Rising 10,023 feet above Maui’s coastal areas is the massive shield volcano
. This sleeping giant is enormously popular and easily accessible for visitors; in fact, it has become a ritual for those staying on the island to rise before dawn and trek to the mountaintop in the chilly darkness to watch the sun make its way across the morning horizon.
To help protect the natural and cultural resources at Haleakalā National Park, a new reservation system has been put in place for
at the park. Reservations at recreation.gov may be made 60 days in advance, and there is a reservation fee that is not part of the entrance fee to the national park. Go to nps.gov/hale/planyourvisit/sunrise. htm for more information.
Hawaiian legend goes that the
traveled to the very spot modern-day visitors do to wait for the sun to rise. However, Maui wasn’t looking to capture a stunning nature shot; rather, he was waiting to lasso the sun and slow its progress over the island because his mother, Hina, complained that her kapa cloth would not dry properly. As the myth goes, Maui’s lasso hit its target, and it was only after the great yellow orb promised to travel more slowly through the sky that Maui loosened his rope.
Haleakalā has been inactive since 1790, when two minor fl ows occurred on the southwest rift zone near La Perouse Bay. The great basin below the summit, commonly called a
CRATER, is 3,000 FEET DEEP, 7.5 MILES LONG AND 2.5 MILES WIDE, and is actually an “erosional depression” where water, wind and possibly glaciers once cut into the mountain. Later, new lava fl ows partially fi lled the basin, leaving cinder cones to mark their eruptions.
the tallest cinder cone, reaches 500 feet from the basin fl oor.
The slumbering volcano — whose name literally means
in Hawaiian — is the centerpiece of a
that extends from Haleakalā’s summit to Kīpahulu Valley on the Hāna coast. A place of legends and intriguing biological diversity, the park attracts more than 1 million visitors a year, and off ers plenty of alternatives to a sunrise vigil in a well-populated crowd.
also are popular. In addition,
stops here. Call the
(808-973-5286) for an update on the day’s forecast. A recorded message will give you information on sunrise and sunset times, as well as viewing conditions at the summit. Temperatures at the peak typically range from 30 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit, but occasionally dip below 0.
Visit nps.gov/hale/planyourvisit/ fees.htm for more details.