Our final task in Maui was to visit the House of the Sun, Haleakala Volcano, the giant shield volcano that forms more than 75% of the island. We had circled part of its base just two days earlier on the Road to Hana. Haleakala rises 10,023 ft above sea level, far above the cloud belt that makes the sunrise at the summit so spectacular.
Despite some intermittent car trouble while climbing its steep slopes, we made it to the cloud belt at 7,000 ft and camped there for the night, in Hosmer Grove campground.
At 3:30am we awoke to the sound of starting car engines. It was time to make the final trek to the 10,023 ft summit. Like everyone else, we were there to watch the sun rise over the cloud belt and the crater’s rim.
After some time shivering in the frigid air, the horizon began to glow, and not long after, the sun began peaking through the dense cloud belt.
Soon, the sun rose above the clouds and lit them in brilliant gold.
Finally, the sky was fully illuminated with the dawn’s rays. These sunrise photos should be viewed larger (by clicking on the photos) to be fully appreciated!
It was all so very awe-inspiring! With the rest of the day (and the rest of our time in Hawaii) we spent a little time exploring the rim of the crater, which is large enough to hold the entire island of Manhattan. The floor of the crater resembles an alien landscape littered with what appear to be more craters, called cinder cones.
The Halemau’u Trail gave us a different more earth-like view of the crater. We found a nice spot to just sit, relax, and watch the clouds roll by. Check out the timelapse video:
Click here to see more of Heleakala and the magnificent sunrise in their fullscreen glory.