13 November 2015

Mauna Kea

One of our favorite places on the Big Island was Mauna Kea.   We almost didn't make it but a cut on Nic's foot eliminated our ability to dive so we were able to spend our last evening driving up the mountain!

Mauna Kea is one of two mountains on the Big Island that reach 14,000 feet.  It is one of the few places where you can go from sea level to the 14,000 feet within 2-3 hours.   The temperature difference is a bit mind boggling.  I thankfully brought a pair of pants and jacket but I still wished I had a hat to block the wind from my ears.  The views of sunset made the frigid air worth it.  Being so high and seeing the clouds roll in under us was magical.   If you're interested in learning more about Mauna Kea, click here.

It's suggested that you only drive from the Visitors Center at 9,500 feet to the top of the mountain at 14,000 with a 4 wheel drive car.  Our guide book said it was possible in your regular car and our friends did it so we figured we'd give it a shot.  Well, there is no way in hell I would have been able to drive that car up so I give Nic kudos for getting us up there.  I wasn't raised driving on hills, or off road (neither was Nic) but my sense of adventure is a bit smaller than his.  But as they say, drive it like it's a rental car?  It was so worth it once we made it to the top.

We stopped at the visitors center on the way down for some hot cocoa and star gazing.  The night sky was so clear.  You could see so much detail in the Milky Way and so many stars that we normally don't get to see.  They set up multiple telescopes and have volunteers for point out specific systems and stars with high powered lasers.  There is something romantic about being cuddled up to the one you love and looking up to see so many stars above you.

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