At 13,000 feet…

21 Jun

Have you ever been to 13,000+ feet above sea level? I have. The Cap’n and I heard about Mauna Kea while we were in the intoxicating islands of Hawaii and thought- we must see it. The tourist guides told stories of the locals driving up the mountain/volcano and filling up pickup trucks with snow so they could have a snowball fight down below in bathing suits, tube tops, tiny shorts, and sunglasses. Did you know that Hawaii gets snow? I had no idea. It seems pretty logical when I realize just how big that mountain is….

Wikipedia says:

The peak of Mauna Kea is 13,803 feet (4,207 m) above mean sea level, about 100 feet (30 m) taller than neighboring Mauna Loa and about 30,000 feet (9,100 m) above its base on the floor of the Pacific Ocean. By this measurement, Mauna Kea is the world’s tallest mountain, taller than Mount Everest, which is the highest mountain above sea level.

whoa nelly.

That’s big. It’s pretty cool that one can just hop in a four wheel drive car and drive on up to the tallest point. Basically, I was unimpressed by this experience, though. Wha-Wha-What? Say what!?

Well, the tour was fine. The guide was corny-funny, super nice, and very knowledgeable, but…

the landscapes were not that glorious. So much of the the area is very dry. Lava fields fill the space between Kona and the mountain and when we weren’t driving through endless coal black areas- we were looking at any other ole mountain. It didn’t even compare to the Alaskan Range, Denali, or the Smokies. There’s just so much beauty there.

But anyway…It wasn’t without a spectacular view. The very top was an interesting experience and made the long tour worthwhile. It’s neat to be above the clouds with feet still firmly on the ground. It was slightly ruined for me because of the humongous observatories at the top that were interrupting my view. Perhaps I just can’t appreciate technology fully.

Pic by Alan L. feat. on Wikipedia

Plus we needed parkas for this adventure. We weren’t ready for parkas so soon after a long Alaska Interior winter.

After watching the sun go down, we drove back towards the visitor center where we could set up a telescope and view the stars. This was also pretty cool. It would have been a lot cooler to someone who can actually locate the little dipper. Oh well…I tried. I tried hard. In all honesty, I didn’t see hardly anything the astronomer pointed out. This is just not my cup of tea. But, the stars were beautiful. Magnificent. Unpolluted by city lights. Perfect. One can really see God’s majesty up there.

Pic by MP Wright feat. at Mauna Kea Summit Adventures

The guide packed up his telescope while I jogged up to the gift shop for a quick look around. On the way back to the bus, I noticed these huge telescopes outside. Oh man…now, this is cool:

I got to see the rings around Saturn. Not many people can say that, right? It was pretty nifty.

What else did I learn? I learned that at 13,000 feet I’m slightly more crazy in love with my silly, wonderful husband. Some may say that the lack of oxygen made me giddy and dizzy, but me….I know the truth!



7 Responses to “At 13,000 feet…”

  1. Jessica June 21, 2010 at 7:03 pm #

    How fun! We went to the Big Island for R&R back in October, and we loved it! We didn’t do the Mauna Kea tour, but we really wanted to! (We’re technology and star nerds like that.) We’re going back to the other Hawaiian islands on October-ish, so we’ll be stopping by the Big Island for the Mauna Kea tour and a few other things. What tour company did you use?

    • Mrs. K June 21, 2010 at 7:57 pm #

      Hawaii Forest and Trail…or something like that. You two will really enjoy it if you’re “star nerds”! That part is pretty spectacular! Have fun.

  2. Whitney June 22, 2010 at 5:21 am #

    Oh my! Those pictures are breathtaking!!

  3. carissa June 22, 2010 at 9:02 am #

    I bet it was still a really cool experience even if it wasnt’ the most spectacular site in the world. I would love to go to a observatory. I took several astronomy classes and though I dont think I have much of an eye for stars, I agree with you that they are beautiful.. even if i have no idea what they are!@

  4. annah June 22, 2010 at 11:23 am #

    I am SO jealous right now! You have no idea.

  5. Laura Weigle June 23, 2010 at 3:29 am #

    Just like Bilbo Baggins , you are having an amazing walk about. Store these memories for cold winter nights by the fire, they will warm the cockles of your soul! Love Mama W.


  1. Interesting Questions « Mrs. K and Captain J - September 24, 2010

    […] After being married awhile, we finally got to take our honeymoon to Hawaii. It was amazing! If you’re a new reader, you’ll want to go back and check out these posts from that trip: Snorkeling Kona, Place of Refuge, Pssst…hey…, Zip a dee doo dah, and At 13,000 Feet. […]

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