To the average traveler, freezing your ass off on Maui doesn’t exactly seem like a likely possibility. It’s kind of like becoming a liberal in Mississippi… it’s just not that common.
If stargazing at the summit of a volcano sounds like your cup’a bourbon, however, it’s absolutely the best way to shock your body temperature, escape the summertime sweat, and enjoy yourself simultaneously.
A Guide to Freezing Your Ass Off on Maui
Having stargazed on Haleakala once before, I was excited to go back and do it again with a whole new group of people. We met Jan, the owner of Maui Stargazing, at Kula Lodge around 5pm, where we signed our waivers and piled into cars to follow Jan to the summit.
Now, I will say that the drive up Haleakala is my least favorite on Maui, even over the loop around the West Maui Mountains and 600 curves of the Road to Hana (both of which I find rather awesome, actually). Something about the continuous uphill drive through clouds and cliffs and the irrational fear of rolling backwards always triggers my palm-sweat. And body sweat. And general feeling of sweaty dismay. I’m pumped to say, however, that this time was a total breeze, thanks to sir fog, which totally blocked my view for the majority of the drive up. Fog for the win!
We arrived at the 10,023 foot summit with plenty of time to watch the sunset, promptly gearing up with Jan’s warm-weather clothing (hats, pants, and jackets provided at no extra cost), and toasting lemondrop shots for our collective awesomeness.
The weather that day was a little crazy and unpredictable, and the fog rolling in with the observatory and clouds in the background made for some amazing photos, courtesy of my photographer-slash-web-designer friends, Jenny of Surfing on Feelings and Jesse Quinn Lee.
We stayed just long enough for the fog to clear, and holy crap I’m glad we did. With the help of Jan’s massive telescope, laser pointer and SkySafari app, we got to see nebulae, globular clusters, galaxies and planets! Saturn takes home the prize for prettiest planet, by the way.
Jan is absolutely brilliant, and her fun-loving, relaxed and patient nature make stargazing an absolute delight. I highly recommend this for a fun group activity or sexy alternative date night idea on Maui.
If you plan on going to Haleakala for hiking, watching sunrise, sunset, etc. and don’t want to bring winter clothing with you (or forget it at home), Jan also rents gear at her other business, Haleakala Outfitters.
I’d like to give a massive mahalo to Jan for yet another fabulous Maui stargazing experience, and don’t forget to give her a shout the next time you feel like freezing your ass off on Maui. It’s worth it.