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  • WELCOME to our life through the lens!

    Thanks for stopping by our page! Here we will share our adventures and travels. If you were brought here by accident and were looking for my business page, please visit If you're here to catch up on the Crazy Clark Clan, you've come to the right place! Thank you for letting us share our life through images with you.

Backpacking Haleakala Volcano {Maui, Hawaii Backpacking Trip)

I’ll start by saying that hiking this volcano will change your life. Haleakala, on the Maui island of Hawaii is the world’s largest dormant volcano. It’s a National Park and a United Nations International Biosphere Reserve. We decided on the 2 night, 20 mile round trip, spending the first night at Paliku and the 2nd night at Holua. You can reserve cabins which looked really amazing but we opted to do it true backpack style and tent it. Flying from California to Hawaii with the sole intention of hiking this was a bit stressful as we watched weather sites insist it was going to pour buckets the entire time we were planning on being there. Now I’m not one to run from rain but I am no a fan of hiking for hours in heavy drops and trying to set up a tent in a tropical downpour. We ended up seriously lucking out as it only rained on us once, approximately 10 minutes after we set up tent at Paliku. Having a post hike nap snuggled next to your best friend nestled in the crevice of tropical, volcanic mountains was nothing less than spiritual heaven. This link from Unreal Hawaii was our inspiration and guiding light when planning our journey into the volcano. You do have to start at the headquarters and get a permit as well as watch a 10 minute video on how to respect this delicate ecosystem. Completely common sense to most outdoorsmen/women but required nonetheless. Apparently Haleakala is still considered an active volcano by most scientists and has erupted over 6 times in the past 1000 years. I mean…if I’m going to die, please let it be hiking in a volcano.
Of course what should follow 20 miles of hiking in and our of a volcano but a fancy schmancy stay at The Andaz Maui. You’ve got to reward yourself in life a little, right? Ok I’ll stop talking now and just show the amazingness that is this volcano.


Tech Nerdery: iPhone 6

The route (our journey in sloppy yellow):

haleakala map


The ridge will be packed with folks watching the sunrise. Luckily 99.99% of the people there will not be venturing down into it.
backpacking haleakala hawaiiHaleakala means “house of the sun” which is clearly the perfect name for her. See that beautiful fog just hovering below the ridge….ya we will hike right through it.backpacking haleakala hawaiiThe first leg of the hike to Paliku is 10 miles of the the most beautiful and varied terrain I’ve ever seen in one hike. This was taken in the first few miles of dropping into the volcano below the fog layers.backpacking haleakala hawaiibackpacking haleakala hawaiibackpacking haleakala hawaiiCamp at Paliku.backpacking haleakala hawaiiThe hillsides of Paliku…can you beat this view? No, no you can’t.backpacking haleakala hawaiiIt was suuuuuuuper damn with the rain and moist air but oh so beautiful when the sun poked out to light up the dew drops.backpacking haleakala hawaiiOk so I hate geese…like HATE….GEESE. But for some reason, the Nene birds of Maui didn’t bother me one bit. Maybe it was the magic of the Polynesian gods or the fact that they are super sweet and friendly and sound like baby cows when they talk to you. Either way….we had fun with them.
backpacking haleakala hawaiiLaser light show in the tent.backpacking haleakala hawaiiSee how far ahead of me he gets when it’s selfie time?backpacking haleakala hawaiiDay 2 of the hike from Paliku to Holua. This particular stretch was sooooooo incredibly quiet. The peacefulness and solitude we experienced down there was an unparalleled experience.backpacking haleakala hawaiibackpacking haleakala hawaiiThe terrain continues to vary mile by mile.backpacking haleakala hawaiibackpacking haleakala hawaiibackpacking haleakala hawaiiSetting up camp at Holua. The hike from Paliku to this site was about 6 miles and was to me, the most incredible portion of the trip. The cabins are actually at the bottom of the hill and we much preferred the view from the tent sites here.backpacking haleakala hawaiiMorning sunrise from Holua.backpacking haleakala hawaiibackpacking haleakala hawaii

The last portion of the hike ia about 4 1/2 miles of straight uphill switchbacks which made for stunning views and burning quads.


And finally…reaching the top and the views (ok obstructed views) of the Pacific Ocean! Triumph!


I wish I had gotten a picture of us hitchhiking back to the top (it’s very common and there’s even a hitchhiking waiting spot) but I was too excited to be laying down on the concrete. After waiting for a trusting soul to pick us up for about 45 minutes, I realized something. Hitchhiking is like watching rejection pass you by and stare you in the face over…and over…and over…and over…

After some trusting soul risked their lives to pick us up, we grabbed the car at headquarters and headed straight for beer.


