John & Anne Wiley

2017/08/02

Higher

Filed under: Flying,Happiness,Has Photos,Nature,O U Adventure — John @ 07:18

January second brought us a first: flying a small plane over Haleakalā. It began with another “explore” day for the family, with people going off in assorted groups of varying sizes to do different things. As you might imagine, our choice of activity was flying so we decided on a flight to Hana. Moments after takeoff, that plan changed.

3041 Soft Wall

3041 Soft Wall

While much of Maui had clear blue skies, starting at about Ako Point there was a low cloud layer to the East. Hana would almost certainly be under it, and I didn’t want to fly low over ocean or dense jungle. So began our climb to see if by some fluke the Hana area was clear so we could nip out for a look. A couple of minutes later it was clear that the cloud extended well out East over the ocean.

3073 Hana Veil Dance

3073 Hana Veil Dance

Already having some altitude and being near it, Haleakalā was the obvious Plan B. So after this glance at the last visible Hana Road waterfalls we turned southeast climbing at full power.

3081 Tinted Moonscape

3081 Tinted Moonscape

Soon varied colors and textures in a crater moonscape was capped by the observatory.

3099 Up The Rim

3099 Up The Rim

It’s vast and of course our panorama was striking in every direction well beyond what the camera can capture, but here’s another angle revealing hints of green as we crossed toward the East coast.

3109 Touch of Green

3109 Touches of Green

Flying past the caldera’s East rim, Hana again tempted us with this slice of Kipahulu Point, site of Charles Lindbergh’s grave. Of course Hana itself (and its airport) was off to the left under that cloud so we kept on climbing.

3140 Riot of Green

3140 Riot of Green

In the hazy distance, the snow-capped big island of Hawaii also tempted us but the trip we planned from home had already been modified by persistent cloud and rain. Flying all the islands and having time on each is a great excuse to go back.

3143 Near Yet Far

3143 Near Yet Far

So before turning back we took a long look at the eastern side of Maui while anticipating a flight that includes Hana next time.

3160 Last Glance

3160 Last Glance

Out across the caldera from here offered better light with less haze to dim the colors.

3178 Shades of Caldera

3178 Shades of Caldera

Past the observatory near the road are some interesting small craters that get you pondering how active this volcano might still be, even above that caldera we’d crossed minutes before.

3203 Little Craters

3203 Little Craters

Looking back along that ridge past those craters we took a last look at the observatory.

3212 Over the Top

3212 Over the Top

Easing off the throttle to cool the engine gradually, we began descent back to the airport (OGG). In minutes we were preparing to land, with a good view of the big sugar mill in its process of shutting down for good.

3248 Sweet Ride

3248 Sweet Ride

In well under an hour we’d sated our souls with food for dreams.

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