The second morning of our stay in Hawaii, we were picked up at 2:15am and driven up to the top of Haleakala to watch the sunrise. Haleakala is the largest dormant (inactive) volcano in the world and draws 400 to 600 visitors each morning. One of the biggest tourist activities on Maui is to go up and watch this sunrise, then take a guided bike tour down. So, that’s what we did!
On our way up, our guide told us so many cool facts about Haleakala and its history. We went with Maui Bike Tours and I absolutely recommend them – to be honest, this bike ride was scarier for me than I expected. Granted, I hadn’t been on a bike in a few years. But, you go down some majorly curvy roads and have to be cautious of traffic on the other side. We really felt looked after by our guides and it was clear they wanted everyone to have fun while keeping us safe.
Now, back to that sunrise! I had no idea Haleakala had so many visitors per day and it was neat to see so many different people from all over. While we waited for the sun to come up, we stood huddled next to a couple on their honeymoon. The poor girl had brought a towel from their hotel room to stay warm! It was about 40 degrees with a windchill of godknowswhat.
We were above the clouds, which was just incredible. I sort of have this obsession with hills and mountains. I don’t even know how to explain it, but I love when they stretch so high that they’re literally up in the sky. Being so close to clouds is amazing to me. Something really cool we learned about Haleakala was that it’s so massive, it actually casts its own shadow for a few minutes each morning (not pictured, though I wish it were!).
Steve had the smart idea of bringing warm hats, and I’m so glad we did! Gawd, gotta keep those ears safe from the bone-chilling wind. I’m pretty sure our eyeballs were frozen in the photo above.
After the sunrise, we hopped back in the vans and were taken to the bikes just a little ways down. The bike ride itself is 38.2 miles from top to bottom. Since it’s basically all downhill, you’d think it’d be easy. Not so much. We were pretty wiped out by the end, but felt so accomplished! Also, the views were amazing.
Once we made our way down the mountain a bit, we pulled over to take some pictures. I’m talking real cheesy tourist pictures – it was fun, though! I love them in all their cheesiness. Pictured below is my father-in-law Chuck, husband Steve, myself, my nephew Ben and sister-in-law Katie.
And finally! We made it to the very bottom. Once we got off our bikes, our guide told us to turn around and let us know that THAT mountain behind us is the one we had biked down nearly 40 miles. I let out a “Whoa!” because I was truly surprised I could even do such a thing. Ha! Such a great experience.