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Driving up Haleakala: Worth it if not for the sunrise?

Driving up Haleakala: Worth it if not for the sunrise?

Old Apr 7th, 2010, 06:33 AM
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I wouldn't consider the road up to be dangerous and "extremely dangerous" is hyperbole.

We enjoyed our visit to Haleakala on our last day prior to catching our flight out. But not sure I'd consider it a must see either.
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Old Apr 7th, 2010, 06:51 AM
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have any of you driven the road to Haleakala at 3-4am when you don't know the road, its pitch black and you have other tourists that are sleep deprived and its an extremely windy road?

When the bicyclist are taking over part of the road and your going on a hairpin turn and there are cars that are already on the line, and you have a 100 foot drop and you have to decide, do I hit the bikes, the car or go off the cliff?

I say that going to the crater is a MUST see but go when you are rested and you can enjoy the scenery from sea level to higher altitude..some do get sick because of the severe climb.
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Old Apr 7th, 2010, 07:04 AM
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If you decide not to go to the top, you can take the drive south from Kula to the area of the Lavender Farm and the Tedeschi Winery. Gorgeous views of Maui and very interesting historical area.
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Old Apr 7th, 2010, 09:00 AM
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We actually did the drive to sunrise on Haleakala and totally enjoyed it. If you are coming from the eastern part of the US, you will be awake early the first and second mornings--at least we were. We left Kaanapali at 3:45 and were amazed at the stars that were everywhere. There is a line of cars heading up the mountain and I never thought it was at all dangerous or creepy and I am not brave. We actually didn't go all the way to the top but stopped at the Leleiwi Overlook--we got there at 5:30 am. There is a trail that leads to the viewing platform--it has a windblock. There were only about 6 other people there.

The crater filled with clouds and the stars disappeared and the sky became a glorious pink. The sun started rising up and was absolutely blinding. We took pictures and enjoyed the moment and then headed down to Rice Park where we met Marc Friezner, his wife and the rest of our biking group for breakfast(Aloha Bicycle Tours www.mauibike.com). You have none of the bike or car traffic since they are still at the top.

At about 9am, Marc drove us back up the mountain to the entrance of the park. By this time a lot of the bikers have already passed the entrance and we were able to take a leisurely ride down the mountain (some of the bike riding groups go crazy fast), stopping to take pictures, enjoying the fabulous scenery. We just rode with our teenagers and went at our own pace. Marc followed behind us in case we had any problems. We still talk about that ride--it was a really wonderful morning. The bike ride continued through the Ulupalakua Ranch and that part was a wonderful surprise--the road has beautiful views and we stopped several times before we finally arrived at the Winery for lunch.

I'd do it again.
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Old Apr 7th, 2010, 03:40 PM
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ksucat: [and you have a 100 foot drop and you have to decide, do I hit the bikes, the car or go off the cliff?]

Curious, which did you decide?

From what we observed, the bikes don't leave the top before daybreak - or at least not the day we were there. Since we were already parked, no problem. Then we strolled around enjoying the sites, hiked the first mile or so of Sliding Sands trail & left to go down at 9Am or so. It wasn't I-10 4-lane interstate, but it was a wide, well paved road with pullover areas. Actually, all the traffic was going up & there wasn't much of that even in our experience. So, no near misses here.

[have any of you driven the road to Haleakala at 3-4am when you don't know the road, its pitch black and you have other tourists that are sleep deprived and its an extremely windy road?]

Yes, we did leave around 3AM , and arrived to the top before daybreak. But, like I said before, we experienced none of the trepidation you describe. Careful, yes, as we had done our research & knew what to expect. But, scary - no way!
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Old Apr 7th, 2010, 03:52 PM
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A. It's not scary, especially if you're not doing it in the dark.
B. All you need is a sweatshirt if you go there during the daytime.
C. Make sure to stop at the protea farm on the road near the bottom - very cool. Protea are the flowers that look like they're make of feathers - many, many varieties that are exptremely unique and beautiful.
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Old Apr 7th, 2010, 04:08 PM
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If you don't want to wake up early, than go when it's lighted, but the drive up is nice and there are many places to stop and see on the mountain, not just the very top.
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Old Apr 7th, 2010, 04:21 PM
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LOL OSB..
I guess being in the islands for 40+ years I've read more of my share of accidents and have experienced way more than I want to..wasn't there someone on this board that did the bike tour and her husband was critically injured?
Love having lunch at the Kula Lodge, drinking wine at Tedeschi.
I love the crater and think it is a must see in Maui!
aloha
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Old Apr 7th, 2010, 04:42 PM
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Wow, LindainOhio, your description almost has me changing my mind...
And that's no hyperbole!
Thanks to all for a fairly evenly divided expressions of opinion (but, I think the "ayes" have it). To go, or not to go; that is the question.
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Old Apr 7th, 2010, 04:52 PM
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ksucat; I do remember at least one & I think a couple people discussing injuries while biking. If I recall correctly, Here_todaygone_2Maui (is that how she typed it?) shared about a nephew who failed to brake properly & went over a railing?

I shared a few emails with her back then but she no longer posts & I've lost the exchanges with past failed computers. Of course I could be getting the two posters stories confused.
The other involved someone's spouse, I believe. But, I don't recall other vehicles being involved. I think it was more the group of bikes being so close together. Though, I do remember the traffic WAS seen as a danger & discussed as such.

Most of the bikes I observed were in groups, sandwiched in between two tour company vans. I was very glad that I had not opted to do it. Because it just didn't look to be that great of an experience to me - though, I had considered it.

So, I guess that choice wasn't actually yours....Good to know you didn't have to make it!
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