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June 24, 2004
From journal Offbeaten Maui
October 19, 2003
We had the pleasure of going on one of the 45-minute trips, which included a tour of Haleakala (pronounced Halee a kala), Hana, and West Maui. Upon arrival, we were greeted by a friendly receptionist who advised us where to wait, and soon after we were shown to a room where we watched a movie on flight safety (rather boring, of course, but necessary), and then a member of the staff came in to check our weight and further briefed us on flight safety and what to do in case of an accident or problems.
We then donned miniature life preservers on our waists and headed out to the helicopter, where we met our pilot. He was an Australian native who was very informative about the local geography and history of the island. He took us very slowly up to the summit of Haleakala, a dormant volcano whose last eruption was supposedly in the year 1790, where a beautiful and yet somewhat eerie sight greeted us. Many small cinder cones filled the inside of the crater, all black and brownish red. In the distance, you could see Mauna Kea, the highest peak on the Big Island, and you could actually see the atmosphere change from dark blue, the troposphere, to the lighter-colored blue of the stratosphere, and then to another darker blue, as it changed from one atmosphere to another. Truly amazing!
Further still, we continued our journey down the side of Haleakala to take a peek at the road to Hana, which unfortunately that day was covered with rain-sodden clouds, but no matter--it was still an impressive sight! Our last sight of West Maui, still beautiful in the extreme, paled compared to Haleakala and Hana. This is a journey that you should take; however, if you have a tendency to get airsick I do not suggest it.
From journal Maui, my how you've grown!