Catching sunrise from the summit of Haleakala is a must for everyone’s bucket list. Imagine standing at 10,023 feet above sea level, so high up you are above the clouds. Even more amazing is being higher than the sun as it climbs the rim of the volcanic crater you are standing in.
This breathtaking occurrence is rightfully the stuff of legend. Haleakala, or “house of the sun,” is sacred to the Hawaiian people, and was dedicated a national park in 1916. Due to its extraordinary popularity, the number of cars allowed each morning is limited and visitors are required to have reservations.
At the summit you will also find the geocache with the highest number of favorite points in Maui. GC18Z99 (Pu’u’ula’ula (Red Hill) Haleakala Volcano Summit) is an Earth Cache with 585 favorite points and counting. While informative, the cache is still easy enough to complete if light headed from the high altitude. As with all national parks, traditional caches are not allowed on park lands. If you are feeling adventurous, there are a few other virtual and Earth caches available in the park. Since this is a very remote location, there is no cell phone coverage so make sure you do your research before heading out.
Other things you should know for your visit? Dress warmly. On the morning of my visit, the high was in the mid-40’s, the ground was icy and the wind was oppressive. Beware of altitude sickness. Move slowly so you don’t over exert yourself. If you are experiencing altitude sickness, the park ranger advised that drinking lots of water will help. People with respiratory issues should be especially careful because of the thin air. Bring plenty of food and water with you just in case… And most importantly (for me), don’t despair, there are restrooms in the visitor center located at the lower summit parking lot.
This was not an easy expedition for me but well worth the effort despite the lack of sleep, freezing cold and heart palpitations. Never before have I felt as at peace as I did in the few minutes before and after the sun rose that morning. Hopefully, you will have the opportunity to experience the beauty found here for yourself because my words and pictures cannot do it justice.