A small portion of the ‘Ahihi Bay area is the only portion of this reserve that remains open to the public. In times past this area was loaded with prime snorkeling and kayaking, plus some interesting lava field hikes. Don’t fret – while the reserve is closed, excellent snorkeling can still be found. Lava field hikes are also still open past the southern boundaries of the reserve into the La Perouse Bay area.
Due to the closure, this is a drive-through experience as the road to La Perouse bisects the mauka and makai sections of the reserve. The lava here is the youngest on the island, and there is some debate as to when it last erupted. Carbon dating says ~1500-1600. But in the 1800’s, Europeans who misunderstood many of the nuances of the Hawaiian language, determined that this eruption was in 1790. The 1790 figure relies on a shaky translation of “the time of our grandparents” as literal, combined with some other data also of questionable source. People still like to quote the more recent date, I believe because it hits home the fact that Haleakala is still an active volcano which is all but certain to erupt again.
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