Yeah, we were up at about 4:30am. Our bodies had no idea what time it was… I took a walk out to the deck and it was like I was immersed in a relaxation CD. There were tropical birds chirping while a gentle wind blew through the trees and wind chimes softly rung off in the distance. Simply amazing. We woke up to this audio sound track every day.
We lounged about for a bit, and then it was time to build the bikes and plan our day. As for the first trip with the travel bikes, I have to say, the whole disassembly and assembly process is pretty quick and easy. I’ll make a few changes for next trip (for example, I spent WAY too much time trying to untangle the chains—next time, I’ll just take ‘em off).
After getting a little lost, we made our way down some winding narrow roads to Paia. A group of “ride down the mountain cyclists” passed us… Oy. If there was ever an activity I wanted no part in, it’s that. I got my official Hawaiian shirt in Paia, and had a great lunch at the fish market. We supported the local economy with some shopping, then it was time to point the Torrent back up the mountain to the top of Mount Haleakala.
Interestingly, you can go from sea level to the top of the mountain, which is just over 10,000ft, in about 40 miles—making it one of the only places in the world that you can go so high so quickly. I would have loved to attempted this on the bike, but I fear I know how it would have ended, and no one would want to see an out of shape mainlander crying on the side of the road begging to the volcano gods for forgiveness.
The drive was pretty epic as it was, passing through the “mountain lea” a band of clouds that obscures the peak of the mountain from view below. At the top of the volcano, a wide landscape that seems more Martian than Earthly opens up before you, with cinder cones, volcanic rock, and lingering clouds interspersed with the ancient geologic formations. We hiked out on the sliding sands trail to one of the cinder cones… the trail was incredible with expansive vistas, eerie quiet, random bits of tenacious life and two random hippies from California, one who spent lots of time trying to tie the bottoms of her shorts up. The view from the very top was incredible—looking down on the clouds is something that I’ve previously only done from a small airplane window.
Finally, it was time to retrace our steps and make our way back down the narrow, winding mountain road to our perfect cottage.