Haleakala Sunrise

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One of Maui's most visible attractions is the Haleakala National Park. It is one of the most outstanding places to watch a sunrise. It’s a two hour drive up the very curvy and steep road to the top of Mt. Haleakala. It gets very cold and often gusty at the summit. The temperature drops 3º for every 1000 feet of elevation, so at the Haleakala Visitor Center’s 9,740-foot elevation (where most people watch the sunrise) it’s about 30º colder than at sea level, temperatures are often in the 40-degree range. Visitors bundle in blankets; some put on several layers of clothing when visiting the site because of the cold weather. Everyday hundreds of visitors and locals drive up to Haleakala and gather to welcome the day. Arriving before sunrise is essential, it allows you time for meditation and just to appreciate what stands before you. Watching the sunrise from the summit of this mountain is a remarkable experience. The colors of the sky as the actual sunrise approaches are incredible, it is amazingly beautiful. The clouds spread out below you like a second layer of ocean. The streaks of light flash across the sky, as the sun cooks the cloud to a rosy, blush pink, then a burnt orange, and then a fiery red as it rises. The sun rose above the outlying mountain edge and it begun to shine into what seemed to be a crater and the splendor that makes Haleakala such a magnificent sight to behold slowly came into view. The scenery-profoundly sculpted, splendidly colored, and extremely evocative, it was unlike any landscape I’ve seen before. Visually wide, the summit area repeatedly eludes any endeavor to understand its level or magnitude. Haleakala Crater resembles the surface of the moon or, more likely, Mars with its red hue. This is truly an awe-inspiring experience. Haleakala means "house of the sun" in Hawaiian. Early Hawaiians, however, applied the name only to the summit area, the site where ancient Hawaiian myths tells how their demigod Maui snared the...
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