Haleakala Sunrise

Haleakala Sunrise

Magnificent colors and drama atop Maui’s most spectacular volcano.

I took this picture at about 6:30 am, on the first morning of a week-long vacation to Maui in March, 2013. Between the early hour and the elevation at 10,000 feet above sea level, the temperature was MUCH lower than you’d ever think Hawaiian island temps could reach. In fact, as we drove towards the summit, the tour operator advised that the temperature drops 3 degrees for each 1000 feet of elevation, making it 30 degrees colder at the top than the bottom, which for us meant about 35-40 degrees. Luckily, I had a nice new light but warm-enough North Face jacket purchased just for the occasion.

The time of day and the cold windy air made you question why anyone would recommend this as a “must-do” activity when visiting Maui. For about 30 or 40 minutes, we shivered and moaned in the dark awaiting the guest of honor. When the sun finally made its appearance, all of the discomfort and drowsiness disappeared instantly, replaced by awe and wonder. The beauty of the scene is indescribable and, sadly, all-too-brief. Not only did the sun light up the sky and the clouds in an amazing array of blues, yellows, purples, oranges, and reds, it also exposed the inner rock and ash formations of the crater itself, whose rim we were atop, making you feel like you were peering at another world.

If you get a chance to go to Maui, take it from me…this really is a “must-do” activity. You’ll know why Haleakala is Hawaiian for “House of The Sun,” and you’ll not worry much about the chill in your bones or the sleep in your eyes while you wait to be stunned and inspired.

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