Day 4 - Ziplining, Haleakala Crater

We made reservations for ziplining with Skyline EcoAdventures at their Haleakala location. The reservations were for 10:30am, 10am check-in. If you go to this and are coming from Lahaina, it does not take 1 hr 45 min like their website says. It was closer to an hour. Fortunately we left late, like usual, and got there right on time. We stood around for like 15 min, and then probably around 10:15 the guides came over and started getting us into our ziplining gear and giving us a brief intro.

You start with a short, very easy walk through the woods. Then you come to your first, also short and easy, zipline. You have to walk up to it, stop, and squat to go on the first one. Not super exciting, but whatever. The second and third lines are also pretty tame. The fourth you get to walk for the start and it's quite a bit longer, which means more fun. You also get to cross a suspension bridge (I can't remember if it was after the 3rd or 4th line), which is cool but not too scary or anything.

And then comes the big finale. The 5th zip which is long, high up, and you get to run and jump to get going. This last one was tons of fun and made me wish that we could have just done it 5 times instead. You actually go to the end past the platform and up a little, and then swing back toward the middle of the line, and then on your way back down the guide stops you and lets you climb down a ladder. One guy in our group actually hit the stopper at the 2nd pole. Good thing they had the stopper or he would have just hit the pole!  Since it was our first time ziplining, I think it was fun, but if you're looking for big thrills you might want to choose a different location.

After the ziplining we drove back down the mountain about 15 min to get to Kula Lodge for lunch.  We got a table right in the corner. It had an amazing view of the slopes and middle part of Maui.  I ordered the ribs with a tropical mango BBQ sauce, and Tyler got a burger smothered in onions. I'd say the food was good, but not great. Still better than a plain old sandwich though.

Then we got back in the car and started making our ascent to the summit. We went to the top visitor's center so we could do the Sliding Sands Trail. It was pretty cold up at the top with the wind chill, even though it was only around 2pm.  The top is 10,000 ft, which is pretty high for anyone not used to altitude. A park ranger drove by as we were loading our water and snacks into our backpack and basically told us horror stories about not being down in the crater after the sun sets and making sure we listen to our bodies. He mentioned having a couple almost need to be airlifted out that morning from altitude sickness, and how most of the people they find dead down there are young people who didn't plan. Thanks for the pep talk! He also told us to plan to take 2-3x as long coming out of the crater as it took going down, and to make sure we were up by around 5 so we didn't get stuck down there when it was getting dark. So since it was about 2pm, I figured we could hike down an hour and then take 2 hours coming back up.

So we got started on the Sliding Sands trail. As soon as we left the visitors area and started heading downhill, we realized a few things: 1) altitude sucks, 2) wind sucks, 3) sliding sand sucks for walking on, and 4) this is not a pretty hike.  The view you get as soon as you start heading down is pretty much the view you have the entire trip. It is definitely a really neat thing to see, but as far as choosing to spend a few hours hiking in it, I didn't think that was really worth it. We got down about 2 miles and there is a 0.6 mi turn off to the first crater. It was about an hour in at that point, so we decided to just go to that crater and then turn around.  We got to that crater, took a few pictures, ate our snacks and then headed back up.  Now, we're definitely both in good shape compared to the average person, as we realized when we passed many people on our way up. But we're (or really, I'm) not in my best shape and we could have been going an even better pace if I had been. That 2-3x as long going back up that the ranger told us to consider? Yea, I think we actually made it up in less time than it took us going down. I'm still not sure how that happened. But what it did mean was that we still had about an hour until the sunset that we somehow had to fill.

We decided to drive down to the nearest lookout point and take pictures of the crater from there. That took maybe 15-20 min. So then we drove back up to the summit (above the highest visitor's center), and sat in our car to eat our picnic dinner (subs and chips from Safeway). It had gotten pretty chilly by that point, like in the 50's, so we opted to just wait in our warm car before the sun started doing anything. Once it started getting close to setting, we got out and went up to the windowed viewing building to stay out of the wind.  And then when it finally started making pretty colors we went out and started taking pictures. It was definitely a really beautiful sunset.

Once it got pretty close to being set, we started to head down in the hopes of getting part way down the mountain before dark. We got down a few more min and actually realized the spots there were even better to watch the sunset. We stayed there until the sun actually sank beneath the horizon. That was so cool to watch.

Then we made our long way back home and easily fell asleep as soon as our heads hit the pillow.

Skyline EcoAdventures Ziplining


Haleakala Sunset