Haleakala Sunrise

Haleakala Sunrise

It made perfect sens when I booked the flights. Get to Maui in the evening. Sleep a bit, then drive up to the Haleakala Visitor's Center and enjoy the sunrise.

The drive up couldn't be more than, what, twenty minutes?

The weather? Well, we're in Hawaii, dummy - it's a tropical paradise. Wear shorts.

The reply to the above is "no" and "no".

When I input the visitor's center in the GPS it returned an ETA a full two hours in the future. Strike one.

I dragged myself out of bed at 3am. Checked out of the hotel and got in the car.

Coming to the center, I realized that the "tropical paradise" existed on lower altitudes. This was a barren freezing Hellscape with blisteringly cold winds. Strike two.

Fortunately, I had brought along jeans and a sweater. The temperature was below freezing and the wind was at 10 m/s, so it was still cold, but at least it was somewhat tolerable.

I set up the tripod by the fence so I could see across the Haleakala crater. (Actually, it's a pair of valleys that have grown together.) Then there was little left but to wait for the sun to rise above the clouds.

The cold was bad. At about sunrise I had to operate the camera with stiff fingers. Luckily, my brain didn't freeze, as I think it did for the poor person next to me and the following conversation happened:

"A shame about the weather being this cloudy."

"I've been here before. This is pretty much what it's like."

"Well, too bad we won't see the sunrise."

"Why not?"

"It's cloudy."

"But you're above the clouds. The sun comes up above them."

"It does?"


But the sun did rise. Here is a series of panoramas I shot as I waited.

The shadow of Haleakala is seen as a blunt triangular shape on the ground and sea.

2014-01-07 07:08

Haleakala Visitor's Center, USA 2013