13,700 feet in the Tropics!

On top of a mountain.
Day 111 / 04.21.11
It’s easy to do in Hawai’i, if you aren’t seduced by the thought of sitting on the beach drinking mai tais for days at a time. People don’t usually head to the islands to mountain climb, but they could if they wanted to.
IMG_9732
Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa on the Island of Hawai’i are both well over 13,000 feet, and the tips of Mauna Kea flirt with the same elevation as the tallest mountain in Wyoming, and that height doesn’t even begin to count the 35,000 feet of it that are under water.
13,796 Feet Above Sea Level
While the summit of Mauna Loa is reserved for hikers and climbers, Mauna Kea plays host to a dozen or so international organizations that study space in some of the clearest air in the world with some of the most retro-space-aged equipment I’ve ever seen outside of Mystery Science Theater.
IMG_1506
Some of them you can drive right up to, other you can even tour if you call ahead.
IMG_9723
NASA’s infrared telescope is up there, as is a CalTech machine, a Gemini Telescope that jointly owned by several countries, a site that belongs to the National Observatory of Japan and the UK’s infrared telescope, and absolutely NO invasive species (unless you count the telescopes).
IMG_1406
It’s a regular Alpine United Nations up there, and it looks like a scene from a creepy 60s science fiction movie that would be riffed by the MST3K guys…
IMG_9739
An in accordance with Hawaiian law, the Hawaiian people are allowed to continue traditional practices and ceremonies at the top of Hawaii’s largest mountain.
IMG_1450

Tagged with:
 

One Response to 13,700 feet in the Tropics!

  1. Gary Gilpin says:

    Ahh… these pictures bring back memories of my trip to the islands just a few years ago. Unfortunately, I was unaware that the actual summit of Mauna Kea was off the the beaten path (roadway), but I did see the shrine/summit you’ve pictured off a little ways. I was fortunate enough though to catch a sunset from Mauna Kea and a sunrise from Haleakala (House of the Rising Sun) on Maui. Both were spectacular sites to behold. Can’t wait until I make it back! Aloha!

Leave a Reply