Saturday, April 18, 2020

February 27, 2020 Our Day Started at Sea Level and Ended 10000' Higher on Mauna Kea

It's our last day on the Big Island... Christy and I started it at Kehena Black Sand Beach...

Christy made friends with this local.

While I tried once again to find my way over the underwater rocks and through the waves crashing on the beach. Once again...I failed.

So I wandered the beach...

...and felt shame in a beautiful place.

A tasty brunch will help me overcome my shame.

Once again, eating good food makes me feel better.

Today is a wander aimlessly day. Our first stop was Lava Tree State Monument.

When I saw this sign, I knew this would be a fun hike through the park.

There are several lava molds of tree trunks along the trail.

There are also tropical plants that this first-timer to Hawaii really enjoys seeing.

I've seen so many freaky plants on this trip.

Of course, all the lava is interesting to me also.

It was raining on and off while we were here.

This curled stem unfurls as it grows into a new branch.

Not sure how these thin trunk top-heavy trees remain standing.

After leaving Lava Tree State Monument, we continued east on Route 132.

This area was covered with lava that flowed into the ocean in 2018 and 2019.

The state just finished clearing the lava flow and rebuilding Rt 132 through this area.
It was a strange feeling driving through an area that had over 700 homes destroyed by the Kilauea Volcano eruption.

There are a lot of palm coconuts tossed onto the lava around here. Most appear to be growing.

While walking around on the lava flow here, we could see the ocean not that far away.

It doesn't look like much in these photos, but it was incredible to me that I was walking on relatively fresh lava.

Back on the road on another beautiful day in paradise.

Our only plan for today was to watch the sunset and stargaze at Mauna Kea.
Christy loved these giant flat-topped trees we've seen all week and took this picture on our way to Mauna Kea. 
We parked at the Mauna Kea Visitor Center and walked around the area.

Yes, we brought some warmer clothes just for this place. 

We were having fun with the long shadows.

Then we started our hike up the Sunset Hill.

Tom & Laurie let me know if you want high-quality versions of any of these pictures. 

Looking down at the visitor center from Sunset Hill.

It's really cool to be standing above the clouds. 

The valley below us filled with clouds while we were waiting for the sun to set.

It was International Polar Bear Day so Chrissy was supporting Polar Bears while in Hawaii.

Tom relaxing on a rock facing west.

The rest of us were taking pictures and enjoying the views all around us.

Time for this star to set so we can see all the other stars.

The sky to the east lit up with lots of colors.

After the sunset, there was still time to get some really good pictures.

I wasn't the only one to take a picture of this dad with his little girl.

As far As I know, I was the only one to take a picture of Tom & Laurie.

Besides the elevation change from the start of our day to now, the temperature change was even worse. It was in the high 20's when we got back to the car. I'm glad I brought a winter hat to Hawaii.

Some intense colors on the rocks up here.

 This final sunset shot was not the last cool thing we saw tonight. We stayed on Sunset Hill and watched the sky light up with stars. It was incredible. There was also a sliver of a moon. On our hike back down to the car, Christy and I saw our shadows. I thought this was very cool. But as Chrissy says to me all the time, "you're an idiot". It wasn't because I was so excited to see my moon shadow or because I was singing Cat Steven's song Moon Shadow. It's because when I tried to take a picture and it turned out too dark. I thought turning on the flash would work. It didn't because the flash provided too much light and no shadow. Yes, I am an idiot. The drive from Mauna Kea to Hilo is downhill the entire way. I don't think I step on the accelerator pedal more than five times during that 75-minute drive. Yes, I'm also a dork for being excited about not needing to step on the gas. Unfortunately, the car wasn't the only thing that went downhill tonight. After a long day spent having fun in Hawaii, the only place we found to eat dinner after 9pm was McDonald's. So my near life long aversion to not eating McDonald's on vacation has ended. I feel shame.  

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