On Day 2 of our Maui trip Jim & myself, Pop & Susie all piled into Pop’s rental car [Jim & I rented a Jeep which we decided we hated before even leaving the airport parking lot] and headed to Kula Botanical Garden & Haleakalā Volcano.  Unfortunately Auntie wasn’t feeling well, so she sat this trip out.  We missed you Auntie!!!

Haleakalā is a massive [dormant] shield volcano making up more than 75% of Maui.  The crater rises to 10,023 feet.  Kula Botanical Garden is on the slopes of Haleakalā at 3,300 feet.  It’s a decent day trip, as the drive from Lāhainā to Kula takes an hour, and the drive from Kula to the top of Haleakalā takes another hour up a very steep zig-zaggy road.  Jim & I had visited both sites in 2015, but Haleakalā was under heavy cloud cover & we saw nothing.  It was one of my biggest regrets from our first trip to Maui.  But not this time!!!

The Botanical garden was first:

       

There’s a strange little bug in the pink flower if you look closely:

       

Jim’s flowers:

      

Jim’s shots of me & Susie, and Pop:

      

Seeing a NeNe goose is always a treat:

       

Some of the flowers look very alien [aka that creepy white one – it reminds me of a Star Trek episode [or maybe Twilight Zone?] where the flowers shot spores into the astronauts faces and killed them]:

       

Then it was up the volcano to the top!  I took over 200 photos [206 to be exact, not including the pics I took at the Botanical Garden] because I was SO OVERJOYED that the weather was clear & sunny!  Last time we went it was pea soup fog and I wasn’t able to see any part of the crater.  It’s cold up there – we all brought sweatshirts/jackets.  I was so happy to learn we could see the Big Island of Hawaii from the top of Haleakalā!  Those 2 bumps out to sea are Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa – so cool:

I have tried to narrow down my photos to the bare minimum.  It was very hard.  It’s a total alien landscape up there:

       

Jim, Pop, & Susie next to the observation building – inside it tells you what you’re looking at.  There’s also an observatory on top of Haleakalā:

       

Total alien landscape:

       

       

       

       

Jim’s shots:

      

      

There was also this adorable little bird [which I’ve since learned is a chukar partridge] doing adorable little bird things in the parking lot:

       

We also got to see the very rare Silver Sword plant, which only grows on Haleakalā crater, and only above 7,000 feet:

       

As we were getting ready to leave, the mist started rolling in.  I’ll always be eternally thankful it held off as long as it did!!!:

       

As a funny aside, Jim’s coworker Glenn Sears went to Maui with his wife in August.  Jim got to work after Glenn left, & instead of seeing his zombie garden gnome [which I gave him as a gift years ago], he saw this note:

And then Glenn emailed Jim these pictures of the zombie gnome on top of Haleakalā!  LOL!!!

      

      

I can’t believe he got a park ranger/policeman to hold the gnome!  LOL…

I asked Jim “why didn’t we ever think of kidnapping the gnome and taking him on vacation?” LOL!!!  I’m glad Glenn and his wife [and the gnome] also enjoyed a clear day on Haleakalā!

Back in Lahaina we had a fabulous dinner [I can’t remember what or where, I just remember the amazing Mai Tai & the glass it came in]:

Then gathered with everyone else who wandered over to the pier to enjoy the sunset:

       

Stay tuned for Part 3 where we visited Maui Winery & took a ride on a submarine!

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4 Comments

  1. Turns out we did visit Kula Botanical Garden after all — I’d just forgotten the name. And aren’t those silver sword plants incredible? I kept looking for a facsimile in a gift store, but couldn’t find anything. I loved the moon landscape at Haleakala. Your post makes me want to go back!

    1. Nine Dark Moons

      cool! Kula is beautiful. Haleakala is amazing! I was so excited to see it without cloud cover. Dream come true! The silver swords are incredible – nothing like them anywhere else! You guys should totally go back 🙂

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