Ryoko and I were visiting the Hawaii office from VELTRA HQ in Tokyo on business, but we also got to spend a weekend on Maui and see Haleakala!

Ryoko, Taylor, and Satoko pose for a picture
Ryoko, Taylor, and I posing before sunset

Taylor accompanied Ryoko and me on this Haleakala tour, which had two parts: a sunset and stargazing visit to the summit and a downhill bike ride the following day.

It was my first time to Haleakala and also my first time being above the clouds. Haleakala’s summit is 3,055m (10,023 ft) above sea level. I thought we’d have a long hike to get to the top, but I was surprised to find that it’s accessible by car.

A beautiful sunset above the clouds!

Being at the summit gave me a 360-degree, panoramic view. Standing 10,000 feet up and looking at the clouds, sun, and volcanic rock below me felt like I was part of the sky. At that moment, all my responsibilities and worries felt far away, like I was in a different world altogether.

The terrain of Haleakala seems like a different world

After watching the sunset in the cold mountain air, we were able to watch the stars as they appeared in the night sky. Being above the clouds gave us such a clear view of the stars—it felt like I was closer to the universe! Eventually we returned to our hotel to get some sleep, but our Haleakala tour wasn’t done yet.

We drove to the top in the morning with our bikes attached to the van

Since our sightseeing tour was over, the next morning we got to warm up with some exercise!

3,055+1 meters above sea level!

The downhill bike ride was so much fun! Speed, fresh air, great scenery, I felt like I was one with nature. This is definitely something anyone who likes speed and adventure would love to do. The downhill ride wasn’t strenuous, and having a windbreaker kept me comfortable in the cold morning air.

Curious cattle captured on camera!

Along the way down, there were more cows, goats, and horses than humans! Our guide was really friendly and helpful. He told us he was from Ohio and offered to take pictures of us throughout the tour. Though it was fast and I had to brake the entire way, I felt like we were in good hands during the downhill ride.

じゃ、また!A hui hou! See you later!

Thinking back on the experience, I want to go back again. Hopefully I’ll get another chance to visit Maui soon!

Taylor attempts to shoot a hadouken into a sun
Bonus picture: Taylor being Taylor

If you want to experience a Haleakala summit and downhill biking adventure, you can find tours on HawaiiActivities’ Haleakala Downhill Bike Tours page.