Sue and I popped over to Maui Friday night to mooch free room and board off of my friend Ian while he was there helping to host an Iron Man event. We were there for the day Saturday, and again that night. We got back to Oahu Sunday morning.
So far Sue and I have been on three trips to Maui. We've never been up the hill to Haleakala. We headed 'Up Country' and on up to the Volcano after breakfast. We stopped a couple times along the way. From Kihei, it took about an hour and a half for us to get to the top. Although it was a cloudy day, the clouds pretty much vanished at around 7,000 feet. From there until the summit at nearly 10,000 feet it was crystal clear. The air is so thin up there, the sunlight was intense. It only took us about 20 minutes to turn a little pink.
There is something about looking a landscape as immense as the Haleakala volcano basin. I saw across the floor of terrain eight miles wide, and lost all sense of scale. In fact, the peaks of big island poking out of the clouds were clearly visible from the precipice. Awesome.
On the way back down, we decided to stop at the Ali`i Kula Lavender Gardens. It's hard to explain the appeal as a heterosexual male, but it is noteworthy, and I will try. The Lavender Garden is several acres of land mostly filled with lavender (shrubs?) and several other visually and herbally unusual flora. The overwhelming scent of lavender immediately chillaxed me. If you've ever heard that the smell of lavender is a soothing agent, you should believe it. It was like a big field of purple chill.
In our haste to cram a trip into a single day, Sue and I overlooked lunch. We arrived at the Lavender Gardens hungry, and found the Gallery (gift shoppe) in the middle of the garden acreage. The shop offered several rubs, fragrances, decorations, and YES foods made with lavender. I think we ate about a dozen almond lavender cookies with our herbal tea, and then went back for lavender scones. *burp* Not bad. Lavender has an mellow peppery accent about it. Odd but fun.
Here's a movie I did from just the volcano part of the trip.