Mauna Kea snow
Dec 29, 2007Public
Photo: 2007 brought a white Christmas to our two high mountains, Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa. Two days after the big day we leave our rain forest home to check it out.
Photo: About two hours later we are up in the snows on Mauna Kea at about 12,500 ft.
Photo: Mauna Loa looms in the distance. It's as high as Mauna Kea minus about 100 ft.
Photo: Someone has built a snow man by the road.
Photo: We park by the snow man and hike to Lake Waiau. At 13,000 ft. it's Hawaii's highest lake and one of the highest in the world.
Photo: Mauna Loa dominates the view. From this height you can see the edge of its huge summit caldera.
Photo: Lake Waiau comes into view, sort of, after we cross a small saddle at 13,200 ft. It's all frozen over and covered with snow. Marcia is standing at its edge. It covers about 1.8 acres with a max depth of about 10 ft.
Photo: remains of some offerings left by the lake
Photo: back to the car ...
Photo: Driving toward the summit we spot snowboarders working their way up the slope of one of the high cones.
Photo: As we approach the summit area, Mauna Loa peeks over the top of the cone. You can see one of the snowboarders still inching up the side at right. He's just a speck.
Photo: This is Hawaii? Ridiculous!
Photo: At the top we can see the twin domes of the Keck Observatory. The smaller silver dome is a Nasa Infrared facility. This view is toward the northwest. The mountain faintly visible is Halakeala, on Maui!
Photo: Immediately below the mountain are the green grasslands of the Parker Ranch.
Photo: This is the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope. The ridge on which it and several other facilities sit is only about 10 ft. lower than the true summit, thus the tops of the observatories themselves are higher than the summit.
Photo: And here's the actual summit at 13,796 ft. There's a small Hawaiian altar or shrine at the top.
Photo: A Japanese tourist offers to take our photo by the alter, and we accept.
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Photo: Mauna Loa from the saddle.
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Photo: On the way down we keep seeing people shoveling snow into their trucks.
Photo: What's going on?
Photo: Back at the Visitor Station (9,000 ft.) there is no more snow, except in trucks.
Photo: We asked some folks why they were bringing back snow.