Maui, Part I - Haleakala Skies

In July 2016 we enjoyed a home exchange trip and stayed in a wonderful home on East Maui near Kula. The Kula area is known as "upcountry" because it's at higher elevation (almost 3,500') on the slopes of Haleakala. Here's a view from the lanai of "our home."

View from Kula, looking towards West Maui
Be sure to click on each photo to see a larger version!

We spent a month here and had family and friends stay with us part of the time. During our stay, we enjoyed all the "standard" activities on the island, including scenic drives, hiking, beaches, sunrises, sunsets, night sky, birdwatching, ziplining, and more!

This will be a multi-part blog post featuring some of our favorite photos from the trip.

Haleakala National Park was a favorite place for us to explore and was only 30-45 minutes from our house. We made about 8 trips up there during our trip! And we did a pretty major hike down into the Haleakala "crater" too.

Looking down into the Haleakala "crater"

Since the summit of Haleakala is above 10,000 feet, and the air is so clear in this isolated part of the Pacific, there are several observatories and space-tracking facilities on the summit.

Military space tracking facilities near the summit of Haleakala

Because of the big views from Haleakala, which is often above the clouds, it's a very popular place to go for sunrise and sunset.

On the night we went up for sunset, the full moon was rising just a few minutes before the sun went down.

Moonrise before sunset. Note the pointy shadow of Haleakala center-right 

Clouds and ocean view from Haleakala just before sunset

Definitely a popular spot

Sunset, with West Maui mountains

Once the sun goes down, Hawaii's remoteness in the Pacific makes it an excellent dark sky location. We drove up late one night with no moon and the moment we got out of the car we could clearly see the band of the Milky Way and Galactic Center.

Milky Way over our car at Haleakala

View to the west

Milky Way with greenish airglow near the horizon

Our night sky experience was really good, especially since almost no one was up there. But when we returned another day for sunrise, we were shoulder to shoulder with others who got up early to watch the show. We had another very fortunate experience with the moon, too, as it rose in the east just before the sun.

Pre-dawn skies with the summit parking lot almost full!

Pre-dawn rise of the crescent moon

We were shoulder-to-shoulder with other sunrise observers

Another shot of the crescent moon just before sunrise


1 comment:

  1. Yup, still more superb photography, I can't stop browsing your blogs. We can commiserate with your discovery of cabin closure due to ant baiting.... same thing hapened to us in New Zealand one day as we drove about 5 am to the top of the west coast to get to the arches only to discover the road closed due to 1080 baiting to control possum.