We woke up bright and early on day 9 of our honeymoon because we had to drive about an hour and a half to Haleakala Crater! We signed up for the all-day horseback ride into the crater! It takes about 45 min. from the base of the volcano to get to the top. When you first arrive at the base, they give you a helmet for the horseback ride and a bottle of water. The elevation is so high, they don't want you getting light-headed. We were instructed to drink the bottle on the way up to the top. Looking back, I think I would have been fine without the water... We kept going up and up and winding around curves. You know you are high up when you are actually above the cloud line!
Once we reached the top, our guide, Rah, was waiting for us with all of the horses. (I don't remember his real name, but all of his friends called him Rah after the sun god!) There was a building of restrooms and he told us we'd better go now because it would be 3 hours before we could go again. Okay, cool. I went, mounted my horse, and immediately had to go again- dang water bottle! I came to find out I wasn't the only one. :)
The horse Rah chose for me was named "Mele" as in "Mele Kalikimaka" or "merry christmas" in Hawaiian. If any of you know me at all, it was like divine intervention that this was my horse! Christmas is my absolute favorite holiday so this was completely fitting for me. :) Mele and I got along just fine and she was a beautiful horse.
David's horse was named Rocky and he was a little spunkster! David rode right behind me and Rocky would start walking really slowly, and then all of a sudden speed up to a gallup! Rocky was having too much fun. :) Rocky is also known to like sneakers. His favorite are Nike and lucky for him, David was wearing Nike's on our trip. Rocky was spotted quite often turning around to lick David's shoes. :)
Our ride took us all the way down into the crater and from the first moment, it was breathtaking. The pictures don't do the colors justice. We had to wind our way down a path and eventually hit some pretty steep areas- areas even the horses were wary about. Obviously these horses travel this path daily, but they still didn't like it too much! Mele would hit a spot and stop, look back at me as if to say, "You're kidding right? This is really what you want me to do?" So I'd do a little coaxing and she'd look back at me to say, "You're absolutely sure about this?" And then she'd slowly saunter down the steep slope. Too stinkin' cute.
There is one part of the volcanic crater that has since crumbled off. It drops off about a 40 degree angle, but it doesn't look like it. It looks as if it just ends and you're so high up, all you can see is sky in front of you. So gorgeous.
About 30 minutes before we made it to the campground for lunch, we were all looking for a building. Rah said we could use the bathroom when we stopped for lunch. We looked and looked to no avail and finally Rah stopped us and said, "we're here!" Umm, I'm sorry- where are we supposed to go to the bathroom? Rah pointed the boys towards this bush:
And the girls towards this bush:
Ahh, I see now. Luckily one of the other ladies on the trip had been smart enough to bring some extra toilet paper with her and was so nice to share!
Lunch was a yummy turkey sandwich on a croissant with chips and pineapple for a snack! Rah also brought some sugar cookies that were pretty good, too! And just for the record- Hawaii does have bees and they do like food.
Rah loaded us back up on our horses and before we set off, took a picture of us with Mele and Rocky. :)
The trip back up was another 3 hours but we felt like old pros at that point so it was a lot of fun. We had too book it back to our hotel to get ready for our festivities that night! We heard about a magic show that was "absolutely wonderful and fantastic and if you ever visit Maui you have to go there!" So we booked tickets for Warren and Annabelle's before we left. It's such a popular show, they sell out pretty quickly. You all know me, I do my research and I found out the magician, Warren Gibson, actually went to Clemson! WHAT?? David and I were so excited! David ended up sending them an e-mail letting them know we were coming and were from Clemson and wanted to bring Warren a Clemson shirt as a souvenir. So of course I had to dress up in Clemson colors that night!
Warren and Annabelle's is a dinner comedy place. When we first arrived, we had to sign in and when we gave our names David leaned over to me and said, "did you hear that? The lady just told that other person, 'those are the Bell's!'" So they were expecting us! In order to get into the piano dining room, you had to go through a secret passageway and with a key and a clue, find out how to get through to the other side! I was excited because they handed me the key!
We got through to the other side pretty quickly, but I won't ruin any surprises in case you go one day. :) We were seated and menus were brought and then Annabelle started to play. Annabelle is the ghost of this little village whose lover died at see and now she plays the piano to try to draw him home. She's invisible of course, but plays the piano in the middle of the room. You can shout out any request and she'll play it. It was pretty cool!
After the show was over, they had a meet-and-greet with Warren and we were able to give him his shirt then. He was so excited and kind! Because we brought him a shirt, he ended up letting us each have a shirt for free! It was such a neat experience and we would definitely go again if/when we go back to Maui!