For our first true camping adventure, we decided the best place was inside the crater of a dormant volcano.
Our campsite is over 7,000 feet above sea level. There is about a 4 mile hike between us and our destination; wherein the first mile, there is a 1,000 foot elevation change. This would sound okay if we weren’t lugging 25 lbs. of gear on our backs. What appears to be fog rolling in about every 15 minutes is actually cloud cover being blown in from the northeast. We wake up at 5:30AM one morning and see the sunrise from above the clouds. We wake up around 4AM another morning to see a sky littered with stars; so many that the constellations are impossible to find. We find out that the little tank of propane doesn’t fit our stove, so all we have to eat are peanuts and granola and no soup.
About 6 miles away is the other campsite that we were supposed to stay at the second night, but our shoulders decide they don’t feel like carrying all of our gear that far. So, we make a 13 mile round trip day hike to the campsite instead. Walking through the park is like being on Mars, or the Moon, or a desert, or a combination of all of those things. There are huge mountains of black rock and sand. The way the lava has cooled in some parts, you could almost see how it spilled out of the earth. On about mile 7, on our way back to camp, we’re wishing teleportation was possible. Our whole bodies are aching and there is practically no shade to be found. But we made it out alive and feel relatively accomplished.
The hikes can be a little strenuous, but the rest is absolutely worth it. Haleakala has to be one of the most peaceful places on Earth. It’s a great place to hang loose.