Good day great day.
The day started out just ok. I missed my 5:10 am alarm, and once I got to the visitor center they told me we couldn’t exchange flags because they ‘can’t give away federal property’. No biggie – it makes ok sense to me. But then things took a turn for the rad.
I had to hitchhike to from the visitor center to the summit, and Todd from Indiana picked me right up. A street bike fanatic, he was staying with his friend for a month and got to borrow their car for the first week. The sliding sands trail head starts out epic and moves to outrageously interesting.
My plan was to stay south and take the most direct route to Paliku, but the park ranger I registered with to get my wilderness pass convinced me to jog north through the cinder cones because of the cool colors. That was good advice.
After descending through the small loose rocks of sliding sands (the trail was hard packed but the surrounding area was loose) the terrain turned to sturdy krag. The rocks were pocked with bubbles and folded in fluid ways. The volcanic rocks that had been recently halved showed a neat crystalline structure that was black with white spots. When I flicked thin flakes, they made a *ping* noise instead of the knock sound I expected.
Further down the trail the aggressive krag began to sink below soil and the martian environment started to look like desert grassland. At that point more animals and plant diversity showed up. (Before the grass land the only animals I had seen were moths and the only plant that showed up in decent numbers was the Haleakala Greensword). I found a low-hanging tired woody plant that arched over the trail and decided that it only made sense to take a nap under it considering how much we had in common. That nap wound up being the most glorious 30 min nap in recent memory – only for it to be ended in a startle.
I woke up to find a train of mules seeking right-of-way down the trail. I hopped up and out of the way. They were being led by 2 park rangers down in the direction I was headed.
Later I caught up to them at the Paliku campground. They were resupplying the campsite cabin. When I made it to the campground, I met my only neighbor (besides the rangers) His name was Kevin. A Colorado resident, maybe in his early 40’s, we talked about camping gear, the trail, the sunset & stars, and about the comedy that the rangers (x4) out numbered the hikers for the night.
I pitched dinner, cooked up my tent and called it an evening. Now for the stars to ride their ink black carousel through my wondering mind.
(*woke up at) – 1:36 am – Geeze. DANG.”
Day 2 of Haleakala to come soon, but for now POG margaritas.