Hawaiian Vacation: Mount Haleakala and Iao Valley

Continuing on the report of my trip to Maui, let’s talk about Mount Haleakala. Remember the big volcano I talked about yesterday? That’s Mount Haleakala. It’s also a National Park (so it costs $30 to visit). Now, when I hear “volcano,” I picture lava shooting into the air, with the occasional earthquake for good measure. This one doesn’t have that. In fact, it doesn’t even have a crater. If Frodo was supposed to chuck the ring into Mount Haleakala, he’d have just wandered around for a few days looking for a place to chuck it. (Are you taking notes, Sauron? This is big brain stuff.)

Instead, it’s got what’s called an erosion plain. We stopped by a lookout right before we hiked down into it, and it was pretty awesome looking. It looked like something you might see on the moon. Unfortunately, in the 15 minutes it took us to drive from there to the actual hike, clouds rolled in, and by the time we were hiking, all we could see was mist. It looked like the moon would look in a dense fog. Or what a Walmart parking lot would look like in a dense fog, for that matter, if the parking lot were fairly steep and covered in loose rock.

We drove up to the peak (10,000+ feet above sea level), and that was above the clouds, so had a pretty incredible view, but it was also too packed to park, so instead of watching the sunset from there, we watched it from slightly lower down the volcano, just at a pullout by the side of the road. That was beautiful, and worth the drive by itself. But other than that, there’s not much I can say about the volcano. Next time!

Since that’s not quite enough to justify the blog post, I’ll throw in a brief recap of the Iao Valley. This is a pretty short stop, though you need reservations to get in. It’s got a sharp, steep mountain that’s called the Iao Needle, which is remarkable. Other than that, there’s a short hike up and a short hike down to just sort of look around at the area. High above you, there’s a huge mountain with a long, thin waterfall running all the way down it. It reminded me of Up, honestly.

On the way down from there, we stopped by a fruit stand by the side of the road and had fresh fruit smoothies. Dragon fruit, papaya, bananas, pineapples, and more. They were delicious, and Denisa was very happy with the fruit offerings on the trip. At a later fruit stand, we bought a fresh coconut, which they chopped open for us so we could drink from it through a straw, then hacked it open so we could eat what was inside. The milk was . . . fizzy and a bit bitter. Not my favorite. The coconut meat itself was . . . slimy and kind of disgusting, though Denisa and the girls liked it. Maybe I didn’t like it because I put it in my mouth expecting usual dry, slightly sweet coconut, and instead it was more like a wet, coconut-infused avocado.

Bryces don’t like surprises.

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