Earth - Allie Kelley
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Haleakala Sunrise

Much more than a single moment, the journey to this point involved driving hours in the dark up a steep and winding crater, sleeping in a car on the side of the road, and waking at 5AM to continue to drive past 10,000 feet of elevation to this breathtaking point above the clouds. The drive up was slow and steady as I knew my headlights were the only thing protecting me from the cliffs looming in the distance. Once I reached a safe place to sleep, I pulled off the road unsure of what might happen in the night. Before falling asleep, I stepped outside and stared up at the most brilliant sky full of stars. It was then I knew this was the perfect resting place. Had the cold weather at this elevation not driven me back into the warmth of my sleeping bag in the car, I would have gladly slept outside under this cosmic blanket of sparks beaming down from space. When I woke, it was still dark yet there was no time to spare. As the road continued up the crater, the turns became sharper still until I finally reached the top. Running from my car I lined up at the crater’s rim just minutes before the sun broke through the clouds. This experience might be one of the closest things I’ve witnessed that compares to what astronauts see beyond earth’s atmosphere. Mahalo nui loa Maui.