The sunrise the morning of Day 4 was so beautiful it nearly made us forget the awful, stormy night we just had.
We even had another rainbow sighting over the Seven Sacred Pools.
Another breakfast of oatmeal and banana bread in our bellies and we headed out to drive the southern coast of Maui and make our way up to Haleakala. Past Kipahulu, the landscape abruptly went from lush greenery to dry desert (complete with stray cattle and mountain goats), and the road became even windier and narrower than usual. Several stretches were unpaved, or used to be paved and are now simply a mosaic of pothole patches.
After an hour or so of driving we started making our way up Haleakala. The road to the summit is essentially 20 miles of switchbacks, climbing up to the visitor center at 7,000 feet, and then higher to the summit at 10,000 feet. Betty did surprisingly okay and the views made up for the nausea. (There were points at which we could actually see turbulence in the clouds as we climbed above the cloud line.)
We finally got to the Leleiwi Lookout (around 9,000 feet and a few miles from the summit) and it became very clear why we'd endured all those switchbacks - Haleakala Crater was vast, impressive, and stunning. The temperature drop was very noticeable at this altitude, so I was even colder than usual.
We made our way up to the summit, which I thought wasn't as impressive as the view from the Lookout. Don't get me wrong, it was still beautiful, but the view from the Lookout felt more like we were in the crater. Still, looking out into the crater it was hard to believe that it was all once an active, lava-filled volcano.
We also saw these cool plants called silverswords. The summit of Haleakala is the only place they exist in the entire world, and - like salmon - they only spawn once in their lifetime before they die.
After a lazy lunch at Hosmer Grove (the campground about halfway up Haleakala), it was time to tackle the switchbacks again. Going down the mountain was much much worse. There wasn't a gear low enough that made it possible to not ride Betty's brakes the entire time. The smell of raw brakes greeted us as we got back to civilization, but the old girl came through for us.
We made our way back to South Maui to tour the beach towns that stretch from Kihei to La Perouse Bay. There were some very nice houses and hotels, but the towns themselves lacked a lot of the character we saw in Central and East Maui. The lava fields we saw down at Cape Kina'u were probably the best thing we saw along this stretch.
After that it was more driving - this time back up the coast to Hwy 30 and West Maui. It was here that we finally got closer to real shave ice at the Olowalu Market. It was much bigger, the ice was more finely shaven, and the syrup was much more flavorful. Jared had been driving for 10 hours at this point so he probably would have welcomed anything that was cold and sweet, but it was a nice little bonus for the shave ice to be so good.
We struggled to find a good spot to camp for the night, and after getting stuck in the sand at one beach, and weirded out by the chickens and stray cats at another, we decided it was best to fork over the $20 to park Betty at Camp Olowalu for the night. I was finally able to get in a short military-style shower, which was cold but extremely enjoyable. We cooked up another dinner of hot dogs and Kraft Mac 'n Cheese and settled in for the night.
On the menu for Day 5... we finally complete the trek around the entire coast of Maui and visit one of the best sites of the whole trip - the Nakalele Blowhole.