Hawaii Guide

 

Haleakala National Park

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Haleakala National Park's key feature is the 10023 foot dormant volcano Haleakala (said ha lay ah kah la.) The area was designated a National Park back in 1961 and is today one of Maui's largest natural attractions, pulling in tourists from all over the world. The park itself is composed of two distinctive areas: The Summit, which has visitors standing in complete awe as they stare down into the 3000 foot deep crater and the Kipahulu Coast, which is a vibrant tropical setting that is in complete contrast to the summit's moon like surface. Soon after making your entrance you will come to the National Park Headquarters which is open from 7.30 in the morning till 4.00 in the afternoon. This is the perfect place to acquire any additional information such as details on any hikes and trails. The headquarters is also equipped with restrooms for your convenience. Rangers are on hand, and free nature talks are available throughout the morning.

On your way up to the crater you will come across two spectacular lookout points: the Leleiwi Overlook which offers a fantastic view of the crater, and then the Haleakala Visitor Center. The best time to experience the Haleakala National Park is at sunrise where visitors will find themselves coming face to face something that can only be described as a Technicolored miracle. The sunsets are just as amazing with the added advantage of not having to wake up at some near ungodly hour. Lookout out for the when the sun illuminates the crater definitely a "Kodak moment!" Not too far from the visitor centre is the pyramid type glass building called Puu Ulaula which provides one of the best vantage points.

The park does accommodate camping and has several camping grounds situated around the park including the ones at Hosmer Grove near the entrance and the coveted ones at Holua and Paliku, which are INSIDE the crater. Camping also allows visitors to Maui to experience the most of the island's wildlife. The Haleakala National P ark is home to a number of endangered species including a native brown goose called the "nene." This bird is incapable of migrating and has become more accustomed to the lava fields than to the lakes typical of its relatives. A plant known as the "silversword" is also becoming harder and harder to find. This silver and green plant looks quite spiky and flowers only once in the entire fifty years of its existence! Lookout for this unique plant near and around the Kalahaku Overlook.

If you decide to go all the way up to the crater's edge then you might experience phenomena that only graces a few places in the world. It requires exact conditions you need to be standing on the edge of the crater with cloud below and in front of you, all the while having the sun sitting low and directly behind you. So what is it that exactly happens then? What happens is that you see your own shadow on the clouds surrounded by a rainbow. The Hawaiians call it "akaku anuenue", while westerners have termed it the "Spectre of Brocken", and they believe that what you are seeing is the blessing of your soul.

If you would like to find out any further details you can phone the Haleakala National Park on 808 572 4400.

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