Saturday, February 14, 2015

Kona to Mauna Kea to Hilo

There was a decent sunset a couple of nights ago. The dark area in the foreground is solid lava that flowed to the sea sometime in the last couple of thousand years. The surf in the photo was big enough and strong enough to entertain a crowd of young surfers for much of the day.

NCW waded in a tidal pool on a beach near Kona. The water is salty and the surf rough. It's the Pacific Ocean. This is about the extent of the beach going that we do. I guess we're more forest people.

There is a world class astronomical observatory on the big island. We decided to see if we could get close to it. We gassed up and drove to the mountain.  We stopped at the visitor center about 4000 feet below the Keck observatory on the top of Mauna Kea. The last segment of road to the top requires a four wheel drive vehicle and all I have is a Buick SUV. They had some vintage telescopes at the center, a video about the top and an opportunity to buy souvenirs and warm clothes. It was about 55ยบ and 9000 feet above sea level. Across the horizon I could see Mauna Loa. It had just a tinge of white at the top. Yes, Martha, it does snow in Hawaii. Then we decided to complete the trip across the island to Hilo on the other side.

Rainbow Falls is in Hilo on the west, wetter side of the island. The drive from Kona to Hilo is about 80 miles, on the Saddle Road past Mauna Kea and down again to sea level. I joked to NCW that we had crossed from the Pacific to the gulf side. Of course, it's all Pacific Ocean.

I personally prefer Minnehaha Falls in Minneapolis to Rainbow Falls.  It's about the same height, but usually a lot more water flows over the precipice.

There is an abundance of flowers here. All over the place. These, I think, are hibiscus blooms. They are familiar sights here, as well in Florida and other warm spots on the globe.  These were in Hilo.

The big island is a beautiful and diverse place.


Santini said...

It's more of an alien looking landscape than I thought Hawaii would have. The Pacific coastline reminds me a bit of New Zealand's Pacific coastline -- it's the wild side of NZ, and Lynne and Joe are there now, visiting glaciers and mountains and rain forests.

My favorite photo is of NCW in the tidal pool, though the one of you at the observatory is a close second. It sounds like you're having all sorts of fun. Carry on!

BDE said...

Wow, sounds wonderful and looks beautiful and unusual. I would like to go there sometime.

I also really like the NCW photo with the waves in the background. The sunset is nice and somewhat obligatory. I cannot get enough of sunset pictures. Great posts--glad you resurfaced into blogland.