On our trip to Maui last month, we were able to take a backpacking trip into the Haleakala Crater. Haleakala is a massive volcano with a peak of 10,023 feet that forms most of the island of Maui. The long and narrow crater is about 7 miles long and 2 miles wide and the floor is 2,500 feet below the peak.
We began our hike from the western rim of the crater and took the strenuous Sliding Sands Trail 9.3 miles to the Palikū Campsite.
Before we began, we encountered the endangered Nene bird. The Nene is a descendent of some Canadian Geese that found their way to paradise over 500,000 years ago.
We also were lucky enough to see our first Hawaiian Honeycreeper: the ‘Apapane.
We had crystal clear skies for our hike into and across the crater. In the distance you can almost see the campsite. It’s a very rare hike that you can see your ending point when you begin.
After a long day of hiking we were alone in what a local told us was the Maui Shangri-la. We agree!
And before the sun set, we saw our second Hawaiian Honeycreeper, the ‘Amakihi!
We woke up to a light mist that had filled the crater.
We then began the 10.4 mile trek back out of the crater to the western rim by taking the Halemauʻu Trail.
We had a great time on our hike. Such an alien environment and very unique wildlife in the surrounding shrub forest.
(the primary license for these photos can be found on flickr: Attribution Creative Commons)