Hiking the Haleakalā Crater like an Astronaut

Declaring “I can’t do anything before I’ve had my coffee” makes you sound like a tool, but FOR REAL,  I can’t even have morning sex before I’m caffeinated. Ask my boyfriend, I’m not turned on before he turns on his expresso machine. So the fact that I woke up before dawn to complete a six hour, 12 mile hike up the 10,000 ft. high East Maui Volcano, known for the Haleakalā Crater is probably my greatest personal achievement of 2012.

We had some time off from work around the same time, so we decided to spend it in Maui then Sydney. We flew out of NYC the day after election day, hungover from celebrating Obama’s victory. We escaped the city a day after our electricity was restored from Hurricane Sandy and hours before New York was hit with a Nor’Easter. We decided to take advantage of our jet lag-induced early rising and tackle the hike on our first day in Maui.

However, once we discovered the villa we were renting lacked a coffee machine, I was unpleasant as Carrie at the prom covered in pig’s blood. I was quite the cranky puss on the drive to the mountain.

Once we got there, the view was so beautiful I shut the fuck up.

The view from the top

Despite being in Hawaii, it was quite chilly on the top of the mountain. You can see the frost. I bundled up and resembled the unabomber.

Bundled up from the cold

The volcanic terrain made you feel like you were walking on the moon. In fact, NASA had astronauts practice walking at Haleakalā in preparation for moon exploration.

Looks like moon rocks!

Along with the foreign terrain, the plant life was quite alien. This is the only place on Earth the Silver Sword grows.

Silver Sword

While we encountered a few other hikers on the trek, for the most part we were the only two people in sight. This was quite a meditative and surreal experience for two kids who live in downtown Manhattan. There was complete silence.


After about five hours of hiking we reached the final stretch of our journey, a precarious climb back and forth on switch backs up a vertical mountain.

Almost there

After picking up some hitchhiking hippies on our drive back that gave us free weed, the rest of our time in Maui was spent relaxing. We were sore for days and hobbled around like a couple of 80 year olds, but it was an once in a life time experience that was totally worth the pain and initial whining.

Relaxing the day after the hike

My boyfriend Johnny (@timthegiraffe) is responsible for all photos and has hiked this mountain before, except he did the three-day long version like a bad-ass. Read about his initial experience here

Johnny C