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Saturday, February 2, 2013

PEARL'S ASHES: #8--Haleakala

On 5June 2010 I drove at sunrise to view the sunrise from the top of Haleakala.  Like many of my ash tossing ceremonies, getting there was an experience.
Everyone who wants to do a hundred things before moving on into the afterlife, or not, must catch the sunrise at Haleakala.  I left the Maui Seaside at 4AM, for the drive was supposed to take an hour and a half, with sunrise at 5:44.  Well, it was really dark, and the road with a hundred hairpin turns (okay, only 33 switchbacks through 12 climate zones).  As I made it to the entrance gate to pay the $10 fee, I found out this was FREE Saturday, but noticed that the sunrise was not 5:44, but 5:37.  I did not realize that nearly two miles high, the sunrise is earlier.  The only car delaying progress was mine, for there was a long caravan behind me, and I wanted to make it up there alive.  I just made it to take the first photo to the left above.

There was a mob of people awaiting the event, all in various stages of frostbite, for the winds were in the 30 to 40 MPH range and temperature around 42 degrees F.  At 40 degrees and 40 MPH, the effective temperature is 11 degrees F, and freezing is 32 degrees.  If you ever go, wear something for Helsinki in January.  Finally, sunrise at Haleakala above.

My intent was to spread a small amount of Pearl's ashes as the Sun appeared, which was a challenge with all the people around, the wind, my wanting to take a photo at that moment and having only two hands.  This, though, I managed.

Officially, Haleakala is the crater, which sits at the top of East Maui Volcano, which is not extinct, as indications are that there might have been an eruption as recently as the late 18th century.  The island of Manhattan can fit inside the crater.  As the photo on the left shows, the summit is at 10,023 feet.

A particular attraction of this national park is the silversword, which can only be found on this mountain at elevations exceeding 7,000 feet.  It almost went extinct in the 1920's, and is still threatened by feral goats...and me.  I walked up to take the photo above, with a forest ranger screaming at me to get back on to the concrete pathway.  I never did see any sign.  On the left is a swarm of them.  The drive up was scary.  The trip down was spectacular, as you are above the clouds.  The only distractions, and most dangerous, were dozens of bicyclists (a tourist attraction) riding down the same road.  Eventually, you drive through the clouds, then, suddenly, you are below.

At this time of the year Jacarandas (above) are blossoming.  This could well be Pearl's favorite flower.  However, after she passed away, I selected the Gold Tree, because this, too was among her favorites.  It was a toss up!  There is a pleasant smell and the ground is purple from the fallen flowers.  Speaking of fragrances, you can also visit a lavender farm on the slopes of this volcano.

Next, #10:  Mount Kilimanjaro.


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