As we were driving to "the Crater" we were looking out the car window and saying, we are on our way to the top of that mountain. It doesn't look 10,000 feet higher than sea level... but in about an hour from here we will be standing on the top of Haleakala.
When we turned onto Hwy 377 we went past several fields of sugar cane growing.
In the distance we could see the huge chimney's of an old sugar cane refinery.
We were climbing on a super wide new paved highway... and on the horizon was Haleakala with its crater..
There were seven of us in a Dodge Durango... having a good time in anticipation of the adventure.
About half way up the mountain we came upon the entrance to Haleakala National Park... and because today was Martin Luther Day a sign on the gate said for today only, the park entrance was free.
As we continued to climb our view back down shows the park entrance and the first Visitor Centre.
There were several view point pull outs along the road, but we drove past most of them. This rock wall was built in the late 1800's and goes for several miles... part of an old ranch.
Another angle on the rock wall with the Visitor Centre in the background just left of centre.
View of the valley below.
It was a treat to find this yellow blossom this high up the mountain.
We had a lot of discussion about the snow capped mountain in the background... was it a mountain or a white fluffy cloud? Maybe it was Whistler?
The Haleakala Observatory is off limits to visitors most of the time... but it is one of best locations on earth for telescopes.
Because of remarkable clarity, dryness, and stillness of the air, 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.
The basin inside the crater is 7.5 miles long and 2.5 miles wide and 3,000 feet deep.
There are several cones inside the crater, each with it's own little crater on top where eruptions once occurred.
It was a short hike to the top of White Hill.
At the top we all took photos of each other. This is our oldest and only grandson Seth, 19, freshman at Pacific Lutheran College.
Maizy is 15 and in ninth grade.
Seth, Shirley, Maizy and son Shelby.
Mona Kea to the left on the horizon is on the Big Island of Hawaii... about a hundred miles from Maui. Shelby and Maizy doing a selfie.
Shirley and I doing a selfie.
From the top we could see the trails around the crater... Oh how I would love to go on that hike... but it was not in the cards for today.
It was fun exploring along the rim of the crater.
What a great spot for creative photo ops. Thank you, Maizy!
Seth went out close to the edge... as the clouds began to move in closer to the top.
It was not the right time of the year for the Silversword... so this photo of the plaque tells the story.
This old Silversword has last years seed pods still hanging on.
Time did not allow me to set up for a time lapse of the clouds moving into the crater, but in the 90 minutes we spent on the top it was apparent that clouds were moving in.
I stopped at the lower trail head on the way down to shoot this signboard of the Halemau'u Trail.
I walked up the trail only a short distance to catch the distances on this signboard...
Frequently we saw this sign along the road in this park... and I was hoping that we might just once see one of these birds, which are apparently similar to our Canadian Goose... but obviously not as plentiful here.
Curious about the bird, I found this photo on the internet of the Nene... but don't know who to thank.
"To explore this crater makes one feel a little like the astronauts must have felt when they landed on the moon... it is totally different than the rest of the earth we know."