Yesterday evening we went to Haleakala for sunset.
It is the largest mountain in the world. It is even larger than Mt Everest because it continues down under the sea. We were at 10000 feet. There is an observatory up there.
As we drove up we travelled through different ecosystems, leaving behind tropical palms and luscious vegetation, passing through green fields and farmlands and vegetation that looked for all the world like we were in rural england, then though sparce semi alpine vegetation, until the very top – which is just rocks. And some funny little white porcupine plants.
There were alot of people up there and the sunset did not disappoint – in fact – some locals told us that in 26 years they had never seen such beautiful clear weather up there and such a noticeable absence of chilly wind.
Having said that nothing could have prepared us for how freezing it was. But SO spectacular – and so amazing to be up there.
The Hawaiians call it the world above the clouds. You cannot really see the tip of the mountain from below, because it is covered with cloud. The road takes you up through the clouds, until you are above the clouds.
Then you keep going and going and winding further and further up until you are REALLY above the clouds, so high that you feel like you are on a plane as all you can see are all the cloud formations far below.
The sunset was MAGIC. A very poignant experience being in this freezing martian-like desert-scape watching a flaming fire show in the sky.
In Hawaiian legend, their ancient hero/chief, whose name was “Maui’”, thought that the sun was not spending enough time in Hawaii so he captured the sun and anchored it to the top of Haleakala – imprisoning it there until it promised to spend more time in Hawaii on its daily travels. Since then the place has been known as Haleakala, which means ‘the seat of the sun’ – and what a place to watch a sunset.
Here are some photos to give a sense of it.
22 February, 2014 – Haleakala, Maui, Hawaii