17.09.2010 - 17.09.2010 25 °C
Yet another morning preparing for a full day of trekking. The Halemau'u Trailhead starts at 7990 feet and descends around 1000 ft to the Haleakala Crater floor within the first couple miles. We pack everything from sweaters to rain gear for the day trek, since the blazing sun can quickly give way to ominous storm clouds. We reach the Silversword Loop after about 4 miles. The Silversword is a threatened plant that thrives here. It is only found three places on earth, here on Haleakala, on Mauna Kea (Big Island) and Mauan Loa (Big Island). The Silverswords have a very shallow root system to catch moisture in the loose cinder and one long tap root to anchor the plant in high winds.
We continue on and take the trail that leads us through the harsh environment of vast lava fields and around the 'Halali'i cinder cone. We trudge though dusty cinder, wind blowing it in all directions and turning our legs red. You can see for miles across the crater and we see almost noone on the trails. But we did cross paths with Jack and Lisette from Edmonton again. (We met them our first day on Maui in Olawalu). We pass by many beautiful Amau Ferns, some of which have bright red leaves. This color indicates the youngest leaves on the plant, and they slowely turn green with age. The climb back out of the crater is exhausting, Julie looks back down into the crater from the top and can't believe how far we made it.
A side note about Haleakala:
Haleakala really doesn`t have a crater like Mt. St. Helens does. The top of Haleakala eroded over thousands of years as the ice cap melted leaving a "crater" behind. The melting ice cap created streams, which are now dry river and creek beds. After the ice cap melted and formed the “crater”, many more smaller eruptions formed the cinder cones dotting the inside and outside of the huge volcano. Total trudge 14 miles today.