We awoke early in the morning, partly because we still hadn’t gotten over our jetlag, but also because we were supposed to pick up my mother from the airport. She lives on Oahu, so it was relatively easy for her to get on a plane and visit us for a few days.

We had a nice breakfast of crêpes in Paia –still a little too “surfer bum” of a town for my taste, but it was nice to walk around for a little bit — and headed back up the mountain to our forest home.

Since we didn’t have a prearranged plan for the day (Ray has forbidden me to make any plans on vacation — a difficult prospect for someone like me!), we sat around the house and thought of things to do while my mom is here, and we finally decided on taking a trip to Haleakala crater.

On our way up to Haleakala, we stopped for lunch at Kula Lodge, on recommendation from a friend of mine. Boy, am I glad we did! The restaurant not only has a lovely view of the valley below and beautiful grounds to wander while waiting for your table, but their food is really good, too (it’s pricey, but worth it). I figured it bore mentioning here because it really is a spectacular place to stop on your way to or from the crater.

Haleakala is an extinct volcano, and all that is left of the once fiery passage to the center of the earth is barren rock in a galactic landscape of dunes and craters. To get to the peak at 10,000 feet above sea level, you have to traverse miles and miles of windy roads. Luckily, we were old hats at this kind of driving, after our last adventure, and this time we were doing it during the day.

Also, the road to Haleakala is much wider and better maintained than the one around the north end of the island. Thank goodness.

Still, it was quite a thrill going up and up and up, through the clouds, often with the thought that the road could very well lead us into the sky itself.

The very peak of the mountain was completely overcast; we couldn’t see 20 feet in front of us, much less the view of the crater. Ray and I were a little disappointed, since we wanted to see the sun set from 10,000 feet. But we were satisfied with the many views we got from different lookout points along the way, and with the thought that we still have plenty more days to visit the peak, and certainly we are bound to have a clear day at least once!

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