I had planned to share this post on Easter Sunday, because I just felt it fitting (you'll see why in a minute). But well, life happened and I was having too much fun with family. :) So today will do.
I want to share our magical morning atop Mount Haleakala Volcano on Maui, Hawaii. We woke up super early (like 1:30 am early!) on our first full day on Maui (my idea was to help with the jet lag...it semi-worked) to make the long drive to the summit of Haleakala, which means House of the Sun, to watch the sun come up. We booked a tour for this venture via Viator, and we were so glad we did! The drive was a bit treacherous being that it was SO windy and steep, so it was great to have someone else do the driving. We were in a small group of 6, and had a great tour guide named Scott. He gave us a wealth of information and answered all of my questions.
On our way up, Scott gave us some background info on the volcano, which last erupted 400-600 years ago. That doesn't sound like a long time ago in volcano years! 8-] So I prayed the whole time. Ha! Anyway, we got to the summit 10,023 feet above sea level very, very early. Our guide wanted to make sure we had a prime, front row spot, and he did not disappoint. Leaving a little bit early than necessary was completely worth it to get such a great, unobstructed views. While we waited for the sun to appear, we bundled up, yes bundled up in Hawaii, to protect ourselves from the 40 degree temperatures and 30 mph winds! HOLY COLD! I think the cold I felt was far worse than the cold, snowy December I spent in New York City the year before. But again, worth it! We stargazed, catching glimpses of Saturn, Jupiter, the Big Dipper, and a massive lunar halo. The stars alone we magic. But around 5:40 am is when the magic began to happen. This is the part of why I wanted to share it on Easter, I feel like it was SO close to Heaven! We were literally above the clouds, and watched THE most incredible sunrise I'd ever seen.
The sun fully rose about 6:20, and watching every step was magical! Once the sun came up (there are no lights at this spot of the summit), we could see just how many people were there! There were 200-300 people there to catch this phenomenon above the clouds. After the sunrise, we went up another few feet to check out the visitor center. Here we saw silversword plants--that ONLY grow on this very spot, like in the world! That was something very cool to see and know only people who make this journey every see these plants. They live 3-50 years, and only bloom once in their lifetime. Incredible!
After warming up with some hot cocoa, we began our journey back down the volcano. Our drive took us through upcountry, which is packed with trees: pine, blue gum eucalyptus (smelled amazing!), macadamia nut, and kukui nut. Our tour included a stop in Kula for breakfast and shopping. We spent an hour or so here, and saw a ton! Our breakfast was at Kula Lodge, a sweet little spot with a fire place (yes, it was needed), hot cocoa, and lush gardens in the back. There were what seemed like thousands of plants thriving there: figs, bananas, avocados, roses, succulents, and so, so much more.
Around the restaurant were a few shops we enjoyed. We picked up a flower bouquet, courtesy of the tour, at a flower shop called Proteas of Hawaii. They ship all over the world! In fact, Lovely sent me flowers from there on our anniversary last year--dreamy! We also picked up our first souvenirs from Maui at a little shop that sold goods from local crafters My kind of people! Outside the restaurant and shops I noticed a HUGE, TALL patch of poinsettias growing. Who knew this Christmas plant was tropical! AND that they grew so tall! Notice the electrical line in the photo in comparison to the height. Amazing!
An amazing rainbow topped off our trip down the volcano. The Haleakala Sunrise Tour was the perfect way to spend a Sunday morning. The view was so magical you could hardly tell where the earth & Heavens met. A view & experience I will never forget! That is what discovering this world is all about. :) Thank you for spending this sunrise with me. Aloha!