Adventure Tuesday – Mauna Kea

Today was Adventure Tuesday with Carly and Renata and the objective was Mauna Kea summit.

Here some birds hang-out at the Ellison Onizuka Visitor’s Center at about 9,800′ elevation. You’re supposed to stop to acclimate here at least 30 minutes before heading to the top. We were running late so we stayed about 15 minutes and headed up to get there before sunset. One hint, go early enough so you’re not driving with the sun low in the sky, it’s blinding when driving up the summit road.

Renata and Carly head up the summit trail. Like a fool I ran up the trail so I could get ahead to take their photo coming up the trail, this knocked the wind out of me.

We didn’t make it up to the summit before the actual sunset, we did see it set beneath the clouds on the way up. But the afterglow was nice.

Here’s Renata in the afterglow of sunset.

Carly and Renata on the summit in front of the lele (altar). Hey, who’s taller? The little pole on the right side has the USGS benchmark for the summit.

Beautiful on the summit. Clear skies, a brisk cold breeze (musta been freezing with the wind chill). Doesn’t seem like the Hawaii of palm trees and warm sand.

After the summit trek we headed back down to the visitor’s center for some star-gazing via the various telescopes they have set-up there. An interpretive guide Eric pointed out planets, galaxies, stars and gave us a lesson in Hawaiian star names. He also took this snap of us in front of one of their telescopes. The visitor’s center is open 365 days a year and it’s free to visit and look through telescopes, they also have a video about Mauna Kea and astronomy in the center. Eric said during the summer months they may have 200 visitors crammed there at night. You don’t need a 4×4 to get here, an ordinary car will make it to the visitor’s center, I’ve even gotten here with my Geo Metro XFi that had a 3 cylinder engine without problems.

Honu = Turtle

Carolyn has her list of things to see live up close: Turtles, Sharks and Manta Rays. She went down to the black sand beach at Punaluu last week where there are usually turtles but came-up empty. So I told her I’d guaranteed her to see a turtle and I knew just where to go. I took her over to Kaloko-Honokohau National Historic Park near the Aiopio fish-trap in search of turtles.

I almost promised her that we’d see at least five turtles or I would buy her dinner. Good thing I didn’t bet as it was late in the day and high-tide. Not good for turtle finding. After walking through billions little black fungus gnats along the beach we didn’t see any turtles and started to head on back. Some folks were walking past and Carolyn was smart to ask them if there were any turtles to be found and they said “there’s a big one up the beach” so off we went trekking farther north.

And we found this big fella lying on the beach. Carolyn got her shots of the turtle who didn’t seem to mind at all. We didn’t get too close to this sleepy honu.

Food fit for a pirate

Tommy “The Polynesian Pirate” Ching digs into Hawaiian food for lunch at the Waikii Music Festival. Tommy is a local radio DJ who often emcees events and he told me to forget the backstage free food (chili and hot dogs) and grind on some Hawaiian food being sold by vendors. Here Tommy goes for some sashimi and he’s already scarffed-down some fried fish, poi, laulau, lomi lomi salmon, rice, and fresh crab. ono kine grinds as they say.

So I decided to go local and got the lau lau plate. Clockwise from the top left: macaroni salad, lomi lomi salmon, pork/fish laulau, rice (with some shoyu on it). You could bust a gut eating this plate of food and I couldn’t finish it.

Here’s my view of the stage while eating lunch. Could there be a better place to enjoy a lunch? Clouds on the edges but sunny, a cool breeze that was a little chilly if you were in the shade too long. You couldn’t ask for more comfortable weather. And on stage was the group Keahiwai doing their set.

I’ve got to hand it to Ed Yap and his beautiful wife Nani Lim-Yap for putting on this event every Father’s Day weekend. I had heard earlier a month or two ago it was cancelled but somehow they managed to pull it off. They were expecting a bigger crowd on Sunday as that’s Father’s Day. And what a way for dad to relax. Pull up a beach chair or beach mat, Hawaiian food, Hawaiian music, places for kids to go play games and cool weather to fall asleep by.