December 10, 2013

the hawaiian honeymoon: botanics and a volcano in fog

Big post!  On this particular day of our honeymoon, we decided to drive to the peak of Mt. Haleakala, the volcano that forms 75% of the island of Maui.  On the way, we stopped off at Kula Botanical Garden, which is a beautiful garden part of the way up to the top of Haleakala.  It holds hundreds of fascinating plants, including protea (you don't see those too often!) and several beautiful rainbow eucalyptus trees.  As you can tell by the number of photos I've shared above, this was a favorite place of mine!
After exploring all that the botanical garden had to offer, we got back in the car and continued our ascent up the mountain.  The temperature dropped quickly (we stopped at the national park's visitor center to change into jeans and sweaters) and it began to look like we were on an airplane, viewing clouds at eye level and seeing the rest of the island sprawled out thousands of feet below.  We stopped at a lookout mentioned in the guide book, but when we reached the viewing platform there was nothing to be seen.  Instead of heading back to the car, we waited in the fog (huddled behind the glass of the viewing area, because it was windy and COLD!) and a few minutes later, the scene cleared and we were afforded a stunning view into the crater (I think).  We snapped a bunch of photos and then the fog came rolling right back in.  It is amazing how quickly conditions change!  We continued to the very peak of the mountain, 10,000 feet and change above sea level, and the summit was socked in with fog as well.  We walked around, admiring the silversword plants (a rare species that grows only at high elevations on Haleakala--nowhere else in the world [well, it has a sister plant that grows only on Mauna Kea on the big island]--and is, amazingly, part of the daisy family!) but the fog never cleared.  We could have gotten up at 3am and gone up for sunrise, and maybe gotten a better view, but…that didn't sound like much fun!

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