We ended the year with an exhilarating trip to the top of Mauna Kea. The temperature was a brisk 31 degrees with a 30+ mile an hour wind that we were not used to.
Most of us came prepared with warm jackets, pants and actual shoes instead of the usual slippers. We convoyed up the steep switch back road that in many cases was dirt with wash board bumps bouncing the 4x4s from side to side.
The air was thin and skies were as clear as it could get. As we climbed the grade we rose above the cloud layer looking like a cotton blanket that stretched on forever. The sunlight glare gleamed against the large round telescope structures that dotted the mountain tops. There are quite a few facilities. But of course the most interesting part was the snow.
Snow is something that we do not get a chance to see very often in Hawaii and we recently had a storm that covered the tops of both Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa with a beautiful glimmering shine from sun trying to heat us up. We could see Maui in the distance from this elevation. (see above)
Mauna Kea is the tallest mountain from the base to the top. 13,802 ft above sea level and 19,200 ft. below see level, making the mountain itself the tallest “complete” mountain in the world at 33,000 feet tall in it’s totality. What is ironic is that Mauna Kea’s sister mountain Mauna Loa is only 300 feet shorter. (see our view of Mauna Loa above)
We had a great time and I recommend that if you get a chance, explore the top of Mauna Kea when the snow is there. It is an amazing thing going from zero elevation at 80 degrees to almost 14,000 feet in under two hours! I hope you enjoyed our tour of the Summit at Mauna Kea! We invite you to continue to follow our blog about the Big Island by Liking us on Facebook or following our Twitter account. We are have all kinds of fun on our tour of Featured Attractions here on the Big Island! Mahalo!