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Home > Learn > Exploring Haleakalā National Park

Exploring Haleakalā National Park

Updated July 1, 2019
by staff writer

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I was SO excited to tell some new friends I had made at a WordPress conference in Maui about watching the sun set at Haleakalā National Park. They laughed.

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It’s a decent trek to get to the top of the 10,000 ft volcanic mountain. I was in town for a tech event, and had an evening before I headed back to the mainland, so thought I should make the journey to the top. I set out for the 20 mile, 1 hour car ride and arrived at the top of the mountain where around 100 others were converging with cameras, wine, and warm clothing to watch the sunset.

In case you’re wondering, it definitely takes an hour to drive to the top of
Haleakalā. After the sun sets, everyone leaves for the base of the mountain, and there’s only one way out. Don’t make the journey unless you have some time to kill.

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The reason my friends laughed when I told them the story about my trek to
Haleakalā? At 10,000 ft, the temperature drops to near freezing temperatures (I was wearing sandals and shorts from sea-level), my Nikon battery died right before the sun set, and apparently the area is known for its epic sunrises. Oops.

It’d be awesome to ascend the mountain by foot the next time (with proper gear, of course), and get to the top right as the sun is rising. There’s also a cool route to be taken descending from summit to sea with shelters available along the way. I got a taste of the volcanic martian landscape and beautifully clear access to the sky (one of the reasons the summit is also home to a national space observatory). Next time I’ll do it right, but until then, enjoy the photos.

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