Sunrise & Ghost Mountain

Ben Pittenger

Looking west, at sunrise, from atop Haleakala volcano, Maui, Hawai`i. On the right is Mauna Kahalawai; on the left ... ? an apparition - the shadow of Haleakala.

The Haleakalā silversword (Argyroxiphium sandwicense macrocephalum) in the foreground grows nowhere else in the world. 25 years ago a handful remained in this rarified environment, having declined due to tourists collecting them, and goats, cattle, and deer eating them. Then some people made a momentous decision - to fence the entire crater area - an area larger than the island of Manhattan. It was an exclosure, and it saved the ecosystem from its precipitous decline. Once the goats, deer, cattle, and pigs were removed or eradicated, this house of the Sun began to heal itself.


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