Monday, October 20, 2008
The top of the mountain
Friday afternoon, we went on a summit/stars tour of Mauna Kea on the big island of Oahu. The tour guide was so good - he had a wealth of knowledge about the trees and flowers, types of rocks and landscape and so on. This is a picture from the mountain when we were up above the inversion layer of clouds. The view was breathtaking.
This is the van that took 8 of us up the mountain. It was a narrow little road that was pretty bumpy in some areas. We went up 13,000 feet. We had to stop several times to get aclimated. He mentioned that probably some of us had been up on Pikes Peak, but the difference was that from there, we didn't start out at sea level whereas here in Hawaii, we did.
There were many telescopes on top of Mauna Kea - they were very interesting to watch as they got set up for the night's viewing of the stars.
The sunset on top was just beautiful. There were a lot of tour groups up there but everyone was as quiet as can be as the sun set.
It was extremely cold on top so the tour group provided all of us with parkas. There was no way I could have been outside without it! After the sunset, the guide took us down to the visitor's center which was not very far down, and made hot chocolate for us. We then spent about an hour looking through his telescope at the huge sky full of stars. He had great knowledge of all of the constelations and stars and we had a great evening listening to him while we viewed the stars. What a wonderful way to view Hawaii!