We turned in early the night before because Phil had a full day planned for the next day.
Starting at 2:30 am! [Gulp].
Thankfully, the 3-hour time difference worked in our favor and it wasn’t *too* difficult to get everyone up and ready to go. Depending on who you ask. Plus we had the kids wear comfy regular clothes to bed the night before so all they had to do in the morning was wake up and brush teeth. And also get into our rented mini-van where they could go back to sleep during the two hour drive. Not that they did, but the option was fully theirs to take advantage of.
Driving in the dark of night/super early morning to get here to Mount Haleakala. And… stop. Behind a line of cars that wasn’t moving. We didn’t know what was happening up ahead so we waited. And waited. And waited. And began to be afraid we drove all this way just to sit here and not get to the mountain top in time to catch the sunrise.
The line of cars inched forward painfully slowly. Finally, we got far enough to see that there was a booth ahead but no one was in it. No signs telling when anyone would arrive and no other information that we could see. So we followed the other forward-thinking/renegade cars and tour buses ahead of us and went around the booth to make it up the mountain.
Just in time to see this. That’s the moon. There was also heavy, FREEZING, blowing fog and nothing else. At first we all went out to try and stand along the wall together. It was just so cold. Hard to think with teeth chattering, body freezing, and hair whipping in the wind. So I returned to the van with the younger two while Phil stayed with the older two. Pretty soon, Mikey and Allie rejoined us in the van and only Phil stuck it out. It was just sooooo cold.
Turns out the puffy jackets we bought for this exact excursion ended up being not enough against the 30 degree temp and freezing wind. Looks like we’ve completely lost our thick Minnesota skin. Plus waking at 2:30 was beginning to catch up with some of us and making us tired and cranky.
I was beginning to think this trip was a bust and was pretty disappointed that we weren’t going to see the sunrise that had been raved about and deemed a must-see. The catch is you don’t know if you’ll get to see it on any given morning what with the fog, random rain showers, and any other last-minute, unpredictable mountain weather conditions that arecompletely separate from the weather down by the beaches. You just have to go and hope it all works out. And it looked like it really wasn’t going to the morning we drove up there.
But! The fog suddenly lifted, and the sky completely brightened up. It was still freezing out and the kids didn’t want to get out of the van so I stepped out to see if there was anything to see.
And boy, am I glad I went.
Because the crowd hushed…
And we all stood together and silently watched this happen.
Someone in the distance began to sing “Amazing Grace” and everyone erupted into applause and cheered as we welcomed a new day and saw God’s mighty and beautiful artistry at work.
The view in every direction was stunning.
Truly, I could have stayed there all day just watching those clouds.
Ah but it was still so cold and I figured I better go back and check on the kids. Phil was back at the van too and asked if I had come out to see. We were both so amazed at what we had just seen. So everyone got out again and went into the now-open building with the viewing windows so the kids could see the clouds.
Then finally, reluctantly, we returned to the van to make the drive back down the mountain. There were hiking options but we decided it would be too much for the younger kids and just too cold for it to be enjoyable for them. It was as pretty neat to see that we were above the clouds as we wound down the mountain.
Glimpsing the beaches down below from the rough mountain terrain.
We had heard we might catch of the endangered Nene bird on this mountain so we kept a lookout. Some in our van claimed to have seen one (they shall remain nameless because I forget now who it was) but I missed it.
Because I was too busy trying to capture this rainbow stretching across the sky. Just too many beautiful things to see all at once. And I am so thankful we woke up at dark o’clock, made the long drive, risked disappointment, froze our tails off, all for the opportunity to witness some of God’s amazing creation in a way that I will never forget.
Major, MAJOR props to Phil for planning this and making it happen. He’s kinda my hero.