It was still complete darkness as rain began to softly fall and patter against the foliage near the bedroom window. The stillness of the early morning and chill in the air would, under normal circumstances, be reason enough to remain cozy under the covers until the sun made its appearance. But today was far from normal. It was 3:00 am (!) on our fifth wedding anniversary. For this marvelous marriage milestone, we were forfeiting precious sleep to witness the iconic sunrise on the summit of Haleakalā, Maui’s highest peak. The early-morning heavenly ascent was a fitting tribute to our first five vibrant, adventurous years of marriage.
Hot tea accompanied the long, dark, winding drive to the summit. Anticipation rose with elevation as first light began to illuminate the horizon. As the colors began to intensify, however, anticipation slowly turned to consternation. Did we embark on our mountainous sojourn too late? How is that possible?!? The race against the rising sun had officially heightened with haste.
We pulled into the parking lot and quickly grabbed warm blankets, clothes, and camera gear. Tourist buses had already arrived, so we navigated the masses to find an unobstructed view. We previously read that a path to the right of the main area offered a premiere perspective with only a nominal climb. The Park Ranger, however, discouraged our plan with dire warnings of difficulty. The main viewing area had to be sufficient on this morning.
The photo essay of Haleakalā was my humble attempt to capture the inspiring beauty of our anniversary sunrise trek. We were truly blessed to colorfully commence our milestone day in this majestic world ten thousand feet above our own.
After sunrise, with light to guide our steps, we abandoned the Park Ranger’s admonitions and decided to traverse the rocky path to higher ground.
Not nearly as arduous as expected, we arrived at the top in relatively short order. It was here that I captured this week’s favorite photo. Admittedly, I am a sucker for silhouettes. However, I love so much more about this image: the texture and formation of the painted clouds; the boundless horizon; the soft, blue tones cast on the mountain below; and the dark, jagged foreground accented by the morning light. Above all, for me this image captures the spirit of an undaunted pursuit of adventure.
I wholeheartedly believe that life is best lived with a healthy dose of curiosity and diligent pursuit of knowledge and new experiences. With these elements, it can be full of wonderful and unexpected adventures. Our world provides endless opportunities to experience different people, cultures, languages, cuisine, and history. There is always more to learn, more to explore, more to share. Life never needs to be boring; it is ordinary only when we allow it to be.
This journey also reminded me that I have an amazing companion who enriches the adventures of life. I am immensely grateful for my beautiful, loving, and patient wife who encourages me to pursue life with passion and purpose. Thank you for a grace-filled marriage that affords the freedom to try, space to explore, and conversations that shape my faith paradigms. For the record, I do love you more than my camera!