trail, Halemaumau, which begins at 7990 feet. We set out just before 9:00 AM on Sunday January 22. It was 60 degrees. The cool air felt refreshing and perfect for hiking.

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.

The family of Nene included a baby, hidden here in the grasses.

Just after this signpost we began our hike back up to the trailhead. We gained a little over 1000 feet to the parking lot at the trailhead. Near the end I was feeling the altitude change. I was glad that we decided to return the way we came rather than exiting via the Sliding Sands Trail. Andy had hiked there on a previous visit. Apparently it is tough slogging through the sand, not to mention another elevation gain to 9740 feet!

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


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  2. Kay, the photos are beautiful! Thanks for sharing.

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