Haleakalᾱ volcano rises 10023 ft above the Pacific Ocean and occupies almost half of the Maui Island of Hawaii. The geologic history of Haleakalᾱ is estimated to have begun a million years ago, around the time of woolly mammoth and saber tooth tigers! It comprises of colourful cinder cones scattered throughout the valley floor. The most recent eruption took place in 1802. This volcano is considered to be an active but currently non-erupting volcano.
I got a chance to see this place a few years back. It is a matchless heaven weathered and coloured over time. The rains have oxidized the earth and the winds have emphasized the cinder cones! When I actually got to the summit, I wondered what was so good about this volcano. I hardly saw the cinder cones and the lush bright colors of the soil! We were told to hike up a trail to experience it for ourselves. Therefore, we started trudging towards what we really hadn’t anticipated.
For the first half hour, the landscape did not change much. The only thing we noticed was black and brown rubble and some mysterious spiky silver plants. They were strangely eerie and a bit scattered. This species of plant is called Silversword which had leaves covered with silver hairs. Apparently, the skin and hair are strong enough to resist the wind and freezing temperature of this altitude and protect the plant from dehydration and the sun. So basically, this is what got me excited, just observing these silver loners against the mysterious shades of browns.
Feeling the cool winds, studying the landscape and walking on rubble suddenly led us to this spectacular sight, another world, with its view of a cinder cone perched in the middle of nowhere with gleaming reds, browns, yellows and blacks!! That was some feeling, a feeling so mystifying that I wanted to salute the mother Earth to hold such beauty! Now our pace progressed enormously. We were told that there are many such cinder cones, and as of now, we only saw one! We couldn’t wait to see the rest. Slowly, one by one, the others started treading in. And then, it was an ocean of big and small cinder cones stretched across the valley. We were bolted from the blue to see the colour and contrast of the changing landscape! We climbed the first one and just sat admiring the mystical view for I don’t know how much time. The clouds came and went, I think it also drizzled a bit, the sun changed the colours once again but each time it looked as magnificent as ever!
What I am going to quote is often said my the people of Maui that clouds in and around the summit of Haleakalᾱ carry whispers of another time. It is said that the demigod of Maui fished Haleakalᾱ and all the Hawaiin volcanoes from the sea, pulling them up and flinging his fishhook to the heavens. On clear nights, the fishhook of Maui, now the Scorpio, can still be seen in the sky from the summit of Haleakalᾱ.
A small Slides Show to see the rest of the Haleakala World of Volcanoes