climbing Mauna Loa - part 1, end of road to Red Hill
May 23, 2012Public
Photo: Driving up to the trailhead, our destination, Pu`u Ula Ula ("Red Hill"), is visible as a bump on the horizon.
Photo: Stuart Ball, Marcia Stone, and myself at the trailhead (6700 ft)
Photo: And we're off on our 5-day adventure!
Photo: Colorful pukiawe and ohelo plants line the trail.
Photo: pukiawe at left; ohelo at right
Photo: New ohelo leaves are red, protection from the intense ultraviolet light at this elevation
Photo: Less common is hinahina, a small native geranium
Photo: Behind us rises the plume from Kilauea Volcano's active summit. So huge are these volcanoes that their summits appear flat.
Photo: As we gain altitude ...
Photo: .... the vegetation gradually thins out.
Photo: Interesting plants persist, nevertheless.
Photo: This is kukae nene. (The name means "goose dung")
Photo: Around 8,000 ft Mauna Loa's distant summit dome becomes visible.
Photo: The "last tree" made a shady rest spot for years. Sadly, it died during a recent drought.
Photo: We rest anyway ...
Photo: ... then onward and upward over ropy, lumpy, twisted lava ...
Photo: The top of Red Hill pokes over the horizon ...
Photo: ... but soon disappears.
Photo: We pass an enormous partially collapsed lava tube
Photo: ... and soon thereafter reach the 9,000 ft. sign.
Photo: Resting again, we grow sleepy in the warm sun.
Photo: After a refreshing doze, we go again.
Photo: An hour or so later Red Hill looms into view, much closer this time!
Photo: Colorful cinder underfoot makes for much nicer walking.