Monday, August 17, 2009
After a long day of driving and hiking at Haleakala National Park, we ate a very late lunch at the Kula Lodge. The pizzas we ordered came out of the outdoor wood oven very fast, while the other food was rather slow, but we enjoyed it all. Exotic flowers from the nearby flower shop decorate the table. I liked my salad of local greens (another picture of a salad would indeed be boring though)
The fantastically varied landscapes of the park are always impressive. The winding road begins in wooded areas where cows graze, and winds up through low scrub. The hike nearest to the entrance of the park includes a forest of native and introduced trees including redwoods. It's populated by several native birds. We saw the little red birds called apapanis and others, and three NeNe geese flew over us. The native plant called silver sword is preserved by diligent efforts of the park service -- it was almost extinct thanks to non-native grazing animals, imported insects, and people collecting or damaging the plants.
The most extraordinary sight is the gigantic erosion crater. Long after the original volcanic peak was eroded to dust, the crater filled up with small cones from a new series of volcanic eruptions. The visitor center looks over this crater and beyond to the blue mountains of the Big Island.