Leaving the Banyan tree behind we started for Paia. But sitting at a stop light we saw a sign for Haleakala National Park. You guessed it…diversion #2. It was about 10:30 am by now and we thought it would be a just a quick side trip. After all, we weren’t going at sunrise or sunset, the 2 most popular times to visit.
The airport shuttle driver in Albany had told us that we should make the drive because we could see the whole island from the summit and it would be worth it. As we entered the park a sign warned that there was no gas available in the park. I looked at our gas gauge. It was 1/2 full so I figured that should be enough. The sign also said it was 22 miles.
Haleakala, aka “House of the Sun”, is a dormant volcano that is famous for its sunrise and the people that take the bike tour to see it. They take a van to the summit and after they watch the sunrise they bike down the mountain.
The operative word here being “down”. They really fly! All along the road were warning signs to watch for bikers. There were a few hard core bikers that were going up. I guess there are always going to be a few people that have to do it the hard way!
We made it to the first check point with no problem. Sandy had a National Park Pass so we only had to stop at the gate to pick up our brochure and show the pass. The entrance fee without the pass is $20.00 per vehicle in 2016. The price is scheduled to go up in 2017 to $25.00.
2nd stop was at the first visitor center.
Here we made a rest stop and chatted with the rangers. We learned that the park is home to the Nene, the Hawaiian Goose and state bird. There is a pair that lives near the station but they only come out when it rains to play in the puddles. We didn’t see a Nene but we did see some little birds that seemed to be hunkered down.
Still we were cautioned to drive slowly. We wouldn’t want to be responsible for the loss of a goose when it’s so endangered.
Gas check…It looks like we’ve used almost 1/4 of our gas. All this uphill driving must be taking a toll.