I have a new appreciation for surfers. I used to think surfing was a sport for those wanting action and exhilaration. I now realize it is a true athletic activity. I tell you, surfing is one tough sport. We are all very strong swimmers and yet we couldn't handle more than the couple hours the lesson allowed (although I fully admit none of us are athletic, except Scott). I would find myself so excited about riding a wave all the way to shore and my mind would yell "Rae Ann, you better fall or you will have to paddle yourself all the way back out again!"
|This is the best photo of me. The ones of me on the water look like I'm taking a crap, on a surf board, in the middle of the ocean.|
At the end of our lesson I asked Kelly for tips on getting to the sunrise over Haleakala. She said, "I'm not sure why everyone focuses on the sunrise. I love the sunset." The four of us looked at one another and instantly knew we would love it as well. As I've mentioned before, we are not morning people. So we shifted our plans. On the drive back to the villa we started talking about our plan to get showered, eat lunch, pack up and be on the road within one hour, which would get us to the peak before the National Park Visitor Center closed. We went into planning mode. Paradis calculated out how long it would take us to do everything, Annelies assigned us jobs, I wrote down the plan and Scott quietly drove while nodding his head in agreement. It is times like this that I realize we are probably not normal travelers, but I just love this group. We were back in the Jeep seven (7) minutes ahead of schedule.
We drove about an hour-and-a-half to Haleakala National Park. Yes, this was taken with my selfie stick.
The drive up Haleakala is the steepest climb, within the shortest amount of distance, in the world. The peak is at 10,023 above sea level and it only takes you 33 miles to get there. Haleakala means "House of the Sun". According to legend, the demigod Maui roped the sun and forced it to shine in this place longer than anywhere else on the island (research has confirmed that the mountain does enjoy an average 8 minutes more sunlight than the rest of the island). It was a beautiful drive. We were so high above sea level and yet it was still warm (around 65°).
|Annelies always finds these strange looking booths fascinating.|
|Summit of Haleakala.|
Notice Annelies is not in the group summit photo above. Since our goal was to the see the sunrise at 6:47pm, and the Visitor Center closed at 3:00pm, we knew we would have a couple hours to simply enjoy one another and the beautiful views. Annelies was not looking forward to the lack of WiFi. In other words, it isn't us she really enjoys. I'm marking it down as a fight - not sure we fought, but it wasn't pleasant. The girls read (Annelies is almost done with her required book for school, so I'm calling that unpleasant experience a success) and rested. I knit. Scott read through the Jeep Owners Manual.
|Resting in the Jeep|
|Scott and I Hangin' Ten while Annelies complains about no Wi-Fi.|
Around 5:30pm I set up my camera to take a photo of the sunset every 10 minutes. Someone moved it. So Paradis, Scott and I went over and babysat it (notice it to the right of Paradis). These are moments no $500 tourist trap can capture between a teenager and her parents.
You can view a 30 second video of our sunset photos here. It doesn't even begin to capture the beautiful view. We have seen many, many sunsets. This was by far my favorite. Another great day in Hawaii.
Day Six: Gas $30 ($39.55 total); Lodging $428.50 ($2,019.36 total); Souvenirs $100 ($115.90 total); Tourist Traps $363.60 ($369.60 total); Fights 1 (1 total). || Airfare for entire trip: $8,470.08 (of which $7,228.08 was free, using miles). Car Rental for entire trip: $469.76. Note: I'm not tracking driving miles, Redbox rentals or states (2 total) for this trip.