Touring the Haleakalā National Park in Hawaii
Hawaii is famous for its oceanic coastline and magnificent Islands. One of the least populous states in the United States, it is also one of the few states to have once been an independent nation. The state gets its name from one of its Island; Hawai'i which translates to Big Island and remains famous for its magnificent beaches, coastal islands, volcanoes and culture.
There are many parks in Hawaii but one that stands out is the Haleakalā National Park. The park is located on the island of Maui in Hawaii. The park is an area of 33, 265 acres of land and has a dormant volcano within its boundaries. Established on July 1st, 1961, the park was set aside as a national park due to its standout features. The name Haleakalā is Hawaiian which stands for "House of the Sun." Legend has it that the demigod, Maui imprisoned the sun there so as to extend the day. The park features the Haleakalā volcano which has been dormant since it last erupted in the 17th century. The park is home to the great ambience, hiking, beautiful scenery, waterfalls, etc.
The park is amply divided into two; The summit area and the Kipahulu area. The summit area is an extremely windy passageway that leads up to the mountain. The roads are well maintained so you're sure to be safe when climbing up. The area includes the Haleakalā crater which is the summit of the volcano and its other areas. The Crater is home to lots of volcanic features as a sign of remembrance of what used to be here.
The trails also leading atop the mountain are the Halemau'u and Sliding Sands trails and they're great for hiking. Visitors who visit the summit of the mountain come to watch one of the most beautiful sights; the sunrise and sunset. The top of the mountain provides an unparalleled and unfiltered view of the sun that is a must-see whenever you're at the park. The park's scenic drive that allows numerous views is unmatched. You can catch the Hosmer's Grove which is a unique forest of trees and forests. The clear night sky view is also one to be enjoyed. It is also home to the endangered Nēnē geese. Although they died out, they were reintroduced and well catered for in the park.
The Kipahulu area is a closed area, unlike the summit area. Visitors cannot drive directly but would have to take a coastal road that drives towards the coast of the Island. This part of the park is in the lower part of the Kipahulu valley and it is protected to preserve the native plants and animal species inhabiting the area. This section of the park also features a dozen pools. The pools contain rare native freshwater fishes. Visitors can either choose to swim in them or hike the trail to Waimoku Falls. Endangered species have made this park their home and there are more in this area than they are across any other park in America.
Also, the Haleakalā Observatory is an observation site in the park. The centre sits atop the tropical layer and allows for excellent viewing of the clear skies and every other path. The centre has been managed by the Institute of astronomy of the University of Hawaii. The site is also used to conduct various experiments by the institute, one of which is the Maui Space Surveillance System (MSSS) that tracks various satellites orbiting Earth.
Despite its awesomeness, the park is faced with some issues. One of which is Environmental. Due to grazing from goats and pigs, the majority of the native vegetation is being destroyed. Due to their freedom, they trample and uproot these plants from the ground thereby causing soil erosion. Also, the endangered Nēnē bird which roamed the islands across Hawaii is only situated on the Island of Hawai'i. These birds have been hunted for commerce gains and have greatly decreased their population. As of 2010, there were only 2000 of these birds left. Climate change has also affected the Silversword plant. Since the plant only grows in Haleakalā and nowhere else, the weather has greatly damaged it. Also, tourists and visitors end up plucking them as souvenirs.
Regardless, the island remains a magnificent sight and is a must-see whenever you're in Hawaii.