Haleakalā National Park peaks at an elevation of 10,023 feet and covers 33, 265 acres or 134.62 square kilometers of Maui island. I've included a map to put the massiveness of the park into perspective. The blue line in the top left corner shows the two-hour route that my mother and I walked. The (unfriendly) lady at the information center told us that with the amount of water we had, we should only go twenty minutes in and allow forty minutes to come back. Without any way of telling the time, we went with our gut instincts and made out perfectly fine. The walk back up the loose terrain was tough and I was very proud of my mom who did it (somewhat) with ease!
Haleakalā in Hawaiian means "house of the sun" and the legendary story says that the demigod Maui captured the sun with intentions of lengthening the day, only releasing the sun once it promised to move more slowly across the sky. Visitors flock to the park for sunrise, sunset, hiking and camping. Permits allow campers to sleep inside the crater with tents or if room permits, there are a few 12-person cabins. What an adventure that would be!
Although we only made a small dent into the crater, I was blown away by the sunrise and the scenery of Haleakalā. When it came time to leave, I was stunned once again by the beauty of the windy ride down the mountain — we drove the 38 miles up to the summit at 4:30AM in complete blackness! I don't know if time will allow me another trip to Haleakalā National Park but I have placed it on my list of things to do again!