Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Maui Day 8: The Road to Hana AGAIN? (part 2)

Around 3:30 we needed to decide what to do with the rest of our day.
Before we had left the condo, we had thought we just might want to use part of the day to travel up the great Maui volcano, Haleakala.  So we had thrown some light jackets and my yoga pants in our backpack just in case.  Good thing we did because that's where we went next and it can get COLD!

We followed the Haleakala Highway through "Upcountry", and made our way to Haleakala National Park.  We didn't have to pay because we had already paid our $10 at Seven Sacred Pools and you can "re-use" your same ticket.

We began our journey up the volcano and drove through the ring of clouds.
We couldn't see very much at all and wondered what the views would be like at the top.  We were hoping to catch the sunset at Haleakala's summit.

All of a sudden, we drove out of the clouds and into a beautiful blue sky!
We were ABOVE the clouds!
Can you see the rainbow hitting the road?  We drove right through it!

Every where we looked, we saw another rainbow.

This one was HUGE!

We arrived at the lower visitor's center (7,000 ft) and ran into the bathrooms to get out of our swimsuits and put our layers on!

The temp from our car read 59 degrees!
(you don't really think about going to Hawaii and experiencing this low temperature! ha!)

We wandered into the shop of the visitor's center, and there was a park ranger still there.  He told us he usually leaves at 4pm, but he was staying until 6pm because he was so excited about the event taking place today.  When we said, "what event?", he was thrilled to tell us about the Transit of Venus, where venus crosses the path of the sun.  

We went outside and he showed us his "sunspotter". 

With this tool, he could show us the sun (which is the big light spot).

And the tiny dot in the upper right corner of the "sun" is Venus.
It had almost finished crossing the path of the sun.  The next time this would happen would be 100 years from now.  And the only places you could see Venus cross the sun ENTIRELY are Alaska and Hawaii! HAWAII!!!  And we happened to be in Hawaii close to the summit of the volcano at just the right time!  
God is pretty AMAZING, isn't he?

We only had a short amount of time before the sun set, and we had another slow 10 miles to get to the summit, so we hopped in our car and kept driving.

The view from our car...driving above the clouds :)

We wanted to take a quick stop to see the Haleakala Crater, an erosion crater.
This view is looking to the left.

And this is looking to the right.  We couldn't see a lot of it because of the shadow that was covering most of it, but it was still beautiful.

We stood inside the enclosed viewing area to keep the freezing wind off of us.

Back in the car, still going up, and watching the glorious sun slowly get lower. :)

We drove past the upper visitor center and just had to take a picture of the scientists who traveled to Maui that day to set up their telescopes to watch the Transit of Venus.  We must have passed by right at the conclusion of the transit because everyone out there starting cheering!

Just a piece of Heaven :)

We could see Science City on our way up.  This is where the Air Force and the University of Hawaii have astronomical observatories.  Pretty cool :)

When we got to the summit, and parked (10,000 ft!), we realized we were about to watch the sunset in the 54 degree cold wind!

This is the rare silversword plant that can manage the cold weather here.
We heard that if you damaged one, you might have to pay more than your whole trip was worth!

We walked over to the edge of the summit to find a place to sit.
This is what the volcanic rock looked like.

I noticed that people were sitting underneath these rocks that jutted out of the earth.  It was shielding the wind from them.  What a great idea!

I don't know if I would have made it without that rock and our beach towels.  That wind was biting!

Such a special time with Justin :)

So we just sat there, bundled up as best we could, with our cameras ready, and watched as the sun slowly set below the clouds.  The most beautiful sunset we have ever seen ;)

The love of my life ;)
(have I said that already?)

Now for some colorful "after" sunset pictures:

Pretty amazing :)

When we began our descent, I noticed the biggest monkey grass plant I had ever seen!
That's probably not what this plant was, but that's what it looked like.  It was about as tall as a person!

On our way home, we stopped at Pizza in Paradise.
It was the longest wait EVER!  And we were sooo tired and hungry and it was 9pm!

We were pretty much the only ones in there except for the homeless man sitting outside. ;)

The decor was hilarious....flat screen tv, but no blades on the celing boards, slot machines, christmas lights, beautiful framed photographs on the wall.  So funny!  We LOVED it!
And the owner who made the pizza was so friendly.  Just wish the food had come out faster.  We took it to go and ate it on our way home.  The BEST PIZZA EVER!  

We just couldn't believe that this was the last full day in Maui.  :(

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