I was sleeping in the van I'd rented on Maui, parked at the 9,700-foot Visitor
Center in Haleakala National Park. I'd bought a cheap $16 sleeping bag and a
few $10 blankets at Walmart on my arrival and was putting them to full use
this night. The 50 degree bag would have been woefully inadequate without the
blankets as the outside temperature dropped to around 30F under a cloudless
night with a howling wind that didn't let up all night.
When I got up in the morning I
cranked the van's heater while I dressed and ate breakfast before hitting the
trail shortly before 8a, two hours earlier than I'd managed the previous day.
I'd been on the island a week now and this was the first
. Such can
be the vagaries of winter in Hawaii. My plan today was to hike down into
Haleakala's crater and tag as many of the named cinder cones as I could manage,
minus those I had visited on two previous occasions. In all I would climb eight
of them over the course of about 16mi with more than 4,600ft of gain.
Afterwards, I had enough time to tag a few easy ones outside the crater,
lower on the mountain's northwest side near the lower Visitor Center.
This is the highest cinder cone in the Haleakala's crater, only a few mile
from the TH. There is a trail that forks off the Sliding Sands Trail to reach
it, but it seems that since I first hiked it in 1991, the Park Service has
removed the trail junction signs and closed the original route though it is
obviously still used. Odd, because the trail still shows on the park brochure.
The closure was probably because of a short but rough
descent just past the junction that may have caused injuries to the unwary.
My not-so-early start meant that there were a handful of
trail when I started down, but by the time I reached the unsigned junction
(I had it marked on the GPSr) there were no others on the Sliding Sands Trail
in front of me. I reached the summit with only about 30ft of prominence by
8:40a. There is a large pyramidal
here and unobstructed views today.
of Kal u'uoka'o'o is Kama'oli'i, a few hundred feet lower
but a much tougher climb, rising 240ft from the saddle via which I climbed it
on its west side. The footing is very poor and I struggled to make progress.
If I went slow my feet would gradually slide backwards whereas a faster pace soon
exhausted me. Ugh. Not all that bad though, as it only took 20min to reach the top
from the first summit.
This is the
and most difficult. The footing is as poor as
Kama'oli'i with nearly twice the elevation gain. Though it was very early in
the day still, I had to rest multiple times on the way up, finding my
breathing unable to keep up with the oxygen needs of my legs. Ugh, Ugh. At
least I'd gotten the two hardest ones out of the way early and could relax
A long name for ,
found about 2.5mi east of Pu'uomaui. Between
them are another half dozen other cinder cones that I had climbed previously
and I was not unhappy to pass them by without going over their tops. I used
a combination of a and to make my way at
a leisurely pace, finding of what looked like an old
weather station and passing by ,
a 65-foot deep vent, fenced by the Park Service to keep
the footing-challenged from falling in. Unlike the first three summits, this
and the ones further east were much older and moderately vegetated with grass
and brush. It was 10:30a when I made my way to
, noting that
clouds were spilling into the crater from .
20min further northeast is ,
another brushy summit of modest stature. I was happy to have use of the
trail since it travels through an area of ,
the sort than looks like frozen sea foam, is horribly sharp and
unstable. There are some ancient
found here, similar to those found
throughout the island. The tediousness of building one of these, stone by stone,
was not lost on me. Paradise had its price back in the day.
On the east side of the summit I found a
, purpose unknown.
Perhaps someone grazed cattle here at one time?
A mile further southeast is the I visited. It was
of the bunch and no slouch with 250ft of prominence. I found a
Hawaiian geese, endemic to the islands and thought to have evolved from
the Canadian geese some 500,000yrs ago. They let me get within about 20ft
before taking off in flight and squawking noisily, annoyed by my intrusion. The
summit featured a typical
that I noted of varying sizes on every
summit I visited. The Paliku Cabin lies another mile
trail, the easternmost point in the crater, but I didn't expend the extra
effort to visit it. Now, if it had a cinder cone...
This cone is most easily climbed from the west where the gradient is easier.
Not knowing this, I climbed it ,
another tedious effort with poor
footing and lots of downsliding. Ugh. It lies just north of the
at the foot of
which I had climbed the previous day. Just to the
left (1mi to the east) of Peak 8,432ft is the VABM summit of Haleakala which
I had given up on the day before. I noted that the south side had mostly
brush-free ridges that could be used to ascend from this side, but today would
not be the day to give this steep 1,000-foot effort a go.
I continued west cross-country for 3/4mi to the
of this tour, a modest
cone that offered no trouble. It gave me an opportunity to do more
travel in the flats of the crater, coming across someone's
appears to be a random location away from the trail. I then returned to the
and climbed it all the way back up to the top
where I'd started.
that had started to spill over the east wall was
advancing behind me about as fast as I could hike, bringing a chill, fine
mist and occasional rainbows.
I had seen no one in the crater all day until I was a few miles from the
TH. There were several parties of backpackers heading into the crater to spend
the night, but unfortunately the views would be lacking for the rest of the day.
Other day visitors were hiking down the trail, few of them properly clothed for
the drop in temperature they would soon encounter, another of life's fine
lessons. By the time I'd returned to the rim shortly before 3p, most of the
crater was .
I still had a few hours of daylight and ignoring
my feet for the time being, headed down the hill for some easy bonuses.
An exceedingly easy summit with a poorly
going most of the way to
the top. This one is located at the
northwest corner of the park on the outer
slopes of Haleakala below the entrance station. There are some
but one has to breach a cattle fence to get
to the highest rounded point with modest brush at the edge of the forest line.
A wall of clouds held off just to the north with some of them escaping across
the landscape before evaporating when they met the drier air to the south. My
day of sun was threatening to end on all sides.
Two miles further down the road to the southwest is another
outside the national park, the land is owned by a cattle concern. The summit
is located on the uphill side of the road, only 1/3mi from where I parked.
There are no fences or signs along the road, but halfway up to the top is a
fence marking the ranch boundary. A
is found on the ridge I
climbed. The slopes have modest brush and fairly tall grass that is not as easy
as it first looks.
blocked what otherwise might be a fine view of
West Maui in that direction. It was after 4:30p by the time I finished up and
my toes were as happy as any part of my body to see me quit. They would need
some air and time to recoup and luckily for them I had a couple of easy days