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Published: October 16th 2014
Monday October 14th, 2014 began very early. We're talking 2:30am early (or maybe it's better to look at that as late with a longish nap beforehand, who knows). I set my alarm because we were going to drive up the dormant Volcano of Haleakala for the sunrise, which many people have told me is a spiritual experience. We groggily had coffee and threw clothes on and headed for the van. We (Andrew, Lori, Jeremy, Rachel and I) took warm clothes, as we were told it is cold at the top, since the summit is at 10023 feet elevation (interesting to note that the elevation from the sea floor is 17000 feet, taller than Mount Everest). We set the gps and headed south to get on the crater road for the long climb.
It was a twisty road, but didn't seem as bad as it cracked up to be. Mind you at 3-5:30 a.m. I couldn't see enough to know whether it was overly hectic or not. We just knew we were climbing and climbing. The other observation is the plethora of rented mustang convertibles pushing each other faster and faster to prove something (I'll let you guess what, but I'll
refer to this, in Hawaiian fashion, as Da Kine comparison). We reached a bathroom after 45 minutes or so for a pit stop, and it was already drizzly and very cold, so we 'geared up' (long pants, jackets, forgot the toque). We continued the rest of the switchback assent to the top and found a parking spot a short trail down from the summit observation booth. We got nearly the last spot at 5:30a.m. and we got up at 2:30 and left at 3:30. Who knows how early these other people got up, yikes.
We found a spot on a rock in front of the observation booth (Rachel and I, the other three were watching from behind the wall behind us, and mum and dad decided to sleep in). We took pictures and short videos of the changes in light as sunrise approached. We were worried at certain points, as the view was occasionally totally obstructed by fog/passing clouds.
As we waited, we chatted with a fella from Ohio who was here with his fiance and was taking go pro pictures to stitch together into a timelapse video of the sunrise. Rachel mentioned how people she spoke to
didn't seem to know what a toque was, and he responded with "what's a toque". Apparently in Ohio you call them stocking hats. I guess it's a canadian thing.
Just before the sunrise, the horizon cleared, and we got a really cool view of the sun peaking up above the clouds and rising. Various colours of the spectrum were visible as the sun approached the cloud level and then rose above it. It was indeed a spectacular sight. I'll post some pictures here. We by this point were inspired, but very cold, as the wind on ungloved fingers was very evident. We drove back down to the visitor centre a couple of minutes down crater road for a quick pit stop.
Lori took a couple of pictures of Rachel and I with the crater view in the background. The second picture was of us kissing. I then pulled Rachel aside and said "come with me for a moment, I want to talk to you about something". She immediately responded with "I didn't do it", thinking that we somehow had a problem with the kissing in public. She wasn't even close...
I walked her a short way down
the path in front of the visitor centre and explained "my life has been quite a journey, and I'd like you to join me for the rest of the journey" and got down on one knee and proposed. She said yes.
I had bought the ring in Victoria, having discussed the idea of a proposal with my familly and with Rachel's friend Beth. I packed it with me to Hawaii, with a small box along with the ring box so I had something that would be easily hidden in my pocket. I debated several proposal scenarios, such as walking down a beach at sunset with Jeremy hidding in the bushes to take pictures, on a sunset dinner cruise, at the luau. I settled on the sunrise at Haleakala, as I liked the symbolism of God having given us both a new beginning and a new life together, and we joined together in new life at the top of the world.
We drove back down the volcano and had breakfast in the Tofino like town of Paia, after stopping at a lodge and taking pictures with a cameleon. Breakfast was good (Rachel and I had
a celebratory waffle with macadamia nuts and strawberries with an espresso milk shake). The cook (a very interesting and excited native hawaiian lady) came out and chatted with us, and suggested a nearby beach to maybe find sea turtles sunning themselves.
We drove to the beach suggested, Hookipa beach park. There were no turtles, but there was big surf, a guy fishing off the beach, and some local surfers tackling the big waves.
We drove back to the condo and relaxed for a while before our evening luau, the Drums of the Pacific.
The luau was move inside into a large conference room, as it was throwing it down with tropical rain and windy. It was cool to watch the rain, especially as it was still mid 20's C. Rachel and mum bought flowers for their hair, and we headed in for drinks and a buffet dinner. A couple at the table with us were very friendly, and Rachel and Ally went on stage and did the hula together (they asked for volunteers part way through the show). The dinner was good, with kalua pork, salad, mahi mahi and salmon, etc. The show was also good, with
demonstrations of various dances from the countries that make up Polynesia.
It was a very good day all around, and a very significant day for Rachel and I. We are embarking on a new adventure together, and I can't wait...
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