Haleakala Sea-to-Summit Climb
Pacific Ocean to Paliku Campsite via the Kaupo Trail
Friday, February 24
Up before dawn, we were finished with breakfast, and were putting the final touches on our packs by the time the sun rose above the horizon. By now we were used to the constant intermittent rainshowers of Hawaii, and we decided to start off with raincovers on our packs.
The first order of business was our ceremonial dip-of-the-toe into the ocean, marking the official start of our sea-to-summit climb of Haleakala. To do this, we hiked down grassy slopes to the nearby Mokulau Beach, where we carefully timed our boot wettings between the reasonably large waves that were crashing ashore. Looking up from the beach, we could see some of Haleakala's crater rim, more than 8,000 feet above us.
We then walked along the access road for the Huialoha Church, we presently brought us back to the Piilani Highway. We stopped a few short minutes later at the bridge over the Manawainui Stream. I had done some looking on our topo map and had kept my eyes open on yesterday evening's walk to the Kaupo store, and it looked like this was the only practical place for us to get water down here.
It was troublesome to get down to the stream under the bridge; there land right around the bridge was fenced off and the slope down to the river is filled with tangled vegetation and is somewhat steep. With some effort, we managed to get down to the water and start our filtering. There were an annoying number of tiny little mosquitoes that encouraged us to get the job done as soon as possible. Definitely one of the less pleasant water fillup locations that I've encountered.
Now tanked-up for the first part of the day, we scrambled back out of the stream bed and back onto the Piilani Highway. We only had to follow it for another 500 yards before we arrived at the narrow track of a road that led right, directly up the lower slopes of Haleakala. This was the road to the Kaupo Trailhead.
The walk up the road was more pleasant than I had expected. The ranch and farm land that the road passes through is quite pleasant, and the road itself is often a very nice twin track through green grass. The road passes a few tidy-looking homesteads.
We walked for about a mile uphill, then turned left on the level and soon arrived at the Kaupo Trailhead, where a big National Park Service sign greeted us. A closed car gate blocked the road, but a small hiker gate was unlocked and allowed us access to the start of the trail.
Even though we were now on the Kaupo Trail, we were also on the private lands of the Kaupo Ranch. An agreed-upon access route has been established for the Kaupo Trail and the park service has placed numerous 'trail' posts to help hikers stay on the route. The first few posts were prominent and easy to follow.