Idle Thoughts

Maui - the Roads to Hana & Haleakala

At dawn I headed for .....
19/03/2010
~

At dawn I headed for the Road to Hana, one of those World scenic routes, where breathtaking views, lush rain forest, stunning waterfalls and much more are on view. I certainly saw rainforest in its element – rain! It wasn't the torrential nature of it, the zero visibility in the cloud, the brown waterfalls onto the road, the flooded bridges or the streams that were raging torrents that made me turn back just over half way, it was the landslide in the middle of the very narrow twisty road – 36 miles of it! I could have scraped by, but there is only one way in and one way out!

As I motored back, the convoys of other clueless souls, many entombed in black-windowed mini-coaches – heaven knows what they could see apart from the huge cost of a watery experience – were beginning to head in the wrong direction. I wonder what their day held?

Albeit with a damp start, mine was fine. Back to Pa'ia for eggs, bacon, hash-browns and coffee, and then back to the West coast where the sun shines and temperatures are in the 80s! Stopped and hiked the 1600ft up to the summit of the Lahaina-Pali Trail – fabulous views, and got caught in a traffic jam on the way back because of a pod of 6 or so whales going up the coast about 100 metres out, quite something!

Haleakala. The ‘in’ thing to do as a tourist in Maui is to see dawn from the 10,000ft summit of the volcano Haleakala South-East of Lahaina. Well you can stuff that for a game of soldiers! By the time you have factored in the drive from Lahaina to the National Park, the 90 minute drive amidst the queued traffic to the summit – a stomach-churning series of twists and turns – and the scrabble to find your spot, you are talking about a ridiculously early start. Not only that, good days are few and far between, imagine spending the last hour in thick cloud and a temperature not far from zero! No, early starts are fine if you like practice bleeding, but stupid by my reckoning!

The first day I thought of attempting Haleakala was the day I took the road to Hana, it had been an alternative, but as the volcano wasn’t there when I motored past the end of the Haleakala Highway I motored on to my watery fate. The following day saw me off at dawn again, largely because I could see that there was visibility across the bay, and off I went to the top of Haleakala. Even with no queues, the prophesied journey time was not far out and, pausing only to buy a fleecy at the Park Shop half-way up – I’m not at my best at that hour of the day and forgot my thermals – I reached the summit to see lots of sunshine, swirling clouds and views. Not many people either, all the dawn folk had gone and the day shift was barely risen from its bed. However, one must never forget the dry adiabatic lapse rate of 2ºC/1000ft nor the oxygen dissociation curve – it was bloody cold with thin air. The views are dramatic, but don’t be fooled, it isn’t a crater at all, it’s an eroded valley!
Idle Thoughts > Maui - the Roads to Hana & Haleakala