8 mi.up the Kaupo Gap
When I woke up on June 30th I was filled with excitement, anticipation, and nerves for a four day trip up the Kaupo gap, to Paliku cabin for two nights, then Holua for one night, and out the Halemau'u switchbacks. This is me on YouTube moments before our ride arrived: http://youtu.be/Nervous. Our group of 11 was all organized by the stellar couple Stacy, and Sean. Matt and I know Stacy from Flagstaff. The three of us worked in a restaurant together. A couple of years ago Sean and Stacy moved to Maui, and we have talked about this trip for awhile. I have been so excited for this trip, I was packing for around a week.
We then arrived at our shady lunch spot. At this halfway point I was relieved to get my pack off for a bit, even though the average pack was probably 10 pounds heavier than mine. Don't even ask about Matt's crazy heavy pack...thanks Matt! I was inspired by how hard everyone was working; together. Shortly after we left our picnic spot, and entered the Park, I caught a glimpse of a tree that Matt painted, entitled Bonsai Ohia right in front of me. This was the start of several days filled with surreal experiences.
Around mile 5 I kinda lost it. I had my pack off, lost my sunglasses, and was feeling dehydrated. I started to panic, but soon was swept up by Matt, and Dave.
1.8 to Kalapawili Ridge.
|Mexican dinner at Paliku.|
1.5 up and back Paliku ridge, 6.2 across the crater floor, by the Paint Pot, Bottomless Pit, and on to Holua cabin.
The next day was over six miles, rolling hills on rock, and sand trails. The eleven of us has a sweet line going all the way down, in, and through the crater floor. We could always see each other across the vast landscape. It was a fun, easy, and amazing experience.
The landscapes are straight up out of a science fiction movie. I felt such a strong connection to the crater, and it's healing powerful energy. The spectrum of colors and the mist filled my senses. I was not feeling the sore muscles from the climb a few days ago. It was not too hot either, but the sun was relentless, and the sunscreen was re-applied constantly.
|Sunlight in the lava tube.|
|Sean + Nene = Fun|
We had a bite, and crawled up to the ridge behind the Holua cabin right away. Then it was off to the lava tube. Sunset was spent walking over to the Silversword Loop, and back. Saw a helicopter come rescue a woman with an injury in the distance, and met several people from all over the world, Hawaii, and Maui, throughout the day stopping at the cabin (as it is on the way to and from the Halemau'u Trail), and camp site along with campers too.
It's a community in the crater when you are lucky enough to be a part of it for the few days you are allowed in at one time.
Hike across the crater floor to climb up the switchbacks on Halemau'u Trail.
Matt and I got up early in our zipped sleeping bags, and watched the sun peeking above the clouds. As the morning went on the clouds continued to roll into the crater, burn off, and seemingly get sucked out; like the crater was breathing.
|Matt and Dave.|
|Set to go up-bitter sweet.|
Thank you Matt, Stacy, Sean, Dave, Sean, James, Kim, and Curtis for all of your support, help, and your fabulous company! My vacation on at home on Maui would not have been the same without all of you.
WE did it!
Read Matt's take on this 26 mile adventure on mauirunner.com here: