One of the most interesting aspects of Holua Cabin is the nearby lava tube. There are two routes to the lava tube, with each route bringing you to a different entrance. We ended up choosing the route that takes you pass the pit toilets and toward an open lava rock field. The alternate route is about 100 yards east of the cabin, and then from there you will turn right and follow a faint trail, according to some write-ups. In the past, there used to be a ladder that people could use to descend into the lava tube. Now, though, there is only a sign indicating that the area has been closed and the ladder has been removed. For this reason, we decided to start at the opposite end, in order to avoid any dangerous down climbing.
The last day. By this time, I was more than ready to go home. The only thing standing in my way was the famous Halemauu switchbacks. I’ve read and have heard hikers describe the switchbacks as never ending. I was eager to leave Haleakala and pop open of a can of Coca-Cola, but I was not looking forward to the switchbacks that I would have to pass through first.
This was the leg of our backpacking adventure that I had been dreading. The trail from Paliku Cabin to Holua Cabin would be the longest single leg, at 6.4 miles. However, it wasn’t the mileage that scared me, but the elevation gain. Up to this point, we had been mainly descending from the summit of Haleakala. Paliku Cabin would be the lowest we would be, elevation wise. From Paliku, it would be an uphill climb to Holua Cabin and then to the summit road the following day.