Today, Jen and I headed up to Haleakala Crater.
The road is heavily switchbacked as it climbs to the 10,300 foot summit. We ascended through nice pasturelands, through a cloud layer at 5,000 feet, and into bare ground at the summit. Here, it was clear and sunny, somewhat windy, and very chilly (Jen had on three layers, including the hood of two jackets). The view was, of course, spectacular — not only of the crater, but also of the Big Island, whose snow-capped peaks and western shoreline were clearly visible with the naked eye.
Driving from the coast through Upcountry Maui to Haleakela lets you see the variety of topography that exists on this small island — tropical beaches with palm trees, giving way to agricultural lands covered with cane, then to pastures littered with cactus, and finally to mostly-bare volcanic earth. Toss in the rain forests of Hana and the lava flows on the island’s southeast side, and I think it’s hard not to be impressed.