If you have a look at different travel guides a must see always mentioned is the Haleakala. It‘s very popular to experience the sunrise on the summit, even if it means to get up in the middle of the night and you also need to catch the right weather. We were very lucky, since we had a clear night with the most spectacular view of millions of stars. Even better, we actually got the see the sun rise, which is not that often because of the clouds hanging around.
To see the sunrise also means that you have to make a reservation in advance. There is only a limited number of cars that are allowed to go up to the summit between 3 and 7 a.m. each morning. First we had a reservation one week before we actually made it up to the summit. Because of some bad weather forecasts we decided not to take the risk to get up so early and then being disappointed. Instead we continued to check the weather forecast to get the perfect conditions for a beautiful sunrise and that was quite clever because we had very good conditions. Up in 3000 meter height at 6:00 a.m. means that it is freezing cold and with the wind up there it feels even colder (it was 6°C but if the coldest you get at night at sea level is over 20°C this feels again colder 😉). It‘s also a good advise to climb a few meters higher than the vista point behind the parking lot. There it wasn’t as crowded and windy. You also had a great view without any people standing in the way.
A little bit surprising for us was the fact that we got a bit dizzy. Usually one would not expect that on 3000 meters but since we started on sea level a few hours before, we could really feel the altitude. We had read about it in advance and were prepared that the kids might not feel good but our youngest was feeling very well.
After sunrise most people hurry back to their cars and then it got really peaceful. We enjoyed a small picnic before we drove up the the summit which is a few meters higher than the „sunrise spot“. It was quite clear so that we could even see Big Island from there. So is it really worth getting up at two o’clock in the morning to drive there and to freeze to your bones? Yes it‘s worth it! So, if you ever have the chance to go there and the weather conditions are appropriate you should definitely go for it. Here are some impressions:
Mark Twain described the sunrise as “the sublimest spectacle I ever witnessed, and I think the memory of it will remain with me always.” That’s it 🤙😀