We are on the move again! We are heading home to New Zealand to catch the summer rays and enjoy the company of friends and family. Flying such a long distance always allows us the opportunity to stop over and explore new places and one of my favourite stop over experiences has to be Hawaii, on the tropical island of Maui!
If I recall there was four us on this adventure – two of the Boyfriends old school mates had joined us for giant cocktails and lazy lounge chairs on the beach. The island of Maui offered us a lot more than that though and it came in the shape of bicycles!
The Boyfriend had read a tourist brochure about a cycle ride from the top of the impressive Haleakala volcano leading all the way to the ocean. It is stated that Mark Twain described the sunrise at the summit of Haleakala as the most sublimest spectacle he had ever seen.
We were all keen so we booked with the cycle company offering the ‘Sunrise – Summit to the Sea Tour’. The sunrise tour would mean our day would begin at 1am, but that factor slipped our minds. The excitement of whizzing down the side of a volcano on a bicycle was all we could talk about.
1am and pitch black. We fought sleep to stagger about like a bunch of sleepy giraffes wiping sleepy dust from our eyes. It was particularly nippy so we all squeezed on plenty of thermal layers. The roads were as quiet as mice as we drove to the tour office, only the noise of the car heater could be heard whirring while out the car window thousands of stars could be seen twinkling like jewels above.
At the tour office we were dressed up in over sized waterproof jackets, baggy trousers, thick gloves and even given motorcycle helmets. We wobbled about in the cold like overweight Santa’s. Once tested for our bicycle size, we happily piled into a mini bus and were taken up the volcano. Our helpful guide shouted out directions to help us on our return trip as we wove our way in the dark up the mountain.
As we weaved up the volcano the mini bus seemed to rock us all from side to side for what seemed like a life time. One of our mates fell asleep on the way up and miss all the safety instructions… At the summit of over 10,000ft the air was frightfully cold. Upon leaving the warmth of the mini bus it hit us like biting daggers. For everyone the walk to the viewing platform became more of a quick run.
The outline of the volcanic peaks could be seen against the faint light rays of the sun – it was a surreal landscape of pumice and raised peaks. The more the sun peeked out from under its cover the more crimson the rocks became.
The biting cold took hold and quickly pushed everyone into the small information hut. We all squashed inside like a tin of human sardines trying to stay warm.
Braving the outside in short periods we attempted the walk up a small steep path to a higher point above the information hut. Half way up the lack of oxygen in the air made me light-headed and had me gasping for breath. As I returned to the viewing platform the boys continued onwards and upwards.
The glamorous sky glowed as it slowly changed out of her dark black dress into a crisp blue one… beautiful. With the arrival of the sun we got back on the mini bus and were taken to the base of Haleakala National Park at 6,500 feet to begin our 23 mile downhill bike tour. We eagerly put on our motorcycle helmets, mounted our bicycles and began to roll down the side of this immense volcano in our baggy green waterproofs…
Here we go!….To be continued..