Thursday, December 27, 2018

Walking Off the Ledge

It's like walking off the edge of the world.

Yesterday my daughter Lelia and I drove to the summit of the Haleakala volcano in the National Park of the same name. The temperature change from sea level (84F) to summit (54F) was really something to behold and fortunately we were prepared with some warm coats to wear upstairs.

As we reached about 8,000 feet above sea level we realized that we were higher than the layer of clouds that we could see from the base of the mountain. The road climbed ever so slowly up the hill with our driver, me, going even slower. I'm used to alpine driving, but this was white knuckle work even for me. In many places there were no guard rails between the road and the sheer drop to below, which made me very uncomfortable. The guard rails don't make safety any better, but they provide some psychological help.

At about 9,000 feet I decided to turn around at a small parking lot, one of the last ones between us and the summit, so it was go,no go at this point.

All in all it was an enjoyable excursion and I'm glad that we tried it, but if I ever return to Maui, I won't make this trip again.


  1. Holy cow, my knuckles are white and palms sweaty just looking at these photographs and reading your description! You're a braver man that I.

    Have Fun,


  2. That's one of my biggest fears, especially when going somewhere I am not familiar with and not knowing what's around the next bend in terms of things like heights, lack of guardrails, etc. I did one mountain road once where I had to keep letting people get past me - and all the while knowing I'd have to turn around at some point and do it all over again to get back down.

    I'll leave going over mountains to the bears, to see what they can see.

  3. Went there on my honeymoon. Took a bus up to watch the dawn and biked down. Don’t remember the lack of guardrail. Then again, we were younger then. Maui is great. A lot to do, even history buffs. Neat whaling museum there.

    1. You need to book a reservation now for the sunrise event, however, I can't even imagine having to driver up that mountain road in the dark hours of the morning ahead of sun up. It would be even more terrifying for me.

  4. Pity you did not make it to the top, the views are amazing. Agree that it is a challenging drive though!