When you think of Hawaii, you think:
Fruity Drinks with umbrellas in them
So when I told people I was taking a tour to Mauna Kea* here on the Big Island the comments were:
Make sure they give you a coat!
Man, it was cold when I went up there.
I know you didn’t bring a scarf but…
*Mauna Kea is the tallest mountain in the world as measured from the seafloor at 33,000 ft high. From sealevel it is 13,796 ft high.
I was with a group of 10 others and the tour guide as we made about an 1:15 trek up to the dormant volcano.
First stop along the way was a waterfall.
Our tour guide Keoki was born on the Big Island and went to school nearby.
He said that when they were kids, they used to dive into this waterfall after school.
Next stop were the Kaumana Caves, where lava once flowed through from the surrounding volcanoes.
Continuing on we reach the Mauna Kea Visitor Information Center. We have to stop here for 45 minutes because now we are 9000 ft above sea level and we need to get our bodies readjusted to the altitude. The air is thinner and high altitude sickness is a real concern. Symptoms include dizziness, nausea and shortness of breath. The sign at the Center makes you want to stop.
Once we leave the Visitor Center, another stop as the search for E.T. continues at the Very Long Baseline Array telescope site.
Finally after another 20 minutes of riding we reach the top. And it is COLD! The tour company provides jackets and gloves and you absolutely need them. I did not see a thermometer but I would guess the temps were in the 30s-40s.
But at sunset the view is magnificent from 13,000 ft up…