...So, that backpacking trip I went on last week....
(Click on the pictures for larger versions. Also, turn your heads for sideways pictures. I really can't be arsed to fix that.)
Haleakalā silversword, coolest plant ever and one of my favorites, ASGHSLF;KSLFJDS I JUST WANT TO HUG IT.
Pu‘u ‘Ulaula ("red hill"), the summit cone of Haleakalā ("the house of the sun"), and Haleakalā Observatory a.k.a. Science City, an astrophysical research complex. Day 1 was very misty. And by misty I actually mean cloudy, because we're talking 10,000 feet elevation here.
Looking back along Sliding Sands trail, the mist (clouds) obscuring our path.
...I like this rock. ^_^
As we descended Sliding Sands into Haleakalā Crater, the mists began to dissipate, revealing bits of the crater floor.
And the crater wall.
And the clouds continued to lift.
While the moon hung above.
Kūpaoa (Dubautia menziesii, Asteraceae), one of the most common plants in the crater. ...Strangely, within Haleakalā, kūpaoa and Haleakalā silversword hybridize, despite not belonging to the same genus. It's TOTALLY BIZARRE and botanists like to geek out about it.
Continuing along the trail.
With my mom, for scale.
This one's flowering.
Close-up of the flowers.
The group takes a break beneath a large māmane tree. (Well, large for Haleakalā Crater, anyway.)
Close-up of māmane flowers.
My family had way too much fun with the hitching post. I had a great deal of fun recording the human kinetic sculpture installment.
Kapalaoa Cabin, our home on the first night. Kapalaoa means "the whale tooth"... I wish I knew the origin of the name.
Someone has erected this very unusual lava formation in the front lawn.
Nēnē geeeeeeeeese~! :DD Our state bird, and an endangered species.
Day 2. ‘Iliahi, a sandalwood endemic to Hawai‘i.
This sandalwood tree, I like it. ♥ Plus bonus ‘a‘ali‘i.
Drama ‘a‘ali‘i is dramatic. :D
Pilo, a coffee relative. THIS ONE HAS SO MUCH FRUIT, OMG LOOK AT IT.
A native species of kupukupu, or sword fern.
The clouds are a bit higher today.
A native species of mistletoe, growing from a pukiawe bush at Oili Pu‘u. The pukiawe of Oili Pu‘u was heavily infected; almost every bush was host to at least one mistletoe, but I didn't see it growing on any other species. Curious.
View to the northwest from Oili Pu‘u, the path I would be taking tomorrow.
Close to camp now. The cliffs of Palikū have their heads in the mist.
Cliffs of Palikū, with cabin.
Palikū, featuring the notch leading to Kīpahulu, and the peak of Kūiki with its head in the clouds.
...Nēnē geeeeeeeeese~! Gander YB on the left there was a very fierce defender of his girlfriend and this lawn... other nēnē need not apply!
Palikū Cabin close-up. Sweet digs, eh?
This is the peak traditionally known by the Hawaiians as Haleakalā; the true summit of the Haleakalā volcano is Pu‘u Ula‘ula.
The day's hike was only 3.3 miles, so after lunch a few of us ventured part of the way down Kaupō Gap. ...There were more cliffs. Surprise!
Kukae nēnē... the name means "goose poop".
Drama tree. :D
A ravine. I like it.
Coming back up Kaupō Gap, Haleakalā with drama tree in front of it, Pu‘u Maile to the right and the ridge where we started our trip the day before just visible between them.
The Kīpahulu notch and Kūiki, clear to the summit if only briefly. This is the time of day my mother calls "the golden hour".
The golden hour gets more goldeny.
Oh, and then we decided to climb up the steep, slippery, very tall ravine to the Kīpahulu notch. The view of the crater was impressive.
As was the sunset behind Haleakalā. LENS FLARE~!
We made it back down to the crater floor without any death or getting lost in the darkness, yay! The old folks were slow and I waited for them in the pasture. I passed the time watching the antics of the nēnē and observing the moonrise in the notch.
Day 3 was gorgeous, stunningly clear and not a cloud in the sky... well, not at our elevation anyway. Kaupō Gap afforded us a view of the Big Island, and, wow. Mauna Kea with a bit of snow, the entire Kohala Coast, Mauna Loa, Hualalai (and vog in Kona, *snicker*). HAVE YOU EVER SEEN SUCH A BEAUTIFUL AND MAGNIFICENT ISLAND. I FUCKING THINK NOT. (Bias doesn't make it not true.)
Looking forward along the trail.
