Route: Haleakala Lollipop (HI)

Location
Hawaii, US
Description

Route submitted by Benjamin Pratt:

34miles - 7200' gain

Be sure to start in the early morning hours before the sunrise. Try to time your summit for the Sunrise. Trust me you wont be disappointed. The route starts at Polipoli Spring State Recreation Area. Get ready to climb because the first section is completely uphill. The first couple miles go through a Redwood Forest (on Hawaii?? I know, I thought the same thing). As you emerge from the forest, you will pick up the Maui Skyline trail. This is a jeep road that will head towards the summit of Haleakala. As you climb higher the views of Maui open up and its even possible to see the Big Island. The Summit is close when you see a cluster of Observatories. From here is a short road section to the visitor's lookout at the Haleakala summit 10,023'. Watch out for tourist in rental cars looking at you and thinking WTF... This begins the next part of the route. Re-fill water at the visitor center before descending into the crater, the next section will be the longest before a water re-supply. Take the Sliding Sands trail down to the floor of the crater. This is a huge descent with long traverses, and views of the vast crater. Now in the crater run a big clockwise loop, returning to the Sliding Sands trail you just came down. At the beginning of the loop head North on the KaMoaopele Loop trail, this is where you will be running across the surface of Mars. Go straight at the next trail intersection taking the trail that weaves between Haläli'i and Pu'u Naue cinder cones. Trail name changes to Halemau'u Trail. You will notice the scenery changing from desolate to more vegetation as you venture across the crater. Now at the end of this trail, start the loop back on Sliding Sands trail. Keep your eyes out for a Nene sighting. These Hawaiian geese only live in the Haleakala crater. This section ends at the Kapalaoa Cabin. This a good point to re-charge before the last big climb of the day. There is a water collection system at the cabin, however it is not potable and must be filtered. Top off water and head out of the crater. Head out of the cabin towards the start of your climb and finishing a giant loop inside the Haleakala crater. Climbing up Sliding Sands is long and never ending, which for an ultra runner is a completely enjoyable experience. The climb is worth it as you get to make it to the top of Haleakala for the 2nd time today. Re-fill water for the last time at the visitors center. It is all downhill from here. Descend the Maui Skyline trail back to the Redwood forest at Poli Poli State Park. You have arrived back where you started. Give yourself a High 5 and find something delicious to eat! I recommend Poki!

Benjamin added:

I planned a trip to Maui around an Ultra race that was cancelled after booking all of the travel arraignments. I didn't want this to be a let down, so I decided I would run my own race/adventure. Using Caltopo and parts of the course map I created my own big adventure. The race cancellation was a probably for the best. The run described was so enjoyable, scenic, and adventurous. Getting to spend a day in Maui, exploring a totally unique landscape filled my running "purpose" in a big way. I pushed myself throughout the run, however there is definitely room for improvement. The out and back nature, water resupply, manageable distance make this totally doable solo run for any motivated runner. My official stats were 33.72 miles, total time 8:32:28, 15:05/mi - 7215' gain.