By: Paul S. Cilwa Viewed: 1/20/2020
Posted: 5/16/2011
Topics/Keywords: #Maui #Hawaii #Haleakala #HaycraftBeachPark Page Views: 1383
Jason and I finally get off the summit of Mount Haleakala.

It was a cold night. Even in the camper, even with Jason and me snuggling together, it was a cold night at the top of Mount Haleakala, Maui's highest mountain. Once, I had to get up to go to the restroom and was startled to find the clouds that, by day, constantly hide the summit of Haleakala from the ground, had cleared, revealing a patchwork of lights on the isthmus far below. But it was even colder outside than in, and I hurried back as quickly as I could to the relative warmth of our bed and Jason's arms.

In the morning, hopefully, we would be able to call the camper company and get them to drive all the heck up here with a replacement for the broken camper key.

We awoke around 8, and, thinking that the Visitors' Center would open at 9, took our time dressing and enjoying a breakfast of bananas and banana bread bought the day before from a roadside stand.

Finally, we sauntered to the Visitors' Center and found it had been open at 6 am. But the camper rental company wouldn't have been open then, anyway. The park ranger called for us and left a message, and we spent an hour waiting for a reply (and making several more calls). Finally, we got through, and the camper guy agreed to send someone up to the summit with a couple of spare keys. Which, obviously, was going to take awhile. So I took a few photos of the "caldera" which isn't really a caldera, as Haleakala is ancient and actually two adjacent volcanoes, whose calderas eroded away eons ago. The depression at the summit is thought to be a hollow between the two former peaks. Whatever it is, though, it is hauntingly beautiful, with colors that shift as the sun moves overhead.

The depression at the summit of Mount Haleakala. The depression at the summit of Mount Haleakala.

Just before noon, Jason and I returned to the camper where Jason cooked lunch.

Jason cooked lunch in the camper.

We were still eating when the guy showed up with the spare keys. We wouldn't let him leave before testing them, but they worked perfectly. So as soon as we had gulped down our meal, we started the engine and resumed our trip, half a day late but not regretting spending the extra time in this special place.

The clouds had already formed below the summit as we headed to lower altitudes.

Clouds form below the summit of Haleakala.

We hadn't planned a lot of specific activities on Maui, preferring to see what came up. However, we had planned two for Tuesday: A snorkeling trip and a luau. The snorkeling trip was scheduled for very early in the morning, so we needed to position ourselves near the marina from which the boat would depart. Thanks to the GPS, the marina was easy to find. And, across the street from it, was an ice cream shop that served the delicious Haupia ice cream, which of course Jason and I each had to have.

But there were no obvious campsites nearby. One possibility, Haycroft Beach Park, had a shower (yay!!) but did not allow camping.

Jason at Haycroft Beach Park.

Nevertheless, Jason went for a swim before we showered.

Jason takes a dip at Haycroft Beach Park.

Like all beaches in Maui, this one has a beautiful view in addition to the delightful water. And, like many, this one was nearly deserted. You'll never see a beach like this on Oahu!

Haycroft Beach Park, with Haleakala in the background.

But we couldn't stay there, and night was fast approaching. I finally suggested a beach campground I'd stayed at two years ago, Papalaua Beach. It was dark and quiet when we got there, not crowded as it had been on my previous stay. We raised the roof of the camper and opened the back to let the ocean breeze caress us, and held each other above the blankets. It was hard to believe, only the night before and a few aerial miles away, we had been freezing our butts off! But now, we were at a place that "seems" more Maui: Comfortable year-round temperatures, cool enough to sleep and even embrace one's loved one, yet warm enough to do so without blankets.

We fell asleep to the sound of each other's breathing, mixed with the falling of ocean breakers just a few feet away.