Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Take Me To The Volcano!

"Take Me To The Volcano!"
This is another favorite movie line, from "Joe Versus The Volcano". If you haven't seen it, go find it on Netflix, or Ebay, or somewhere. It is a must-see-before-you-die movie.
Before I get to todays installment of the Maui Chronicles, I need to backtrack.
Over three years ago we brought our three kids to Maui for a Thanksgiving vacation trip. We had a great time. I had been waiting years for the opportunity to use the "Maui is what bwings us togethow today" line on them, and I did as soon as we were in the rental car heading away from the Maui airport. The kids rolled their eyes and groaned at my Mama Joke. But they couldn't hide the fact that they were excited too.
The next day we dragged them out of bed very early to drive up to the top of Haleakala, a 10,000 foot tall volcano, to see the sunrise. As soon as we got everyone in the car and pulled out of the parking lot, I turned to them and said, "TAKE ME TO THE VOLCANO!" in the same vocal inflection Tom Hanks used in saying that line in the movie. More eye rolls and groans, some muttering and murmuring, then they got back to the business of going back to sleep until we got to the top.
Now I need to refer back to the first time Mike and I had been to Maui back in 1996. My sister and her husband had won a drawing for 10 days in a 2 bedroom condo on Maui and they invited us to join them. Trading in frequent flyer miles got us there, and we had a great time. We loved going from snowy winter to warm beaches. We also got up at 4 a.m. one morning to go see the sunrise at the top of Haleakala. It was still dark when we got to the top and found one last parking spot in the parking lot. We all jumped out to hurry over to the view point to get the first glimpse of sun. Within a few seconds we had all jumped back in the car. It was beyond freezing outside. It was colder than I had ever experienced. I hadn't even felt this kind of cold when we lived in Minnesota, and I lost feeling in three of my toes while living there. We didn't have any warm clothes, just our swimsuits and light clothing over them so we could go snorkeling later. We started digging around in the car for anything we could wrap around us to keep from turning into popsicles. We managed to endure the cold long enough to realize that the clouds were covering up the sunrise, and we were not going to see it.
So we had prepared the kids for that kind of cold. We told them about our first experience there. We told them we could still feel the bitter cold just by remembering it. We told them to bring every piece of clothing they had packed, and layer it all on until we could see the sunrise and rush back to the car. We told them and told them and told them that we were trying to prepare them so they would survive this great experience and thank us for it later.
We got to the top, braced ourselves, and got out of the car to fairly cool, but not bitter cold weather. We were actually over-insulated.
My kids looked at me with the "Is this another one of your 'I had to walk to school uphill, both ways, in the snow, in July because this was before summer vacation was invented' stories that you tell us all the time but which we will never believe because we know better now?" look that they have been giving me more frequently each year.
Oh the fickleness of the volcano.
We had a good time anyway, and saw a gorgeous sunrise.
This time Mike and I went in the afternoon. We went to see the huge crater, not the sunrise. Went to a lookout point before the summit. The whole view was covered in fog. We had been told to wait if it was foggy because it would clear. We waited. I said, "Volcano, reveal yourself!" It cleared. It was stunning and gigantic. I think I counted 7 large cinder cones almost lost in the middle of this massive crater. We decided to hike down the trail to the crater that was nearest the edge, just to look into it. We thought it would take about an hour.
Silly us.
The fog rolled back in and covered the crater, trail and everyone on the trail. We passed hikers and trail horses that were coming out, breathing hard and covered in droplets of cold dew. We kept going. I had an altitude headache. Even though I live in Colorado, I have not hiked above 9,000 feet. That's Mike's job. I have bicycled up to 11,000, but that is different. At that time, I turned around and road back down before the altitude could get to me.
I didn't like the thought that I was hiking down, and that meant I would have to climb back up. But the really hard thing was hiking in the fog. Visibility was only about 30 feet, and nothing grows up there. I felt like we were lost on a lunar surface in a dense mist. For a few minutes, the cold wind blew away the fog on the sides of the crater, but not in the crater. We couldn't tell if the first cinder cone was 100 feet or 100 miles away. After an hour, we turned around and hiked back out. 1 1/2 hours later, back at the summit, we looked into the crater again as the fog rolled away to reveal it all again. It is impressive, to see such dramatic landscape, and also look around and see the entire island of Maui, and other islands many miles away. Even with the fog, and altitude and hike, it was worth the experience.
Now, take me to the beach.
More of paradise tomorrow.

1 comment:

camille said...

been there done that. why do we repeat things in our lives dont we learn the first time.