52 States in 8 Months

Running up Waihe’e Ridge Trail to see the sunrise on Mauna Kahalawai

Posted in Hawaii by Ulf on December 22, 2008

So, now it’s Wednesday. We planned to get up at 4:30am in the morning. We got up at 4:45. This was not as hard as it might sound like: I still had a bit of a jet lag (I was used to EST which was 5 hours off the Hawaiian HST).  Additionally you go to bed rather early as a camper since we did not have much artificial light.

Buck told us about the “Waihe’e Ridge Trail” which started right next to our camp site. It is about a 90 minutes walk onto the “Mauna Kahalawai” (that’s the name of the western part of Maui. Sometimes they call it “Hale Mahina”). We started early so that we reached the lookout at the end of the trail before sunrise (sunrise was at about 6:30am):


The mountain in the east which covers the sun is the Haleakala himself, obviously. Maybe this is why they have chosen the name Haleakala (“House of the sun”)?


But to tell you the truth about our journey: Matthias G., Ania and I did not make it to the end of the trail before sunrise. At about 6:20am we were so eager to see the sun that we simple built our own path onto the top of some smaller hill next to the one where we were supposed to go. In fact, we would still have had enough time to reach the real viewpoint before sunrise (Matthias M. and Andi did it, but they lost the camera which they took their photos with).

As we created our own path onto the top of “Mauna Anaulamathai” in the dark, we climbed up a hill with plants that were about 8ft high. I tumbled a couple of times, so my grayish trousers were something beween brown, green and yellow afterwards. I cannot get them clean with the US washing machinelings, so those trousers will help me save some weight on the flight back. Ania, Matthias, did you get your clothes clean again?

The next two pictures show us on our way down again. The ground was still horizontal where Ania and Matthias stand, but the picture which shows me was taken at a pretty steep place.

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After descending from the Anaulamathai, we followed Matthias and Andi to the outlook we were supposed to go to in the first place. It turned out that the top of the hill was already in the clouds. Andi reckoned that they still had a clear view during sunrise. I’m not sure if I can believe him ;-). Still it was very funny to stand inside those clouds. It was like fog, just a bit different.
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Wow, if I look at the fourth picture … it might be a very good idea to throw this pair of trousers away ;-).
We did not stay at the outlook very long since Matthias and Andi got bored and we all were feeling like having some real showers in the Boy Scout site. That’s why we went down again…

As we could see much better on our way down, it was much easier to grab some of the fruits that were all over the place. We mostly ate guavas, they were simply everywhere!

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On our way we visited a sacred place next to our camping site. Matthias G. was the only one who had read the sign (and therefore removed his shoes). We asked two Hawaiians if they would take a photo of us. The woman refused to do this, so she probably had a real religious affiliation with this place. Still, her husband took a picture:

When we arrived at Camp Maluhia some of us took their showers immediately while Andi and I first got something to eat. You know, parts of the Scout site are like little plantations. Fruits grow everywhere! They want to have enough for the scout groups that come from time to time. But as there was no scout group when we visited the place, the caretaker Buck showed us where we could find the oranges and the larger guava fruits.
We found the banana tree on our own. It was just next to coconut palm tree. That was the situation when Andi and I made up one of the sentences that I put on the postcards which some of you got. The choice of fruits on Maui is so amazing… you could eat all day! And still you would eat nothing but fruits (which, as our parents have told us, is good for us *g*). We also opened a coconut on the Boy Scout site … but we were lucky that nobody saw us. We were so unprofessional… :-)

After we had all taken a shower we finally thanked Buck for his hospitality and said goodbye. Unfortunately, nobody of us had taken photos from that place. I’m so sorry about that!


In the end we went back to our car which as been waiting for us on our lovely campsite. As we drove away, we took a lot of passion fruits with us (“Lilikoi”, a kind of maracuya). I think they are the best fruit of them all!

The next destination on our schedule was the other mountain, the larger one: Haleakala himself!


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  1. […] on Haleakala Posted in Hawaii by Ulf on January 7th, 2009 When we watched the sunrise from Mauna Kahalawai (the smaller one of the two Maui mountains) the day before, the Haleakala blocked our view. When we […]

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