Wow, another amazing day is over and this time my whole body is so sore! A 12 mile hike is nothing to play with. And just so you know, 12 miles is approximately 20 kilometers. We started by driving up the big volcano, driving past the clouds by 4,000 feet up to an elevation of 10,000 feet (3000m). It was crazy being that far above the clouds! So the hike went like this. We started at 10,000 feet elevation. Hiked down into the crater to 7,000 feet, then through the crater and then up to an elevation of 8,000 feet where we got in the car and drove up to 10,000 feet again to watch the sunset above the clouds.
The first four miles were downhill 3,000 feet. And that was actually hard. It wasn’t super steep, but it was all sand so it was hard to walk. The second four miles was at the bottom of the crater and that landscape was otherworldly. It seriously looked like Mars!! All red and black sand, and big lava rocks everywhere. So amazingly cool! The last four miles were uphill and I thought they were gonna kill me. Our guide said that the “small” and flat uphill in the crater was just the warmup for the last four miles. That hill killed my calves so bad so I was afraid I wouldn’t make the last bit, but it was no problem at all. That last part was uphill all the time up the crater’s side but it was rocky and it was more climbing than walking. So I did fine! But at the end, the last 0.7 miles I saw the parked cars way up there and that’s when my thighs really started hurting! So typical, right at the end they start to give up. But I made it! And when I came up I totally fell down on the asphalt. The world were spinning around so bad. I did a little stretching and then waited in the car for the rest of the group to finish the hike.
When everyone was done we drove up to the top again to watch the sunset. It was ridiculously cold! I had one tank top (which I was hiking in and that was perfect, it was warm with a breeze, perfect hiking weather), one long sleeved t-shirt and two hoodies. I was like a Michelin man. I had Capri tights on and a towel wrapped around my legs up there and I wasn’t very cold actually. It wasn’t super cold, but maybe 7C? Sometimes there is snow up there because it’s so cold. And it makes sense with the high altitude.
To watch the sunset above the clouds was an experience! It looked like a big snow landscape. There are always clouds over the Hawaii islands and it got more during the evening. So we saw the sun disappear behind the clouds instead of the water. It was cool! But I was so happy when it was completely set so we could go back to the warm van and go back to the hostel.
Back at the hostel I sat in the hot tub for so long. Maybe 1.5 hours? It wasn’t as warm as two days ago when I almost fainted after, but today it was perfect and all the muscles were softening. It was awesome! A big party even if most of us were exhausted from the hike.
The hollows of my knees hurt so bad right now and I can imagine my butt and thighs are gonna hurt tomorrow. It’s a good thing the tour tomorrow starts at 1pm and is just gonna be a beach party with beach volleyball among other things. Now I really need to get to sleep, I’m sooo tired… like all the other days, except more tonight…
Our awesome tour guides, Marcos and Kaitlin. At the same level as the clouds at 6,000 feet elevation. Me, Caroline and our roommate Sabrina. The Haleakala crater from above. The protected “Silversword plant” that only blooms once and then dies. The world’s end! Lots of lava rocks! The last four miles started here! Still in a good mood :). The sunset from above the clouds :).
The crazy road down the crater!