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The Summit of Mauna Kea

Sat, 16 Mar 2013, 07:34 PM (-06:00) Creative Commons License

1. The Summit

We didn’t stay at the top long. We stopped and gawked at the telescopes sitting on top of the world.

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And we gazed at a tempting trail along a peak leading to one of the orange cinder cones that dot Mauna Kea. 

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There were pockets of snow along the trail, and it led to a summit far off that must have had a wonderful view. But the sun was getting low in the sky, throwing our shadows out onto the slopes.

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And I was getting dizzy from the altitude. And we didn’t want to be crawling back down the volcano in the dark. So we walked around a bit more, and took one more good look at the panorama, the southern view of which included the flanks of Mauna Loa, although we didn’t realize it at the time (which is another story).

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2. Descent

I breathed deeply to try to make the dizziness go away. We got into the Jeep. And we began our descent.

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On the way down, we passed a Suburban with two flat tires. (What horrible luck, but help was on the way.) And we passed two hikers with packs on their backs, hiking rods in their hands and determined looks on their faces. And there were buses and Jeeps carrying tour groups, clearly ascending to catch the sunset.

We descended back into the clouds and mist and rain, leaving the magnificent blue sky behind.

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Daytime became dusk. And by the time we emerged all the way at the bottom on Saddle Road where we had started this detour, rain was falling, it was night, the fog was thick, and we had zero visibility.

Still, the road was four lanes now with bright yellow stripes down the side — luxurious compared to the drive up from Kona. And we were going downhill so swiftly that we virtually glided all the way to Hilo.

© jumpingfish by David Hasan is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License