One of the coolest things I did in Hawaii – or maybe in my entire life to date – was to drive to the top of Haleakalā, a massive shield volcano that makes up more than 75% of Maui. It took hours to get to the top of the crater, switching back and forth slowly up the side (emphasis on slowly – those turns were not for the faint of heart). But what we saw at the 10,000 foot top made the dizzying drive worthwhile.
It was like being on another planet – Mars, specifically. I lost all depth perception in the sweeping hills of red and black dust. Rocks looked like I could reach out and touch them, when in reality, they were miles away.
We didn’t stay up there too long – we were originally going to watch the sunset, but decided it wasn’t worth driving down in the dark. We did catch a glimpse of the splendor on the way down, but it was really the scene from the top that stuck with me the most. It was a breathtaking reminder of just how unexpectedly awesome a view can be – and how worthwhile it is to make the trek (though maybe pack your inhaler next time, lady…).
And it gave me a final push to take on one of the last big challenges I wanted to tackle before I turn 30 in October: Mount Washington. Despite growing up in NH, I’ve never once set foot on the top of this giant mountain. My good friend Kate, who rowed crew with me back at Mount Holyoke (aka my twin because our coach thought we were the same person…) is going to hike it with me this summer. I don’t know what path we’ll take yet (but I’m taking suggestions!) but I’m more convinced than ever that the view at the top will be mind-boggling and worth every step. Leave your hiking advice below, please!
(All photos are my own!)