explore

Hiking The Kaupo Gap, Biking Down The Haleakala Highway

Almost a year ago I came up with the idea for an epic one-day mission on Maui: Hike from sea level to the top of Haleakala, a dormant volcano with a summit at 10,000 feet, then ride a bike down the paved roads on the other side, almost 80km, back to where my parents live.

Last week, I made it happen.

On Friday, I rented a bike and drove it up to the to the summit, then went to bed super early that night.

On Saturday morning, I woke up at 4:00am and got picked up at 4:30am.

At 6:15am, my ride and I arrived at this spot just a little bit north of the Kaupo General Store (its on the East side of the island,  south of Hana). It wasn’t exactly sea level, but close enough for my purposes. Once it was light enough, I said goodbye and hiked down the road to the trailhead.

At 6:15am, my ride and I arrived at this spot just a little bit north of the Kaupo General Store (its on the East side of the island, south of Hana). It wasn’t exactly sea level, but close enough for my purposes. Once it was light enough, I said goodbye and hiked down the road to the trailhead.

Walking along the road on the way to the trail head - this seemed like such a perfect Hawaiian scene.

Walking along the road on the way to the trail head - this seemed like such a perfect Hawaiian scene.

After gaining some elevation, I saw the edge of the sun hitting the rim of the crater.

After gaining some elevation, I saw the edge of the sun hitting the rim of the crater.

Stopped for a drink of water and a snack here, looking South East.

Stopped for a drink of water and a snack here, looking South East.

I thought this tree looked neat - plus you can see the tip of the big island above the clouds behind it. Elevation here is around 1000m/~3,000 feet.

I thought this tree looked neat - plus you can see the tip of the big island above the clouds behind it. Elevation here is around 1000m/~3,000 feet.

Just before entering the national park boundary - the “trail” is a little bit tricky to find (I don’t think many people hike this route. It’s a good thing I had a good GPS app!)

Just before entering the national park boundary - the “trail” is a little bit tricky to find (I don’t think many people hike this route. It’s a good thing I had a good GPS app!)

The view after a few hours of hiking - almost above the clouds here. The trail was a bit better, and I regret that I didn’t get a better picture of the crater wall (just to the left in this photo). It was massive, and really gave you an idea of the scale of Haleakala.

The view after a few hours of hiking - almost above the clouds here. The trail was a bit better, and I regret that I didn’t get a better picture of the crater wall (just to the left in this photo). It was massive, and really gave you an idea of the scale of Haleakala.

In the crater properly now - it’s an incredibly desolate and beautiful landscape. It feels like Mars (which is probably why I like it so much - if you know me, you know my obsession with the Mars trilogy by Kim Stanley Robinson).  The summit is barely visibly in the left of this photo. The elevation of the crater floor is around 2,000m.

In the crater properly now - it’s an incredibly desolate and beautiful landscape. It feels like Mars (which is probably why I like it so much - if you know me, you know my obsession with the Mars trilogy by Kim Stanley Robinson).

The summit is barely visibly in the left of this photo. The elevation of the crater floor is around 2,000m.

View from the summit, at around 3,000m or 10,000 feet. The last 500m climb was incredibly tough- I was super exhausted after hiking for 7ish hours, and was also really feeling the elevation.  The far wall is where I hiked from, and almost the entire last third of the hike is visible in this photo.  Look closely and you can see a near-full moon (there’s probably a better term for that…) in the sky.

View from the summit, at around 3,000m or 10,000 feet. The last 500m climb was incredibly tough- I was super exhausted after hiking for 7ish hours, and was also really feeling the elevation.

The far wall is where I hiked from, and almost the entire last third of the hike is visible in this photo.

Look closely and you can see a near-full moon (there’s probably a better term for that…) in the sky.

Then after a short break for water and to text my parents (gotta let them know I was safe!) I hopped on the bike that I had left there the day before….and rode down the paved roads on the other side. The first 55km were pretty much downhill (and cold!). Then it was flat cycling for about 25km.  I was super focussed on not getting blown off the side of the road by the wind, and also on braking enough so I didn’t go into the hairpin turns too fast, so didn’t really enjoy the view.

Then after a short break for water and to text my parents (gotta let them know I was safe!) I hopped on the bike that I had left there the day before….and rode down the paved roads on the other side. The first 55km were pretty much downhill (and cold!). Then it was flat cycling for about 25km.

I was super focussed on not getting blown off the side of the road by the wind, and also on braking enough so I didn’t go into the hairpin turns too fast, so didn’t really enjoy the view.

I made it home in time to have a beer and watch the sunset with my dad.

I made it home in time to have a beer and watch the sunset with my dad.

The hiking route (Google’s projected time was 8h34m, which was pretty much on the mark (I think I finished in a little over 8 hours)

The hiking route (Google’s projected time was 8h34m, which was pretty much on the mark (I think I finished in a little over 8 hours)

The bike ride (which took about 2h45m).

The bike ride (which took about 2h45m).

Some notes on this hike:

  • I had 3.5 litres of water with me - it wasn’t enough. I’d recommend much more than that if you’re doing this hike.

  • The hike from Kaupo General Store into the crater is absolutely brutal - much of the trail is like an old ATV trail with big, loose rocks (I’m used to New Zealand and British Columbia, where the trails are in much better condition!) I chalk this up to this section being rarely used.

  • Use a a map app! I used Gaia GPS, and made sure I had a map of the region downloaded. There were a few sections where the trail was hard to find.

  • I really felt the elevation/altitude at the end - the last 500m of elevation were some of the toughest I’ve done.




