At the highest level tourist are allowed to travel Haleakala’s signs read 10,000 feet.
We drove up for sunset as did dozens of other people. Its a forever long drive because the roads weave up the mountain side with turns slowing down to less than 20 miles per hour. We yet again failed to get the windshield clean and the sun was positioned for blinding.
The elevation change was noticeable. As was the lack of oxygen. Teams of crazy man bikers trailed up the road. They got a group shot under the elevation sign. I lost my breath just getting up the stairs to the elevation sign. And while I do enjoy biking there is nothing you could do to get me on that mountain on a bike.
Their location here makes a lot of sense because basically you’re above the cloud line. After about 9000 feet there’s nothing but volcanic rock. Piles and piles of rock. They landscaped the look out point with succulents and other plants that only need air to grow. The observatories are selfishly positioned so that as the sun sets, its blocked by the row of white buildings. I realize this might change as the earth and sun revolve. I imagine the view from one of this towers is spectacular. And the the sun rise is probably even better, since the real view in my opinion was the opposite direction. Danny was particularly struck by the mountains’ enormous shadow cast on the clouds.