Elyse Butler and Matt Mallams and went on an incredible two day hike into Haleakalā Volcano on the island of Maui, one of the quietest places on Earth. On assignment for Hana Hou! The Hawaiian Airlines Magazine, searching for silence in the crater of Haleakalā, we went to discover and illustrate the quiet solitude found there.
It was such a unique and amazing experience, spending days in a surreal, barren world high above the clouds, watching the most vivid sunrises and brightest stars in the night sky, and hearing only the occasional gusts of wind or insects buzzing by. We hiked 12 miles and over 3000 feet of elevation, listening to the sounds of Pele, feeling the massive landscape around us, it was definitely one of our most rewarding adventures yet. See the full spread that ran in Hana Hou! and more photos from our journey.
The writer, Edward Readicker-Henderson, has traveled the globe listening for quiet. His story is beautifully written, truly illustrates the feeling being there, excerpt below…
“The paper crackles loud as thunder as I check my map: I’ve reached my destination. And so at last, five years after I should have come, at a spot where there’s nothing around me but multicolored cinder cones rising, I stop. The wind does not touch me, and nothing moves. I stop shuffling, find a comfortable way to sit. The sky is empty. The landscape, empty. It takes a while to hear through myself, my breath, my heartbeat, the ringing in my ears. Louder yet are my thoughts: Is this really as quiet as it’s supposed to be? What am I doing here? Is it different from the other places I’ve gone?
But as time passes, my body quiets, my mind slows to match the stillness and I start to hear something else. The crater. The island. The sound comes not as sound, but through the rough sand under my hands, the slow gradations of color.
When I can’t hear my body anymore, I touch my wrist. My heart moves in time with something at the edge of sensation, a disturbance of the field. Maybe it’s the vibration of distant waves coming ashore. Maybe it’s just the island breathing. I’ve never heard anything like it; I probably never will again.
I sit for as long as the quiet lasts, feeling my pulse, or maybe the pulse of Haleakalā. Or maybe, just now, they’re the same.”
Space on the Sliding Sands Trail
Walking along the edge of Earth
Curve of the crater near Kawilinau
Sunrise in the meadow of yellow flowers at Holua
Rocks, cinder, and blue skies
Red Cinder along the Sliding Sands ‘Keonehe’ehe’e’ Trail
Park Ranger from afar
Sunrise from the Summit
Stars in the Night Sky at Holua
Matt hiking the Sliding Sands Trail into the crater
Elyse at the Holua campsite