A Smokey Hike To Wedgemount Lake

In the midst of all the forest fire smoke a few weeks ago my friend and I took a Tuesday off work to hike to Wedgemount Lake. 

Vancouver Trails describes it as "the most difficult hike in Garibaldi" and a "gruelling trek" with "spectacular scenery." 

I was into it. 

A lot of the hike was like this, but steeper: classic BC landscape.

A lot of the hike was like this, but steeper: classic BC landscape.

After a few hours of hiking, the trail flattened out a bit. You can see the haze in the air here from the smoke.

After a few hours of hiking, the trail flattened out a bit. You can see the haze in the air here from the smoke.

A few more steps and we saw the lake - the light quality was surreal, and really made it feel like a different planet. You can see the glacier in the background of this photo.

A few more steps and we saw the lake - the light quality was surreal, and really made it feel like a different planet. You can see the glacier in the background of this photo.

We hiked out to the other side of the lake to get a different view. Once again, you see the smoke in the air.

We hiked out to the other side of the lake to get a different view. Once again, you see the smoke in the air.

We worked up a thirst on the way up.

We worked up a thirst on the way up.

We hiked all the way to the glacier - maybe one of the last times to be up close to one with the way the world is going.

We hiked all the way to the glacier - maybe one of the last times to be up close to one with the way the world is going.

Some beautiful mountain flowers.

Some beautiful mountain flowers.

All in, it took us about five hours round trip (though that was with lots of stops for photos and lunch). 

I'd really recommend this hike - it's probably even more beautiful on a clear day. 

 

 

Istanbul > Tbilisi > Beirut

Every once in a while things line up for the opportunity to take the trip of a lifetime. In this case, it was the combination of a flexible work schedule and my friend Amir living in Beirut. 

I'd never really had a huge interest in visiting the Middle East (or Eurasia), 

Three Days In the North Cascades

During the Victoria Day long weekend here in Canada, I drove down to Washington State to go ski touring with a couple of friends. 

It was one of the tougher trips I've done (that said, it feels like every trip we do is the toughest one I've done!) and really pushed me out of my comfort zone. 

Some of the gear. Not picture: skis, poles, boots, additional warm weather gear. 

Some of the gear. Not picture: skis, poles, boots, additional warm weather gear. 

After a 5km walk down a logging road (in ski boots, carrying our gear), we should have had an fairly easy ski up to camp. Snow conditions were brutal, it was a lot more technical than we thought and there was a lot of swearing.

After a 5km walk down a logging road (in ski boots, carrying our gear), we should have had an fairly easy ski up to camp. Snow conditions were brutal, it was a lot more technical than we thought and there was a lot of swearing.

Our camp on the fist day. This was either immediately before or immediately after we got hit with freezing rain, and laid low in the tents for an hour or so. 

Our camp on the fist day. This was either immediately before or immediately after we got hit with freezing rain, and laid low in the tents for an hour or so. 

Sunset view from camp facing the other way. 

Sunset view from camp facing the other way. 

Sahale Peak was our destination: that little black triangle in the centre of the photo. It was still a a long ways off, but the weather was great. This photo was taken around 8am, after a 6am departure from camp. 

Sahale Peak was our destination: that little black triangle in the centre of the photo. It was still a a long ways off, but the weather was great. This photo was taken around 8am, after a 6am departure from camp. 

Rearranging gear and getting a drink as we head up Sahale Glacier. 

Rearranging gear and getting a drink as we head up Sahale Glacier. 

Pete out ahead, boot packing the last snow section until the peak. It was steep. 

Pete out ahead, boot packing the last snow section until the peak. It was steep. 

Just relaxing before the summit. 

Just relaxing before the summit. 

Different angle as previous photo. Just chilling near the summit. 

Different angle as previous photo. Just chilling near the summit. 

Ty lead-climbing the final summit section with his skis and gear - what an animal! He was planning on skiing off the far side, but conditions weren't good for it.   Not pictured: Me freaking out when I had to climb this section and almost not making the summit. Thanks for pushing me through it, Ty and Pete! 

Ty lead-climbing the final summit section with his skis and gear - what an animal! He was planning on skiing off the far side, but conditions weren't good for it. 

Not pictured: Me freaking out when I had to climb this section and almost not making the summit. Thanks for pushing me through it, Ty and Pete! 

Pete's boots as he belays Ty. 

Pete's boots as he belays Ty. 

Summit view. 

Summit view. 

Rappelling down from the summit (thanks for the photo, Ty!).

Rappelling down from the summit (thanks for the photo, Ty!).

We found some nice snow to ski down on the descent. Not pictured: my huge, wide turns (my legs were too tired to make pretty turns). 

We found some nice snow to ski down on the descent. Not pictured: my huge, wide turns (my legs were too tired to make pretty turns). 

Skiing out the final section after waking up in the clouds. You can sort of see some glaciers up on those cliffs, with big waterfalls running off of them. 

Skiing out the final section after waking up in the clouds. You can sort of see some glaciers up on those cliffs, with big waterfalls running off of them. 

Hiking back out 5km down the logging road with our gear - the green of the temperate rain forest felt like a different world after two days of snow, ice and rock. 

Hiking back out 5km down the logging road with our gear - the green of the temperate rain forest felt like a different world after two days of snow, ice and rock. 

It was an unbelievable trip, and there was no way I could have done it without Ty and Pete planning, leading and guiding me through it. 

I'm glad I pushed through and made the summit for no other reason than the sense of accomplishment.