One of the perks of my job is that I get to travel around to see clients and go to some pretty awesome destinations. This week I was on the road in my travel flip flops in Maui, Hawaii. Every time I go somewhere I try and do one new thing that I haven’t done before to check out the scenery. This week I decided to check out the view from the top of Haleakalā and take a bike 27 miles down the mountain. Full disclosure…my best friend lives in Maui so I have been there quite a bit, and checked out a lot of what the Island has to offer like the road to Hana, Paia town, twin falls, Lahaina and much more but this is one of the things I have never done so I thought I would give it a shot.
I got up super early and decided to take the plunge and began our bus to ride up the mountain through the state park covering 30,00 acres of wilderness. We took the long bus ride up drove past pineapple and sugar cane fields up to Haleakalā which rises 10,000 feet above the water and it hasn’t erupted since 1790. It was much more scenic then I expected at the top. Our group leader told us that Haleakala is home to many of the world’s 13 ecosystems including: alpine cinder desert, subalpine shrubland and grassland, montage bogs, dryland forest, high elevation cloudforest, low elevation rainforest and coastal. Although you can camp in the park there is a 2 year waiting list for cabins because the scenery is amazing and it preserves the distinctive volcanic landscape of the summit area and protects the pristine Kipahulu Valley and scenic pools at Oheo Gulch. When we got to the top of Maui’s spectacular 10,023 foot Haleakala volcano (House of the Sun) the view was amazing….check it out!
Mark Twain’s 150 year old description of sunrise atop Mount Haleakala really sums up how cool it was…”With the first pallor of dawn we got up and saw things that were new to us. Mounted on a commanding pinnacle, we watched Nature work her silent wonders…A growing warmth suffused the horizon, and soon the sun emerged and looked out over the cloud-waste, flinging bars of ruddy light across it, staining its folds and billow-caps with blushes, purpling the shaded troughs between, and glorifying the massy vapor-palaces and cathedrals with a wasteful splendor of all blendings and combinations of rich coloring. It was the sublimest spectacle I ever witnessed, and I think the memory of it will remain with me always.” Mark Twain, 1866
The road down is the steepest paved road of its length in the world. The guides took some time getting us settled on our “chopper” bikes. This is not the best picture of me but you can see how cool the bikes are for cruising. Our tour leaders made sure we were comfortable before we started down the of the park into 29 hairpin curve “switchbacks” some of them were 180 degree turns. As we cruised down the mountain at 30 miles an hour all you had to do was lean into the turn..no sharp turns or you were headed across the double yellow lines. Luckily I made it town in one piece and I am here to tell the tail. Halekala is a must see if you are going to Maui and the views are spectacular and the ride is a blast!
Avid traveler and Flexflop Founder