So I'm trying to stay somewhat active while pregnant - I usually at least walk every day and sometimes do several lunges and squats. I wasn't a huge gym fanatic before I got pregnant (we're really more of the hiking, biking, activities outdoors kind of people), so I'm not overdoing the whole working out thing. But trying to be a little active every day even when I don't feel like it.
My favorite place in the world (thus far) is the Haleakala crater on Maui. I've never seen such diverse beauty in one place. We've hiked it once before a couple years ago, right before we moved off island (hiked in via the Sliding Sands trailhead, and out Halemau'u or "Switchbacks"). We did a 13 mile day hike with a group of friends, and it was extremely memorable.
This past weekend, we visited the Haleakala crater once again. But instead of just hiking through in a day, we backpacked in and stayed 2 nights in one of their wilderness cabins - 10.5 miles in via the Halemau'u ("Switchbacks") and 10.5 miles out the same way 2 days later. Backpacking is obviously very different from simply hiking - you have to carry all you're going to wear and eat for the next three days, in addition to your hiking gear, water, and any toiletries you may need. I'd never really truly been backpacking before - I think I went on a small day trip when I was in youth group or something. But this was an actual legit backpacking trip. And for someone who's 4 months pregnant, there were parts that were relatively challenging and intense. But Maui never disappoints when it comes to natural beauty and this trip was just that - beautiful. It was a challenge, but a beautiful challenge.
One of my favorite parts about the crater is the extreme diverse landscape. In a matter of a few miles, you walk through lush moist greenery to lava rocks to desert-ish sand and then back to lush moist greenery. It's a very unique habitat.
We call this area "Mordor".
And it would make sense that in this unique habitat there would be some very unique plant species. Below is the Silversword plant, and it is unique to the Haleakala crater on Maui. It can live up to 90 years.
The weather in Haleakala is very unpredictable. It misted on and off on the hike in, and then misted and even rained even more on the way out.
And then we reached our long-awaited cabin at Paliku (it was raining when we got in, so this picture was actually taken the following day).
That night, we feasted on steaks to replenish our worn out bodies (yes, we all hiked frozen steaks in). There was no electricity in the cabins, so we had candles for light as the sun went down. (And there were no showers either, so we took turns using the wood room as a sponge bath/changing room.) We cooked the steaks right on top of the woodburning stove in the kitchen. The water was not drinkable there, so we were constantly boiling and cooling water to replenish the water bottles of 9 people.
We had entertained the thought of a day hike the next day, but we were all so exhausted we ended up staying inside and playing card games and Pick 4 in between eating and nap-taking. Everyone was completely satisfied to be off of their weary feet for a day. Plus, it was raining for most of the day, which encouraged us even less to go outside except for a necessary trip up the muddy trail to the outhouse up the hill.
In between the rainy spells, however, we did manage to capture the sunshine in a few scenic pictures outside our cabin.
And Terri and Hannah found some delicious fresh berries while taking a walk, which tasted delicious on our oatmeal the next morning.
The hike out the following day was way more physically challenging for me than the first day. Even though we had a day of rest in between (in which I even took a nap) and had eaten plenty, the first half of the day was a bit tough. I wasn't feeling great to start with, and my muscles were beyond exhaustion, like they weren't getting enough oxygen or something. I guess it could have been the altitude, but it didn't affect me like that on the hike in. The first 3 miles were also uphill most of the way, and the sun was out for most of that part, which made it more hot and exhausting. I was chugging water like crazy.
Brannon had also gotten quite a bit in front of me, which was hard especially since I wasn't feeling my best. He had no idea I wasn't feeling great or he would've come running. After we caught up with them at a break, he could tell all was not well. He made me chug a Gatorade and eat a Power Bar, and insisted on carrying my pack for awhile until I regained some of my strength. He ended up carrying it for about 2 miles (he actually carried for a couple miles on the way in, too). My (& baby's) hero.
We trekked on, and then towards the end it really started raining. It had been misting for most of the day, but now it was legitimately raining (there are no pictures of this). At this point we were hiking straight uphill up the switchback trail, so at least we kept our heart rates up so we weren't cold. About a mile or so from the finish, Caleb (the 13 yr old Hallsten) who was ahead of the rest of the group with his dad and younger brother, hiked (or ran really) back down the mountain to help others with their packs. He took my pack the rest of the way (what a tough guy!).
After we all made it back and had loaded up the vehicles, we headed to Starbucks in Pukalani to warm our insides. And then fought for showers and the washer and dryer when we got home. ;)
All in all, it was a great trip, and another memorable one. Trips like this can really bring people closer together, especially when there's a challenge involved. I was a little nervous going into it, but came out the other side (with the help of my awesome hubs) glad that I went, glad that I took the challenge. And after all that, the Haleakala crater is still my favorite place in the world.
Oh yeah, and here's a baby-bump-in-the-crater picture for ya.
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