I wanted to see the sunrise for my 20th birthday. Well actually my birthday was yesterday but I had an orthodontist appointment. But technically I was born at 10:12 pm, so this was close enough.Denton

For a Sunday adventure we wandered up the highway all the way to the summit of Haleakala. We hadn’t been to the top since our sunrise bike tour in September of 2012.2012

We gained elevation quickly as we started out from our house at 3,300 feet and 40 minutes later made our first stop at Leileiwi Lookout at 8,800 feet.lookout

The short trail begins on the west side of Haleakala with great views of west Maui. But as we began to wrap around to the other side of the mountain we experienced the most spectacular views of Haleakala crater we have ever seen. When we first saw the sun rise over the crater almost a year and a half ago, it was so cloudy that we couldn’t actually see much of the crater.  The trade winds coming from the wet Hana side of Maui blow up and push the moisture toward Haleakala, so as it rises in elevation and gets colder the moisture turns into clouds. That is why there is often a ring of clouds around the top of Haleakala. This morning we didn’t come for the sunrise, but we were still rewarded with some beautiful colors in the sky.


And this was the view as we made our final turn.lookout1 lookout2 lookout3

The crater is so vast and it was so quiet and peaceful at Leileiwi lookout. It wasn’t until we reached the small viewing area that we realized we weren’t the only ones enjoying this awesome view. A young man with his arms huddled underneath his t-shirt turned around and said hello. He asked where we were from and said he was local too, from Pukalani. He grew up in Maui all his life, but finally experienced the sunrise over Haleakala today for his 20th birthday (well, technically his birthday was yesterday, but close enough). It wasn’t until he reached the summit this morning that he realized he left his jacket at home. The temperatures at the summit range on average from 31 to 49 degrees this time of year. But it is the bone chilling wind that really gets you. Luckily for our new friend someone lent him a blanket at the top.

Denton proceeded to point out different areas of the crater: the trails (there are over 41 miles of trails inside the crater), the many cinder cones and the three highly sought after cabins spread out on the crater floor. The cabins are difficult to reserve and are on a lottery system. When Denton was little, his dad took him and his sister to the crater for three nights and they stayed in each cabin. They hiked down into the crater from the summit on the Keoneheehee Trail also known as the Sliding Sands Trail. It’s a strenuous hike, but one we would like to do someday. The trail descends 2,400 feet to the crater floor during the first 4 miles. This next photo faintly shows the switchbacks Denton and his family hiked to ascend the other side of the crater.lookout4

Denton continued to point out the peaks of volcanoes Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa, high above the clouds and far in the distance on the island of Hawai’i, the Big Island. He explained the different types of volcanoes and told us these are shield volcanoes, different than stratovolcanoes such as Mount St. Helens and Mount Fuji. He said Haleakala once stood as tall as Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa, but continues to erode over time.


After a thorough education on Haleakala, the surrounding volcanoes, and even the vegetation around us, we said goodbye to Denton. We thanked him for sharing with us his extensive knowledge of the area, and then we headed up to the summit.top

From the summit at 10,023 feet, west Maui looked so small. We could see the top of Lana’i to the south, west Maui mountains in the center, and Moloka’i behind the west Maui mountains. Even Oahu was just barely visible far off behind Moloka’i.top2

The spectacular view of Haleakala crater from the top.top3And finally, (in my opinion) the smartest way to trek the Sliding Sands Trail.horses



Your Valentine

Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same.Emily Brontë

grainger-56-bHere’s to 10 years of being your Valentine!



Frisbee Golf & Lava Tubes

It was Saturday afternoon. We had just arrived home from church and were thinking of what we could do to get Mochi a bit of exercise. We weren’t too excited about any of the ideas we were coming up with because all we really wanted to do was sit on the couch and ride out the rest of our food coma from potluck.

Then my phone rang. It was our friend Ryan letting us know him and his friend were riding their motorcycles up toward Poli Poli above our house and he asked if we wanted to go on a hike with them. Well, it had been decided for us. What we thought would be maybe a 2-3 mile hike turned into 4 holes of frisbee golf followed by a treacherous hike to a cave, topped off with another 4 holes of frisbee golf.

As you wind up the road behind our house past the lavender farm just as you enter the forest edge there is a frisbee golf course.8e824f6eI really am no expert as this was my first time playing on an actual course, but I would have to say this is a pretty intense course as there are tons of trees, 4-5 cows at each hole who give you a few angry grunts as you try to get your frisbee that you almost just hit them with, as well as gulches you have to try to get your frisbee to clear. 3c2a16e2Often one of our frisbees would not quite clear the gulch, land sideways and start to roll down the hill and through the forest far out of sight. This is where Mochi came in handy. We would tell him to go find it and he would blast off down the hill deep into the forest where we couldn’t see or hear him anymore and eventually he would come running back with the would-be lost frisbee.71cea3dd

After about the 4th hole Ryan gathered the frisbees and led us through the forest toward a cave he had told us about. Eventually we arrived at a gulch. We finally figured a way to get down to the bottom of the gulch only to find that the entrance to the cave had been filled by a large, dead tree stump, a few big rocks and tons of dirt and mud from all of the rain we have been having. “Not to worry.” Ryan said. “I know where the other end of it is.”  After climbing out of the gulch we hiked about a quarter mile down the edge of it and started to make our way back down. This time it was a lot steeper and we held on to the small trees and roots to climb down and get to the cave’s exit. While it was quite a challenge and often a bit scary making our way down, it was well worth it once we found the cave.tubeRyan handed us each a flashlight and we made our way in. Once inside it became very clear that it was a lava tube, as we were completely surrounded by lava rock from the smooth floor to the jagged ceiling. We continued deep into the cave until we reached the blocked entrance we had come to before. We switched off our flashlights to experience the pitch black for a bit and then made our way back out. If I had to guess I would say the cave is about 12oo ft deep. The other amazing part about this cave was there was no trail to it and almost no signs that other people had been there before.

We climbed back out of the gulch and hiked back to the frisbee course. We finished off the adventure with a few more holes, Mochi had a staring contest with a cow, and then we hiked back to the car and bikes and headed home.


Canada Here We Come!

It took longer to register for SeaWheeze than it will (hopefully) take us to run the race, but we made it in and we’re so excited! With the rush of excitement it caused, the registration site couldn’t handle everyone when it opened up on January 23, so it was eventually postponed to today.  Within an hour and a half it was full.

We are making this announcement so you can all hold us accountable–we will train hard and run our second half, SeaWheeze Half Marathon, August 2014 in Vancouver, BC!