16.09.2010 - 16.09.2010 28 °C
We are awoken at 4:50am by our alarm, kindly reminding us to get our butts up to Kalahaku overlook (9324 ft) for the spectacular event that happens every morning. On go all of our warm clothes (even toques and mitts) since the winds are howling at the top of Haleakala. At the overlook, the horizon slowly brightens across the crater as Julie sets up the camera gear. The sight and feel of the morning sun is wonderful, impossible to capture digitally, but Julie does a tremendous job.
After a quick breakfast, we meet up with Keith, our guide for an interpretive hike through the Waikomoi Cloud Forest. The area had been planted with non-native tree species, but they are slowly dying off and the land is transforming back to strictly native fauna. We brush our boots off to remove any unwanted seeds and enter through a gate into the fenced area that keeps pigs and goats out. The hike is a slow one, with our binoculars in hand, we scan the tops of trees for rare native honeycreeper birds on the hunt for nectar. Keith provides us with an immense amount of interesting info on the native plants here. After the hike, we head back to the campground for lunch.
The afternoon slips quickly away chatting and planning our next ocean hop, The Big Island (Hawaii). We decided to race up to the Pu'u'ula'ula Summit (10 023 ft) for the sun's grand finally. Again, the wind blasts at our backs, so we seek shelter over a small ridge. The sight is surely a surreal one as the sun slips through the dense cloud layer. It really feels like another world to us. The brilliant colors in the sky slowly dim and we realize that it was first time we took in a sunrise and sunset in one day! Very far out.