Haleakala - Beauty in Diversity

I really didn't know what to expect of our Haleakala hiking trip. With all of my recent projects, school-work, research, recreational reading, and confidence in my travel buddies' enthusiasm and research abilities, I left the details to them. What I experienced, as a result, was beauty in diversity.

After flying in and having dinner at the Flatbread Company (they have the sickest pizza!), we drove up to Hosmer Campgrounds, and crashed out. The following day, we had breakfast at Kula Lodge, made our way to the visitor center so that we could check in, parked one car at the finish line, and parked the other at the start. It was cold. It was supercalifragilisticexpialidocious, cold (for a sea-level Oahu boy). I have walked through clouds on a few occasions and this was no less exceptional! We, then, walked and walked and walked. We walked all the way to the Kapalaoa cabins. Remember how I said there was diversity? From the barren environment and the cold and wet of the clouds, we traversed to a warmer climate, and the amount of vegetation and wildlife, increased. Everyone was in high spirits and didn't seem to mind the foot, back, leg, and shoulder aches that started to surface. As we descended towards Paliku cabin, the moisture and cold ramped up and so did the vegetation and wildlife, including an abundance of many ferns and an increasing number of Nene geese. From the Kapalaoa cabin, the various hiking paces emerged and somewhere in between Kapalaoa cabin and Paliku cabin, Kelley, Amber, and I got lost from the pack(s); or rather, there was a "diversion" - kind of like life. =) When we arrived, weary from our travels, the gang applauded - nothing like being loved. They had already started to prepare dinner - a wonderful pasta, tomato, broccoli, chicken, and spice medley, adorned with "homemade" garlic bread, from Costco. The night was a blast. We laughed, we got to know each other (how can you not, with 12 bunks in a single room), played cards (I, being an amateur card player, if that), talked story, shared, and listened to music. I had a great time - a big Mahalo to the gang! Mike may have been a little gung-ho with the firewood because it was freakin' hot, that night in the cabin. A few of us had a hard time sleeping and Yovin, who braved the top bunk laughed in delirium until he finally rested, for 3 total hours.

In the morning, Kelley made a rice gruel with scallops - delish! Half of us parted, and they made their way out the Kaupo Gap, to a ride that was waiting for them, on the highway. Our original plan was to hike up to Holua campgrounds and stay the night there but, being that we would backtrack twice, in the following days, the consensus was to stay at the Paliku cabin, wait to see if the next group would allow us to stay, and if not, camp at the campgrounds. A few groups stopped by, one group being a bunch of nudists (just kidding), who were pretty cool. After hiking a bit of the way down the Kaupo Trail and diverting to a waterfall, we hiked back to the cabin, invited them in, and talked story - another great group of individuals with lots of good vibes. Another group of campers came by, and we invited them in as well. As the evening approached, we were excited about the possibility that the group who had reserved the cabin, was not going to show. We had roughly 15 people in the cabin, all kinds of food, sharing of knot-tying techniques, recipe-sharing, sips of whiskey and tequila, and more. Then, at 7:30, when we were extremely confident that the next group would not show, they appeared. We got kicked the you-know-what out. It was okay because I had a chance to share a small and (supposedly,) 2-man tent with another snoring man who farts and talks in his sleep, in what seemed to be 40 degree weather, instead of a warm cabin with a fireplace and a bunk to myself. That was sarcasm, folks.

The next day I woke up and bleary-eyed, I made my way to the outhouse (aka: composting toilet). The early morning and evening seems to be the best time to use the outhouse because the cold temperature keeps the flies away. I know. That wasn't exactly what you wanted to hear but that, out of all the crap (no pun intended) in this post, is probably the most important information I can give you. After a good hour or so, we all woke up, packed, said our goodbyes to the nudists, fellow campers, and people who stole our cabin (just kidding). We made our way to Kapaloa cabin, again experiencing the diverse weather, vegetation, and wildlife. We had another wonderful and gluttonous lunch, courtesy of Mike, who brought tuna, tortillas, cheese, and veggies to make wraps. I fell asleep (as I always do) as my fellow hikers played cards, wandered the outskirts of the cabin, and took pictures of me and probably wiped boogers on my face while I slept. We woke up and went for a stroll to Pele's Paint Pot and a 65 foot deep cavern that was said to be the place where the Hawaiians of back-in-the-day, threw the afterbirth of their children, with the belief that anyone who attained the afterbirth could control the child. That evening, we had a siiiiiiick pasta/stew, brownies, and hot chocolate, courtesy of Amber and Angel. We watched the sunset, played with the cameras and long exposure, played charades (and acted out "penis", thanks to Del), and made candles using the remaining wax found in the kitchen. If you are planning to check out these cabins, I suggest bringing some wicks to re-make candles using the leftover wax from old candles - something fun to pass the time.

The following day, we woke up to my (kind of) cuisine (peanut butter and jelly sammiches), that Amber was nice enough to assemble. We then, trekked to Holua cabin, hung out for about an hour, checked out the lava tube(s), and hiked out to the car.

The pictures you see display the beauty in environmental diversity of Haleakala, but the real story was the beauty of the diverse people who were there. There were people who seemed uptight and inflexible, people who were nonchalant and lackadaisical, immature people, people who seemed as though they had something to prove, people who seemed overly defensive, people who were passive-aggressive, people who seemed to pride themselves on independence, and more. Disclaimer: this list of qualities includes me - I am a work in progress. =) Also, all of these qualities may have been skewed, based on different perspectives, and all were absolutely necessary. These same people were also highly organized, respectfully honest, genuine, full of various perspectives, soulful, positive, funny, and if you really paid attention and thought, people indirectly reminded you of your dislikes and likes. Thank you to my fellow hikers. I had an awesome time!


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