Saturday, October 16, 2010

Adventure Trip to the top of Mauna Kea

We took a tour to the top of Mauna Kea.  It is a climb of over 13,000 feet.  On the way up we stopped at 9,000 feet to get acclaimated to the height.  Of course those of us from Utah had a little bit of an advantage.  At the 9,000 foot point is a visitors center and we stopped there along with the bus loads of tours to eat and get used to breathing thin air, I guess.  Amanda and I took the little adventure walk out to see a Silver Sword.  A plant that only thrives above 9,000 feet.  Supposedly it only blooms once and then dies.....this gave me pause to think about that....what if I had only one chance to bloom in a lifetime...hmmmmm. 

Back on the road again and our trusty guide Daniel took us to the top.  Well, I should say, not the tippey top.  That you had to hike on your own.  We took pictures of all the cool huge telescopes and waited for the sunset.  Just before sunset Amanda and I decided to hike to the tippey top of Mauna Kea.  We wanted to say we had been to the highest mountain on earth.  Yes people, it is the highest mountain on earth, even higher than Mt Everest, measured from the sea bed!  So off we went to hike the rest of the way.  It was very cool until we realized we forgot to take the camera and so I, being a newly turned 50 year old, played the "your legs are younger than mine" card, you know the one my mom used to play on me when she wanted me to run downstairs for something.  So cute, fit, Amanda, ( she IS taking 3 fitness classes this semester, pilates, volleyball and I forget the other one but that ought to count for something) was game enough to run back down the mountain and get the camera and run back up again.  She made it just as the sun was nearly down...but oh well, we can now say we have been to the highest mountain on earth!  Oh YEAH!
On top of the ClOuDs!

Chillin' by the Scopes

Amanda at the TOP!

Karen at the TOP
After dark everyone has to get down to 9,000 feet off of the mountain.  So we found a great spot a little further down and one of our guides introduced us to the Hawaiian way of star gazing.  It was cool to hear about how they navigated by the stars and had their own names for the constellations.  Then we went back to the visitor's center and the park rangers had brought out all kinds of cool telescopes and tuned in to some of the planets like Jupiter, the moon and some really cool star formations.  We had a blast at this really special star gazing party!  (If you heard the word cool alot in this post, it could be because it was literally very COLD on this whole trip.  Quite a shock to our little sun worshipping, beach going systems...if you know what I mean.  I'm just sayin'.....)

The BiG Guns at the Visitors Center

Star Gazing is a Beagles Family Favorite

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