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A few years ago I had the privilege of witnessing one of the most spectacular sites on the planet. The sunrise from the top of the Haleakala volcano in Maui.

After waking at 3am, taking a 2-hour car ride in the dark, and then freezing our freshly tanned butts (its about 35-40 degrees up there), my wife and I finally got to the summit of the nearly 10,000 foot volcano.

Two hours of huddling under a blanket made me feel like a refugee from a Siberian gulag, but boy was the experience worth it. In fact, it was a spiritually profound experience. Seeing the ghostly sun rise above the clouds as if rising from a steaming cauldron does that to you.

Here’s a little bit about the mythology of Haleakala from About.com:

Long before the days of written history when the ancient gods walked the earth and fished the seas, the Demigod Maui was called before his mother, the goddess Hina. The goddess complained that the sun moved across the sky so fast every day that her tapa cloth would not dry.

Wanting to please his mother, Maui, who was known for his tricks, devised a plan to solve his mother’s problem. Climbing to the summit of the great mountain before dawn, Maui waited for the sun to peek its head above the edge of the horizon. When it did so, Maui took his lasso and lassoed the sun, stopping its path across the sky.

The sun begged Maui to let it go and proceed in its path across the sky. Maui agreed on one condition. The sun must agree to slow its path across the sky and allow more time for light during the day. The sun agreed.

You can get a quick glimpse of the beautiful ceremony in the video below. Note: Despite putting on a brave face, I’m positive the buff Hawaiian in the video was having second thoughts about being shirtless and pantless on the top of a freezing mountain. Enjoy!

 


 

About The Author

Alex Andrei

Follow on Twitter @AlexAndrei. Alex Andrei is founder of SpiritualMind. He lives in NYC where his daily encounters with colorful and aromatic characters have prompted his interest in exploring the meaning of life. Along with writing, he enjoys long walks on the beach and has a keen sense of smell (which, as you may have guessed, he developed in NY).

  • Jojo

    When I was in Maui, we had a cloudy day and didn’t get to see the postcard version of the amazing Haleakala sunrise. Even with the clouds, it was a pretty amazing experience. Except for the freezing cold, that is. We didn’t believe the guidebooks when the said it was COLD up there. How cold can it be in Maui, right? The answers is pretty darn cold.

    • http://www.spiritualmind.com Alex Andrei

      In the freezing cold and in the dark, it just seems like a bad idea, but once the sun’s rays start coming through its really amazing (and warms up quick).

  • http://www.mauibyphoto.com Kris

    It took me 4 trips to Maui to convince my wife to wake up early enough for this, and it was well worth it. We actually woke up at 2am on our first morning with our bodies still on Chicago time and made it up to the summit to do a little stargazing first. The sunrise was exhilarating to say the least, and we ended up staying at the top until about 9am.

    It was sad to see people make the trek all the way up there, watch the sunrise, and then leave 10 minutes later. There’s still so much more to see once you’re up there.

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