As we left the first Visitor Center I was getting concerned about the gas situation. I could not see how we had used so much gas but I didn’t want to get stranded so I told Sandy we might not get to the summit this trip.
The road up the mountain was very winding. Cue music to “the Long and Winding Road”.
Soon we were passing through fog and clouds and the air was becoming cooler.
We started to see elevation signs. I was having a blast maneuvering around the hair pin turns but Sandy wasn’t enjoying it quite as much. She had a pretty tight grip on the seat and didn’t seem to be looking out at the passing views much. I only caught glimpses but what I saw was pretty spectacular.
Suddenly we were above the clouds. The sky was blue and we could see the 2nd Visitor Center ahead. As we pulled into the parking lot the gas gauge hovered around the 1/4 mark. Even though we could see the summit from the lot, I was just afraid to go any further. It made me think of a scuba dive. When you have used 1/2 of your air you turn around. You don’t push it so that’s what we decided to do but first we wanted to take some pictures.
I started looking out over the side of the mountain. Impressive but it didn’t really get me excited. It looked like it might be a little higher if we walked from the parking lot up to the Visitor Center, elevation 9,740 ft! I’m so glad we did. We would have missed the best vista if we’d stayed in the parking lot!
That’s when the strange and amazing landscape revealed itself. I found myself looking down into the remains of the crater which was sprinkled with cinder cones! This area is known as the Sliding Sands and it is beautiful in an alien sort of way.
I could have stayed right there admiring the view but others wanted even more and followed a trail from the parking lot heading for the summit.
Although we did not get to the summit this time. (We plan to return with a full tank of gas) We could see the Observatory complex on the summit.
Because of the remarkable clarity, dryness, and stillness of the air, and its location above one-third of Earth’s atmosphere, as well as the limited light pollution, the summit of Haleakala is one of the most sought-after locations in the world for ground-based telescopes. As a result of the geographic importance of this observational platform, experts come from all over the world to take part in research at “Haleakala Observatory”.
Next time we’ll definitely make it to the top!