Zoom-in from the same perspective, featuring a system of dikes that I like to call "the dragon bones". (With Pu‘u Ulaula and Sliding Sands in the background, oh hey, I hiked down that.)
Most of the party had gone on ahead; Mom and Uncles Ivan and Gary and I were trailing behind, taking photographs and theorizing on botany and geology. We saw a sign reading "Unmaintained Trail". Naturally, we decided to follow it!
Hey, wow, the view's rather nice from up here!
Hanaka‘uhi, which translates to "maker of the mists". Goddamn but I love how poetic the Hawaiian language is.
We required MORE VIEW, so we climbed to the summit of Pu‘u Māmane (featuring actual māmane trees; aptly named!). Hōlua, Leleiwi Pali ("bone altar cliff"), and the Ko‘olau Gap. Through the binoculars we were able to spy on the other members of our party, recently arrived at Hōlua Cabin. Bwaha.
View of Sliding Sands and cinder cones.
Hanaka‘uhi. The hill all covered in bushes is Pu‘u Māmane.
Pele's Paint Pot.
Close-up of kūpaoa, featuring the neat six-pointed leaf arrangement (I also saw some with four-pointed arrangements).
Hanaka‘uhi, with cinder cones.
Pele's Pig Pen, a spatter rampart that blew out on one side.
View of the Pig Pen from the side, with Mom and Uncle Ivan for scale.
View from inside the Pig Pen, down the lava channel.
Pele's Pig Pen is a very nice natural shelter... it even has a window!
Now entering an area my mother and I call the Plains of Gorgoroth. :3
Moonrise over Hanaka‘uhi. ...I was on a moonrise kick this trip.
Plains of Gorgoroth, inexplicable rock wall, Pu‘u Māmane, Hanaka‘uhi, moon.
Plains of Gorgoroth, cinder cones.
The golden hour at Ko‘olau Gap, and shadows are swallowing Hōlua and the Leleiwi Pali.
Hanaka‘uhi with moon. Again.
Day 4: the pre-dawn light casting Hanaka‘uhi in silhouette. We've wandered uphill from our cabin to where the tent campground and ranger cabin are, for the best possible view of the sunrise.
Sunrises at this elevation are actually not always, strictly speaking, very exciting. The air is thin, so the sun and sky are not always very impressively colored, and there are no clouds to reflect the light. But at Hōlua, before the sun rises enough to hit you, if you turn around you get this:
And the Sliding Sands are set on fire.
As the sunlight crawls down the cliffs, Kalani climbs an alluvial fan to meet the sunrise early. ...Cheater.
For the duration, mom and I chanted "E Ala E", a traditional sunrise chant that aids the sun in its climb over the horizon. It involves a specific clapping rhythm, and the following is repeated until the sun comes up: E ala e / Ka lā i ka hikina / I ka moana / Ka moana hohonu / Pi‘i ka lewa / Ka lewa nu‘u / I ka hikina / Aia ka lā / E ala e! (Rise up / The sun is in the east / In the ocean / The deep ocean / Climbs to the sky / The great height of the sky / In the east / There is the sun / Rise up!)
Our chanting is successful! :D
Close-up of the large dike in the alluvial fan above us, with Kalani and Lorin for scale. ...As Margaret Cho's mother would say, WHAT A DIKE!!
Wandering back down to our cabin; the golden hour in reverse.
The cave behind our cabin. It has a name, but I don't know it, and Mom's gone to sleep so I can't ask her. : \
DARK SCARY CAVE ENTRANCE IS DARK AND SCARY. There are ancient Hawaiian burials in this cave, as there frequently are in Hawaiian caves, so I respectfully did not enter, and left the offering of a flower at the cave mouth.
After a leisurely breakfast and some dicking around, we departed on the last segment of our trek. This is what Halemau‘u Trail looks like, with tiny person.
Looking back (and very very far down) on the flattish bit of Halemau‘u Trail, and the wee speck that is Hōlua Cabin.
Cousin Liko and the Ko‘olau Gap.
This arrangement of ‘ama‘u ferns and ‘ōhelo bushes was just too pretty. So much red!
Stunningly clear down the Ko‘olau Gap. THIS NEVER HAPPENS.
Geranium cuneatum, another of my favorite native plants. This picture isn't the best example, but this plant, like the silversword, is covered with little fuzzy silver hairs, and is startlingly silver. So beautiful, guh. T_T
The view from our lunch spot was not only panoramic, it was IMAX wraparound. ...Panorama sequence GO!
Hanaka‘uhi... with bonus Lorin!
/panorama, /Haleakalā, /giant photodump. ...BEST TRIP EVER.