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Monday, January 23, 2012

Mauna Kea to Mauna Lani - Snowballs & Sand Castles


Our love affair with a rental car-upgraded-free-to-a-Jeep recently led us on a wild tame ride up Saddle Road to Mauna Kea in search of snowy summits.

This little loo is located at 13,796 feet, at the summit of Mauna Kea on the Big Island of Hawaii.

{Yes, I used it. I am a pinnacle pee-er}

It shares mountain top space with no less than thirteen different telescopes, built by eleven countries.

If there is life on other planets, the folks on the summit of Mouna Kea will be the first to know.

Our trip up to the mountain was surprising, the way the flora changed from jungle at sea-level to open grasslands dotted with grazing sheep and cattle as we climbed upwards, reminiscent of Papa Bear's stomping grounds in Wyoming, a far cry from tropical Hawaii.

That is one of the coolest things about Hawaii - the diversity of micro climates.  Like snow on Mauna Kea, for example.

After a brisk walk about at the summit, we were all in favor of getting back in the warm Jeep and heading back down to the ocean for a dip.

I wanted to find the good snorkeling beach a fellow passenger on my flight over had recommended, somewhere in the vicinity of Mauna Lani resort.

We found a couple of beach access points, but I'm not sure either of them were the right one.  The first one was a long, paved trail through a region covered in collapsing lava tubes.

{Don't worry mama - the liquid lava is long gone.}

Very cool, but I don't think the mom that recommended the beach we were searching for had dragged her two very small children down that very long path. 

We gave up on that hike and found another beach access.  The parking lot was dotted with feral cats.  I took that as a very good sign, probably a message from our clowder on the mainland that they missed us and wondered why we have abandoned them.

{We're coming home soon kids!}

When we got to the beach, it was near sunset.  We met an old wise man there that we mistook for a transient at first, until he taught us a life lesson I won't soon forget.  More on that story later.

We opted out of a swim due to the cooling temps and setting sun, but stayed for the sunset, which Papa Bear capture nicely in the palm of his hand.

Summits to sea-level, snow to surf.  You really can find it all on the Big Island of Hawaii.

Aloha -


Jess said...

I had no idea there was snow on Hawaii. I bet it was fascinating watching the view change as you ascended! I'm so enjoying these Hawaii updates!

Victoria Strauser said...

Thank you Jess! Two more weeks here on the farm, then 12 glorious days on the islands w/o chores, then back to the Midwest... hopefully winter will be mostly over!

Jess said...

Oh, enjoy those glorious 12 days. You've definitely earned them! (and I'm sure your animals miss you)

Victoria Strauser said...

I hope they remember, or at least, recognize, us!

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