Gone to a place that is unknown to many...

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Mauna Kea, a volcanic mountain in Hawaii

I was planning to blog about my trip to Mauna Kea, located in Big Island, Hawaii, many months ago, but never got around to it. I guess I finally have a chance to do it this time.

Anyway, when I was in Big Island last August, one of the places I really wanted to visit was Mauna Kea. Since I believe that many people do not know about Mauna Kea, allow me to explain about Mauna Kea.

Mauna Kea is the highest point in Hawaii, almost 13,800 feet. However, if you measure from its base on the ocean floor, it would be more than 33,000 feet, which would be the world's tallest mountain. On the top of the volcanic mountain, there's Mauna Kea Observatory. After visiting there, I could see the reason for the existence of the observatory on the summit. The sky is very clear that it is easy to stargazing with naked eyes.

I hitched a ride with Mauna Kea Summit Adventures. The vehicle I rode was a custom four-wheel-drive turbo-diesel van.

Saddle Road

We are above the clouds!

4x4 wheels are needed!

The Onizuka Visitor Center, at the 9,000-foot level

We made a stop at the visitor center so that we could eat our dinner and to get acclimizated to the altitude.

Great for stargazing


Me in parka. Yes, it was that cold up there!

No, it is not snow in the background. In fact, what you see are clouds!

According to a guide, the ancient Hawaiians believed that the top of Mauna Kea was where the gods and goddess lived.

If you plan to visit Mauna Kea, I would recommend you to go with a group of friends and rent a jeep and drive to the top of the mountain. If I go there again, I would stay there all night, just to look at stars!