Day 3 – Monday

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This morning we got up at 0245 and headed to Haleakala Bike Co. We were there by 0315 to get all geared up. After about an hour, everyone was there and we all loaded into three vans and began our ascent to the top of Haleakala volcano. We got to the top just as the colors of the sunrise started to streak across the sky. At 10,000 feet, up above the clouds, we watched the most glorious sunrise I’ve ever seen. It was brilliant. And it was made even greater by the fact that it was a full moon so the moon was setting on one side of the volcano while the sun was rising on the other side of the volcano. When the sun popped up through the clouds, it lit the fading moon back up and cast a shadow from the volcano right below the moon – it was spectacular! I have to say that it was by far the most worthwhile thing I have ever gotten up before 0300 for. Once the sun was fully risen and we had all taken plenty of pics and video, we loaded back into the van to go a few miles back down the road. We stopped along the way to see some nene (Hawaiian geese, close to a Canada goose). These geese were pretty neat because they live up on the volcano and are actually evolving to lose the webbing of their feet since they are no longer waterfowl. When we got to the staging area just shortly after the nene stop, they unloaded all of us, gave us each a bike and a map back to the shop and said “later”. It was nice that we were able to bike back down at our own pace. It was so exhilarating to go careening down a volcano on a bicycle. After just a few miles, while we were still up above the clouds, we pulled over on the side of the road to take a few pics and have a little granola bar breakfast picnic. It was just so pretty. We continued on down, speeding around hairpin curves and enjoying the quiet morning scenery. We passed by some pipi pastures and a few lio stables and had to dodge several moa crossing the road (to get to the other side). There was no peddling until we got back into town (who turned the downhill upside down?!) and even there it was only sporadic. Eventually, our nice little bike ride ended back at the shop. We turned in our equipment and stopped at a diner in the same shopping center for some breakfast. Then we got back on the Road to Hana so that we could go back to get some pics of those painted trees (we looked them up and found out that they are Painted Bark Eucalyptus trees, Randal was right). After getting plenty of pics of the very pretty painted trees, we turned back around and began our trek to the west side of the island where our hotel for the week is. The trusty GPS guided us here with no problems but it was too early to check in. It’s one of the more touristy places we stayed, right on the bay with shops and stuff all over so we walked around for a couple of hours. By the time we did check in, we were ready for a shower and bed. Ended up going to sleep around 1745.