Sunday, August 16, 2009

Honeymoon - Day 5

Day 5 of our honeymoon was the day we decided to take an inter-island flight over to the Big Island of Hawaii. Most of what we've seen of Hawaii so far has been beautiful beaches and lush green mountains and rain forests. The Big Island is a TOTALLY different story. The entire reason we wanted to go to the Big Island is because that is where Mauna Kea is located. Mauna Kea is Hawaii's highest point at 13,796 feet in elevation. If you know Justin and I, you know that we have a goal of climbing the highest mountain in each of the 50 states. Hawaii's Mauna Kea is the 6th largest mountain in the US. Luckily we were able to drive to the top, sort of.


This is a picture of Mauna Kea when we were driving over to the mountain. Ok funny story. We rented a jeep again on this island, duh. However, there was only ONE rental company that allowed you to drive their cars on this road we were on in the picture above. It's called Saddle Road and apparently the rental car companies don't like you driving their cars on it because it use to be an extremely bad road and it would tear up their cars. Needless to say, we did NOT rent the jeep from the company that allowed you to drive on the road, yet we did it anyway ;)


This is the summit of Mauna Kea. Where our car is parked (where I am taking this picture from) is the parking lot of an observatory. Astronomers can see the stars very well from this spot and they've set up an observatory with a telescope inside for research. Venus and Mars are frequent visitors at night :) The summit was about a 5 minute small hike up that hill, which was harder than it looked at 14,000 feet. We both ran out of breath VERY quickly because of the lack of oxygen.

Oh yeah, we actually picked up some German hitchhikers to go to the top of the mountain! Because the road was so awful going up this mountain (it was unpaved dirt and boulders, basically) most cars couldn't make it. In fact, a car tried right before us and one of the large rocks in the road knocked their oil pan off their car and they had to get it towed, which I am sure was EXPENSIVE to get a tow truck up there. Anyway, as we started to leave the visitor center at the bottom of the mountain we saw two people, a man and a woman, much older in age, probably in their early 60's, trying to catch a ride to the top. We let them in, since they looked incredibly non-threatening, and rode with them all the way up and back down.


This is the observatory. The telescope pops out of that big building in the center at night. You can actually pay to go up there at night and have an astronomer point out the constellations and even other planets if you're there on a good night. I heard someone say you can see Saturn's rings from this spot. It makes me wish we'd have gone there at night. It would have been absolutely beautiful.


The summit of Mauna Kea is my 10th highpoint. I started climbing mountains with Justin back in April 2008 so it took about a year to get 10 of these bad boys down. Traveling all over the US isn't exactly cheap :) Mauna Kea was Justin's 21st highpoint. We are going to hit up a bunch of the east coast highpoints in October. Our friend Dana is getting married in Baltimore, MD on October 3rd and we're taking a couple of days to do some of the state highpoint around there. After that trip, I'll be up to 14.


Our first highpoint together as husband and wife!!! Justin was NOT prepared for the cold. I even told him to bring something with sleeves and this isn't his first rodeo above 10,000 feet so he knew it would be cold. I still have no idea why he only wore a short sleeve shirt. We were at the summit for literally 20 seconds and he was saying "Ok let's go before I lose my arms".


We drove back down the mountain, VERY SLOWLY. Justin was worried about the lack of oxygen the engine in the car was getting since we were so high in elevation and he was incredibly worried that the jeep was going to break down so we made frequent stops to help the brakes out, which was fine by me because there were so many places that were awesome photo spots. The best way I could explain the terrain is by saying it is very comparable to what Mars is portrayed as in movies and stuff. The red dirt was the terrain as far as the eye could see. It looked very desolate and isolated, much unlike what we'd been use to seeing in Hawaii thus far.

After getting back down the mountain safely, thank God, and dropping off our new German friends at their car, we decided to go to the other spot that the Big Island was known for, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.


Going to the national park gave us our original view of Hawaii back, but only briefly. When entering the park, you drive through incredibly lush rain forest. It's green everywhere you go through that drive! After a few miles, you leave the green and start seeing what is in the picture above. The ground starts looking completely black and very rocky. This is cooled lava. The picture above is remains of a volcanic eruption in the 70's. Lava flows into the ocean and cools, but the part that doesn't make it into the ocean cools anyway after some time, causing this rocky black floor all over the park. It truly was very cool to see!


The road through the park was eventually blocked because apparently some lava flow action was going on. This was as close as we could get. The smoke stack in the picture above was created from lava flowing directly into the ocean.

Once we got to this point we had to turn back to leave the park. Because we were only there for a day, we were limited to timing since we had to get back to the airport to catch our flight back to Maui. Interesting story happened on the way back. We got on Hawaiian Airlines to fly from Kilo (one of the main airports on the Big Island) to Honolulu, then Honolulu to Maui. Well, when getting off the plane in Honolulu to catch our last flight into Maui, Marcie realized that she left her camera in the plane!!! However, I didn't realize it until we were on the new plane and about to take off to Maui. Justin told the flight attendant and when we landed in Maui we filled out a lost items report with our names, number and hotel information. I kept telling Justin that I was hoping they'd call that day and he kept saying "I know they won't call at least until tomorrow or the next day, they're busy people". He was so sure of himself too! Turns out, I WAS RIGHT. They called Justin's cell phone when we were at dinner that night and they FedEx'd it to our resort on Maui. Luckily we had two cameras in Hawaii because we didn't receive my camera until the day before we left to come back home!!


Our last view of Mauna Kea above the clouds when we were flying to Honolulu. Truly an amazing day on the Big Island!

Next up is day 6 - Pool day at our resort and our first dive in Hawaii!


Kyle B. Sasaoka said...

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