And then…relaxation.

backpacking haleakala hawaiibackpacking haleakala hawaiibackpacking haleakala hawaiibackpacking haleakala hawaiibackpacking haleakala hawaiibackpacking haleakala hawaiibackpacking haleakala hawaiibackpacking haleakala hawaiibackpacking haleakala hawaiibackpacking haleakala hawaiibackpacking haleakala hawaii

Just what the dr ordered! We were highly impressed with the Andaz Maui and would stay there again in a heartbeat!backpacking haleakala hawaiibackpacking haleakala hawaii

And how about we end on a completely immature, no way in hell can you actually drink beer underwater, why are our sunglasses on, shot. Aloha.backpacking haleakala hawaii

In Love and Adventure,

The Clarks

Summer Camping {Ice House Reservoir Campground}

One of our absolute favorite places to camp is Ice House Reservoir. Towering pondersa pine, lake front sites for both trailer and tent camping, and a perfect size lake for fishing, swimming, kayaking, paddle boarding, and swimming across like Olympic athletes with a teensey mimosa buzz! Even with the severe drought this year, the lake was at a pleasing level with enough shoreline to play camp bocce and catch some rays while sipping cold brewskis. Some of our favorite people on the planet are in this post so it’s an extra special one for us.

Tech Nerdery: a mix of iPhone 5s and Canon 5dMiii with 35L and 135L

Our humble little site. Camp life rocks.

Some serious camp booce right there.

Signs of kids at camp.

Years and years of friendship and memories with everyone in this photo! We are so lucky to have these guys in our lives!

We are dorks. The end.

Chowing on some smoked trout that we caught here a year ago and froze. Absolutely amazing!

Camping IS for dirt.

And rock painting.

Real men let kids paint their face…

Real men also drink red wine from pink flamingo cups.

Friends who camp together…stay together.

Some random hike we found at the end of a potholed dirt road!


In Love and Adventure,

The Clarks

Backpacking Lake Margaret {Kirkwood Backpacking with Kids}

Ohhhhh Lake Margaret trail…where do I begin with you? Decided to take the kids and the dog backpacking alone and this trip turned out to be quite the experience. Let’s just say when you are the only adult picking up the weight and slack, your pack is ridiculously heavy and oversized for a 5 foot 1 frame (image attached). This hike had mixed reviews, mainly revolving around the “stream” crossings. Depending on when and how much water they release dictates the height and flow of the stream. The day we went, it was DEEP and FAST flowing. Trying to get two kids across deep rivers (yes, I’m calling them rivers) with the hyper dog running back and forth over the fallen log nearly knocking us all over was not my idea of a relaxing hike. Once we reached Lake Margaret and set up camp, the kids used the massive granite rocks to explore. I was bummed that it was freezing and while the kids did dip a little in the lake, it was not swimming temperature so that was one less activity for them to pass the time with. During dinner time as we gathered around the stove and ate, we had a visit from a massive black bear. Approximately 4 feet away…chowing down on all the food we were yet to eat on this trip. Due to the fact that all the reviews and the ranger said they haven’t seen a bear in this area for years, I was not prepared and didn’t have bear spray. Dodger viciously went after the bear who all but turned his nose up at him and kept on plowing through our unlocked bear box. Waving him (or her) off with my hat waving over my head while hurling rocks at it head, bear took one last chew and slowly sauntered off. Minuted later our neighbors on the other side of the rock were crying out that said bear had ripped their tent to shreads and ate all of their food, first aid kit included. I knew in my heart that without cell service or bear spray combined with the fact that bear had gone after anything scent related, including alcohol swabs, that it was not safe to stay the night here. We quickly packed up camp and I hurried the kids back out the 2 1/2 miles to the car before the sun set. I was driving them like snow huskies, passing out energy chews like Skittles. While it took us a relaxing 90 minutes to get to camp, we hustled out of there un 45 minutes. That’s a brisk pace with constant elevation gain and loss with a 4 and 6 year old and a 10 year old dog.

Here’s a link to the trail and some other reviews if you would like to go back and feed the bear:

Am I upset we went…no way! It’s a story we will tell around campfires for years to come! Chris has mentioned on more than one occasion, “No pictures of the bear means it didn’t happen” but you’ll just have to believe me on this one. And of course, the kids back the story too so there’s that.


Tech Nerdery: iPhone 6

My absolute favorite view there is…Hello little slither.This photo does not do justice to how deep and quickly moving this water was! Now imagine both kids crossing with Dodger blazing back and forth over the log millimeters from knocking them into the stream.That’s what a mom backpacking alone with two kids are too little to carry much stuff looks like. Photo credit to 4 year old Blu.Such angry but beautiful sky!Our little camp…The kids LOVE to pump water!

The remnants of bear claws meets food.The bear came down right through that brushy part between the rocks. We were eating by Dodger’s blue pack by the fire ring.In Love and Adventure,

The Clarks