Haleakalā

I didn’t really imagine that I’d experience 20-30 degree windchills in Hawai’i, but I almost lost some extremities this morning.

The house managed to wake up at 2am to do the famous Haleakala volcano bike tour. A van brought us up to the summit by five in the morning or so, where we watched the sun rise and froze our respective bits off.

Despite the freeze, the view was spectacular. The summit is close to 10,000 feet, so vegetation is sparse, the landscape martian. The volcano is home to rare species such as the Haleakalā Silversword Plant, and Reagan-era Star Wars telescopes and lasers.

After being lent hazmat-esque windbreaker outfits, and given obligatory safety information, we started our 38-mile, winding ride down to the ocean. Along the way we periodically shed layers as we passed through several climates — from the deserted, freezing summit; descending into more temperate zones where there is actual vegetation and wildlife; through humid cloud cover into moist farmland, past cows and eucalyptus; down along Baldwin Road through Upcountry, past movie star residences; through paniolo towns (Maui reportedly had cowboys before Texas did!) and hippie towns; past burnt-down and harvested cane plantations and pineapple fields; down to the coastal town of Paia, where our journey ended.

Exhausted, we were bussed back to our neck of the woods in Kihei. Surpsingly, we rallied and spent the rest of the day at the beach. Not a bad way to end the day. Time for dinner.

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