We started the 10,023 ascent up Mt. Haleakala in Maui with both wonder and a little trepidation. (We were repeatedly warned, by locals and by signs, not to ride the car's brakes on the way down lest we wanted them to fail!) We found ourselves in a thick mass of clouds at one point that we thought would never part. Inevitably it did, a big ray of sunshine and clear blue sky radiating more as we ascended.
Each lookout point, as we carefully yet enthusiastically approached the summit, provided a sweeping view of the terra below. The air was clean and fresh, the temperature a good 10 to 15 degrees cooler than when we started. I was told that the volcano last erupted 400 years ago and was still considered active. 400 years isn't all that long ago when one thinks about it. Finally, we reached the top victorious. The icing on the cake was the ability to see in the distance, through the horizon, the Big Island of Hawaii due east. One word came to mind, however pedestrian: wow.
The way down wasn't as perilous as I was given to imagine. Fortunately, I wasn't tasked with driving duties. Yes, there were zigs, zags and curves on the two lane road. However, it was wide enough to accommodate our mid-sized rent-a-car, whose brakes I must praise.
Finally, driving on the straightaway, I could confidently say that I had indeed reached the summit of a volcano. I was able to behold the wonder and beauty below that its view afforded. Highly recommended for those who have never been.