It’s our last day in paradise. I want to write a bit about what a great kick-off this was for my trip, but first I have to wrap up the 2nd day of my hike down Haleakala.
By camping standards my morning started late.
The mountains to the east kept the sunrise off my tent until nearly 9am. I broke down camp, reassembled my pack, and said goodbye to Kevin. He was headed uphill, I was headed further down. The trail down Kaupo Gap was clearly less beaten down than earlier trails. It started as an 8″ wide 4″ deep trough of stomped soil through bunches of grass.
I was coming down from ~6,800 feet and the tops of the clouds were still a mile down the trail.
The grassland became lush. I wouldn’t call it jungle and I wouldn’t call it forest, but it was clear that the rain at least had a fighting chance of making it up to this elevation. I moved from overgrown ravines to climbing down the spin of a rocky butte. The eerie part was that from start to finish I didn’t see anyone else on the trail heading in either direction. The day before I had heard from two different people that the Kaupo Gap trail wasn’t fun, but the first 4.5 miles (while still within the national park boundaries) was a total blast.
The second half of the trail was not as fun.
It led through private property called Kaupo Ranch. I followed a steep jeep trail of loose volcanic rock. My toes were not in great shape at this point.
Eventually, the trail dumped into a valley with tall grass to swim through. If there was a main path through the grass, it was lost on me. The feral pigs had woven their own trails.
After making it though the grass I popped out in someones front yard.
I walked their driveway down to the unmarked road, and then further down to the “Road to Hana” which follows the coastline. I took a left (east, counter-clockwise around the island) for another mile until at long last I could scramble down to splash salt water on my arms and neck.
All told, I did 20 miles and dropped 10,000 feet of elevation in 29 hours. People say that Haleakala is a spiritual place. I don’t disagree.”