Day 2 - to the top of Haleakala
Trip Start Feb 24, 2012
13Trip End Mar 06, 2012
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We retraced our steps from yesterday's Hana drive, as the restaurant is just past Paia. So far, all we knew about this place was that it was popular - due to our inability to get in the previous day, and the valet-only parking. The restaurant itself is hidden from view from the parking area, and you enter the property by descending some stairs.
It's hard to describe what awaited down those stairs. A beautiful beach.
The menu featured fresh local ingredients, and is printed daily to reflect exactly what their fishermen had caught. In fact, each fish dish on the menu shows the name of the fisherman who caught each type of fish! Those of you who know me may be wondering what I ate (as I am a non-fish eater). Fear not - the menu featured some land-based options. My onion soup and beef served in a half-papaya
Clearly a memorable experience, given that I've just dedicated several travelogue paragraphs to... Lunch.
Back on the road to begin the two hour drive to Haleakala. Once I again, we found the terrain and the weather changed very frequently. As we wound our way up toward the top of the volcano, we saw so many different landscapes, and the temperature dropped from 81F in Paia to 51F at the summit. There were many twists and turns again on this journey, but they were somehow much more gentle than the drive to Hana.
About halfway up (there are elevation markers along the way; the peak is 10,000 feet up) you officially enter the state park, and then at about 7,500 feet you enter the summit area and pay a $10 fee per car to continue.
The landscape gets more and more bleak as you ascend (not unexpectedly). There is a rare plant here, called the silversword, which is found nowhere else. It is protected and cultivated here due to its rarity.
We stopped at the 3 lookout points along the way.
At the absolute (accessible) summit point the wind was quite chilly.
We descended through the same terrain variations, making good use of our rental car's low gears. Downhill definitely felt more precarious than up!
Our dinner reservation wasn't until 8 pm so we did a bit of souvenir shopping in Lahaina's shopping district.
Dinner was at a restaurant called Duke's Beach House. A casual place with great food (teriyaki mixed shish kebab for me, macadamia-crusted swordfish for Matt), and I had my first Mai tai, in an appropriately cheesy tiki glass.
Another great day of car-based sightseeing and yummy food. Time now to leave the car and spend some time in the ocean: snorkeling is up next!
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