maternity photographer tampa

Ever since my first week on the island, I’ve had the Haiku Stairs, a.k.a. “Stairway to Heaven,” on my to-hike list. We finally tackled it yesterday! As with a few of my adventures, the morning started very early. We were out the door by 2:45 to beat the security guard to the start avoid a bright, hot hike. 🙂

After a couple wrong turns, we made it to the base of the stairs and started climbing. The moon was bright enough through the clouds that it wasn’t pitch black, but we brought a headlamp and flashlight just in case. The stairs have railing on both sides, which offered a little security as we ascended, though the condensation on the metal was a little unnerving. We moved cautiously. Most of the reviews I’d read said that the climb to the first platform was the hardest, and I’d have to agree with them. It was very steep most of the way, with some parts being practically vertical (was I seriously climbing a slippery ladder at 4 o’clock in the morning?!). They are also narrow, which makes it interesting when you have hikers who want to pass. We didn’t have anyone try to pass us from below, but there were hikers already heading back down as we were climbing up. There’s not room to pass on the stairs, so one group has to climb to the outside of the railing to let the other group pass. Hikers are pretty chill people, though, because nobody had to argue about who would pass and who would cling to the outside. We took our turns, and there were no missteps. We made it to the first platform, where we took a short breather with several other adventurers.

We didn’t stay long. Just enough to catch our breath and drink some water. The day’s first light was beginning to illuminate the sky as we climbed to the second platform, and by the time we got there, we saw some lovely colors. DSC_3749 But we still weren’t to the top, so we kept climbing. By the time we reached the satellite station at the end of the trail, the sun was fully up. IMG_5703 Unfortunately, we were in the clouds at our elevation. But they started to clear up enough to see below us. DSC_3785 DSC_3783 DSC_3802 IMG_5701 The box on the hill down there was the second platform. You can’t see the first platform from where we were up here. We headed back down after a bit, and when I got back to the second platform, I took some more photos at the pillbox now that there was enough light. DSC_3816 I also thought I should document what the stairs look like when you can see them. I took this shot of the first stretch as we were climbing back down it. IMG_5714 I’ve decided to split this day into two posts to limit the number of photos loading on one page. Stay tuned.

Mahalo,

Jen

Day three of our Maui vacation started early. Like, “sometimes-I-go-to-bed-this-late” early. We set the alarm for 1:45 am. The plan? Watch the sun rise over the clouds at the summit at the Haleakala National Park. Travel time from the hotel took about two and a quarter hours, so we got there earlier than we needed to for even first light, but we were glad we did. We got a great parking spot right next to the stairs up to the observation deck, and the very dark environment made for some excellent stargazing. DSC_3204

You can see the bands of the Milky Way.
You can see the bands of the Milky Way.

Did I mention it was freezing? Elevation was 10,000 feet (and change), and the wind was blowing. We were above the clouds. Now, being from Florida, the middle of July is not a time to don long sleeves and pants. As such, what with the very little planning time, I didn’t even bring shoes that weren’t flip-flops, let alone a jacket or long-sleeved shirt. Fortunately, Grant had a pair of water shoes in the car. They were mesh, but still better than sandals. There was also a closed-in structure on the summit which was at least 15 degrees warmer than outside because the wind was blocked. We did at least get tips from reviewers beforehand that it would be cold. So we grabbed a couple of blankets from our hotel room, and boy am I glad we did! Here’s a piece of advice to anyone planning a trip to Maui, no matter what time of year: bring a jacket, long pants, and at least one pair of closed-toed shoes! Hiking boots are probably the best, but if you’re not a hiker, then…*shrug*. Layers are also a good recommendation, as it warms up fairly quickly once the sun hits the observation deck. Enough that I was able to shed my blanket(s) and walk around in my short-sleeved shirt.

Back to the photos, though. Once I saw the telltale signs of first light, I went outside the shelter of the observation deck and staked out a spot that wasn’t blocking or being blocked by someone else. I’m glad I brought my tripod, because a) it was dark, and b) I was shaking like a Jack Russell terrier on espresso. I set up my shot to a delayed shutter release, then would quickly hit the shutter button before tucking my hand safely back into the relative warmth of the blanket. It’s times like this I regret not having a remote shutter release (goes to add it to Amazon wish list). Anyway, here’s a shot of the first light preceding the sun. DSC_3214 And here’s an idea of how cold it was waiting for the sun to come up.

You can see the clouds below us!
You can see the clouds below us!

Just as the sun starts peeking above the clouds, it looks like it sets them on fire. DSC_3301 DSC_3317 DSC_3348 And here we are. Grant was very sweet and gave me his blanket before running into the observation booth away from the wind. He told me I was crazy at least 5 times. DSC_3344 Now you can really see the clouds as the sun climbs higher. DSC_3373 DSC_3375 DSC_3376 This is a view from the other side of the crater. DSC_3370 And I found this very interesting plant growing atop the summit. DSC_3378 We drove back down and made it to our hotel around 8 am, at which time we took a two hour nap before grabbing breakfast. The rest of the day was uneventful. Some reading and relaxing in our room and out on our balcony. We did go out to dinner at a restaurant across the street from our hotel. Grant was determined to try the poke, so we got some poke tacos, which were delicious! IMG_5527 That sums up day 3 of our 4-day trip. Our final day in Maui will be up shortly.

Mahalo,

Jen

Well, yesterday was a very early day for us. I woke up at 3:45, and we were out the door by 4:20 to head out to Kaiwa Ridge in Kailua, on the eastern side of the island. Our destination was the popular “Pillbox” trail, which has apparently been enjoyed by President Obama and his family. I don’t have photos from the beginning of the trail in the dark, because, well, it was dark. Sunrise wasn’t until 5:50. The first ridge was the toughest. Not a lot to hold onto, and a very steep incline. But we made it past that into the first open area, where the day’s first light before the sun helped illuminate our path the rest of the way. You can see the pillbox (World War II bunker) just at the top of the ridge. IMG_5190 We got to the top and climbed onto the pillbox, where we settled in to enjoy the view. I even set up my tripod for some long-ish exposure shots. DSC_2420 IMG_5207

And, because the light was so beautiful (and because I’m putting together a photo book for my dad of our adventures this summer), I even stood in front of the camera for a photo. DSC_2469

And what kind of photographer would I be if I didn’t look all around to see how the light looked on the rest of the island? See how it caresses the mountains behind us? IMG_5209

So that was our first sunrise hike. There’s a second pillbox on a higher ridge that we’ll do some other day. We’ll have to leave even earlier for it, but I’m sure it will be worth it.

Until next time, mahalo!

Jen IMG_5213