Monday, July 31, 2017

Mauna Kea Summit Hike - Big Island Hawaii

Mauna Kea Summit Hike
September 20th, 2016
(Big Island) Hawaii
13,803' - High Point of Hawaii
Standard trail from "Switchback" at 10,100'
9.3 miles, 3,700' of elevation gain

My parents have always been big fans of Hawaii, but I've never made it out there. We started saving airline miles, and 5 years later we thought - hey, we finally might be able to do this. Along the way I was climbing mountains, and I realized that Mauna Kea was definitely something I wanted to do when I was there.

My fantasy was to climb Mauna Kea at nearly 14,000', and then take a dip in the warm ocean later on that day.

Mauna Kea from the plane

Gorgeous coral reefs can be seen in the crystal clear water

Heading up the road on Mauna Kea

Higher up the road on Mauna Kea

What the switchback looks like where we started hiking

The trail from the switchback

Mauna Loa

Looking ahead on the trail

Not a spec of vegetation to be found

The trail was pretty sandy but not too rough

The trail started to flatten out near the top

The true summit is to the right

At this point it goes slightly downhill

Moon over Mauna Kea

Heading up the final pitch

Summit observatories

Mauna Loa from the summit of Mauna Kea

Panorama shot from the summit
Hero shot

Looking North-East

Our friends top out on the summit!
Summit selfie, of course

Heading back down

Oh look, I found vegetation!

Nearing the end

Google Earth map of GPS tracks for the hike. It doesn't look like we climbed almost 4k feet!

We ate at TJs BBQ on Da Beach! (note- not on the beach)
After the hike we drove all the way back to Kona, about 90 minutes, and ate the best smoked ribs I've ever had! They were served atop white rice and fresh pineapple slices! It tasted extra good after the long hike and drive!

Kona area from the boat

Sunset from the boat

Here's just a small slice of some of the other stuff we crammed into the other 3 days we were in the Big Island Hawaii

Looking SW from about 1,000' (south of Kona)

Southernmost point in the US

I am about to get blasted by a huge wave

Green Sand Beach

Green Sand

Waipio Valley

Akaka Falls

Some flowers at the Botanical Gardens

Sunset from the Mauna Kea visitor's center area

Black Sand Beach

We made the long drive to Hawaii Volcanos National Park and hiked 11 miles RT to see lava entering the ocean! HVNP was an interesting place. It was 6,000'; cold wet and rainy at the entrance. Hot and dry and clear at the ocean.

The hike to the lava entry was long and hot

There were several warning signs around the hot crossing entrance

The "hot crossing" was a bit spicy knowing lava was underneath our feet

Lava Entering the Ocean

Weird looking plants growing out of the lava flow

Lava spraying into the air at the Kiluaea Crater

We had a great time in Hawaii. The big island is nothing short of magical. I highly recommend you check it out if you are on the fence.