Sunday, January 27, 2013

Weeeeee! Sunrise and Biking down Haleakala on Maui, Hawaii

I spent a considerable amount of time searching for fun things to do on the island of Maui.  I typically use Tripadvisor to get an idea about things to do in just about any destination.  It's a good source for feedback from other travelers.

One of the top rated things to do was the morning sunrise on Haleakala and then bike down the mountain. There are several companies that run the tour and you can find one that will suit your needs.  Some companies are guided, which means a guide rides with you and the van follows behind protecting you (kind of) from traffic, some provide pastries and coffee in the morning, and some provide windbreakers and backpacks to borrow.

Bike Maui/Halealaka Bike Co- Cory, the owner, is a bit of a drill sergeant, but at 3am, it's essential when you're trying to get 20+ people organized, fitted with bikes and helmets, loaded on a bus and moving so they get to see the sunrise.  

Once loaded on the bus, the guide drives about an hour up to the sunrise location on Haleakala.  There are many, many, many buses and cars located at the summit.  Some people stay in the warmth of the vans/buses and then venture out just before sunrise while others run up to the railing and stake their claim to get the best sunrise pictures.  We waited in the warm vehicle and then climbed the little hill to the right and hunkered down behind a rock to provide some protection from the wind.  The view was SPECTACULAR, but the wind was a force to be reckoned with!

After the run has risen, you load back up on the bus and get a little tour of the summit.  Around 9am you are brought to the visitor center just outside the park entrance.  Now is where the real fun starts!

We grab our helmets and hop on the bikes for the most amazing (and fast paced) ride down the mountain.  

Don't forget to dress in layers!  It is extremely cold and windy at the summit for the sunrise.  We wore a tshirt, cardigan sweater/sweatshirt, windbreakers, headband to cover our ears, gloves and jeans.  By the time we reached Kula Lodge for breakfast, we were able to shed the sweatshirts and windbreakers.  We probably could have changed into shorts for the remainder of the ride down, but it wasn't too hot in jeans.  Hubs had a backpack, so as we removed layers, they were packed away quickly.

Breakfast at Kula Lodge was wonderful.  I 'asked' hubs to order the macadamia nut pancakes to I could sample a bite and they were spectacular, covered in toasted mac nuts and a coconut syrup.  Yum!  The fresh pineapple is always a treat!

A few pictures.

 My brother and his girlfriend Anna

 The morning sun starting to peak out from behind the clouds

 Silversword plant that is rare and only grows at certain elevations

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