52 States in 8 Months

Sunrise on Haleakala

Posted in Hawaii by Ulf on January 7, 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 watched the sunset from the top of Haleakala on the preceding evening, the observatory stood in the way. Therefore we decided to once again get up early on November 27th. We arrived at the 10,000 ft lookout site at about 6am. It was a really strange feeling: The rocks we walked on were really dark while the sky was already illuminated :-).

We could see the Mauna Loa and the Mauna Kea on the Big Island very well. Although Mauna Kea seems to be way taller (on the right-hand side of the second picture), Wikipedia says that Mauna Kea is less than 40m higher than Mauna Loa.

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As you can imagine it was quite cold on top of the Haleakala. Everyone of us put on as much clothing as possible, that means as much clothing as we had. This included wearing our sleeping bags :-). We were really happy when we caught the first glimpse of direct sunlight.

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Don’t you think Ania looks a bit like an Arab Bedouin on the third picture? I bet we could have taken almost the same picture in the dunes of the Sahara ;-).

We also took another picture which reminded me a bit of the Near East. In English they actually call them the “Kings of the East”, and today (as of writing this) is even Epiphany (January 6th):


Within the next minutes (or well… half an hour), it got really bright on top of the mountain. However, it took some time until we defrosted and started running around again.

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Most other parts of the island were still shadowed by Haleakala. That’s probably why we were not the only ones on the mountain peak. Actually the number of spectators for sunrise was about two or three times larger than the number of spectators for the sunset on the evening before.

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We also watched the Mauna Kahalawai slowly treading out of the shadow. If you have a really close look, you’ll notice a battery of wind power stations on the second picture :-).

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