Haleakala Backpacking Adventure Night 3: The Milky Way, Shooting Stars, and Caves

Our third night at Haleakala would prove to be the most memorable for me. Earlier in the day, we had explored a nearby lava tube. The lava tube is fairly out of the way and there are no markers, just a rough trail leading to it. Basically, if you don’t know where it is then I imagine that it would be quite difficult to locate, despite being less than a mile from Holua Cabin. With these conditions in mind, imagine exploring the lava tube during the dead of night. This was the most memorable night on Haleakala.

Waiting for the sun to go down and the fun to start. Photo by Ahnate Lim.

Waiting for the sun to go down and the fun to start. Photo by Ahnate Lim.

As the sun was setting, we all found ourselves relaxing inside of Holua Cabin. We had drank the last drop of alcohol. Then, Mike recalled a story that two men had told him while he was exiting the lava tube earlier in the day. The men had told him about a local hiker that had been stashing alcohol and other things inside the lava tube. As soon as he said that, I recalled a “luggage” type bag that I had seen in one of the crevices inside the lava tube. Janice immediately remembered it too, because I had pointed it out to her. I kind of wish that I had not brought it up, but then again, it did lead to a second, more memorable, trip to the lava tube.

With a little encouragement, John, Ahnate, and myself made our way back to the lava tube. Quickly losing sunlight, we were able to find the lava tube just before the night sky went completely dark. I remember that the black luggage was about a third of the way in, just past Gollum’s hole (a hole in the ceiling of the lava tube). I was able to relocate the luggage and Ahante was able to squeeze into the tight spot. What he found was a large black plastic bag, along with a couple of other bags. They had been filled with dirt. There were also empty bottles in one of the bags. This led us to suspect that the story might have been somewhat true. Somewhat went through the trouble of putting the bottles and bags there. Someone else probably found it before us and drank all of the booze. Then again, it could have all been a ruse. Oh well, it was quite the adventure.

After debating whether to continue on forward and keep looking or reverse track and head home, we came to the conclusion that we should just head out the way we came. It’s a good thing that I had my GPS, because that’s what I used to navigate our way back to Holua Cabin. We survived.

We spent the rest of the night outside, shooting the sky like we had done the previous two nights. It was a little bittersweet knowing that this would be our last night in Haleakala Crater. I would definitely miss it, but I also missed my wonderful shower at home.

The sun starting to set behind Holua Cabin. Photo by Coty Gonzales.

The sun starting to set behind Holua Cabin. Photo by Coty Gonzales.

Holua Cabin under the stars. Photo by Joel Sabugo.

Holua Cabin under the stars. Photo by Joel Sabugo.

Awesome capture of the Milky Way with shooting stars. Photo by Allison Baird.

Awesome capture of the Milky Way with shooting stars. Photo by Allison Baird.

A panoramic capture of the Milky Way. Photo by Allison Baird.

A panoramic capture of the Milky Way. Photo by Allison Baird.

Stunning capture of the Milky Way inside of a cave above Holua Cabin. Photo by Ahnate Lim.

Stunning capture of the Milky Way inside of a cave above Holua Cabin. Photo by Ahnate Lim.

The Milky Way above the Haleakala Crater. Photo by Coty Gonzales.

The Milky Way above the Haleakala Crater. Photo by Coty Gonzales.

Beautiful. Photo by Coty Gonzales.

Beautiful. Photo by Coty Gonzales.

About Coty

Founder of Exploration: Hawaii. Adventure, Minimalism, Vinyl, Typography, and Coffee + Matcha. A single space after a period, please.