Seduced by the sway of it’s fragrant, frangipani-scented shores, our latest Griswold family holiday initially clung to the coastline.
While hubba hubby windsurfed, the rest of us explored the north shore and Honolua Bay, snorkling with turtles, and discovering hidden pockets of rainforest, reminiscent of the Navi forests of Pandora.
It was days before we ventured upcountry to East Maui’s massive shield volcano.
In less than two hours, we drove from sea level to an altitude of 10,000 feet, to stand breathless on the lip of the volcano.
We were higher than the clouds, higher than non-pressurised aircraft are permitted to fly (in the US, cabin altitude of airliners can climb no higher than 8,000 feet).
At 10,000 feet, human beings can experience the early signs of hypoxia, with lightheadedness, dizziness, reduced vision, and euphoria.
That might explain our exhilaration when we stood on the summit that the ancient Hawaiians called Haleakala, the house of the sun, where the demi-God Maui snared the sun and forced it to slow its journey across the skies.
In our excitement we ran down the sliding sands trail into the cinder cone of the dormant volcano, not realising that fifteen minutes down meant two or three times as long, trudging back up, huffing and puffing like emphysemic geriatrics.
Like I said…just breath-taking.