10yr Anniversary Trip
Bit of Jow history: Back in 2005 a younger me got married and we spent our honeymoon in Maui which was lovely. In 2008 I started this whole state highpointing project. So in 2015 for our 10 year wedding anniversary when the idea came up to head back to Hawaii I suggested it may be fun to explore a different island this time, one that may or may not have a certain peak on it. This time there would be a little stowaway coming along with us for the adventure.
Warming up in a Volcano
The weather would be lovely all week long so I chose an early part of week to try and summit Mauna Kea in case anything went wrong. For acclimatization I decided to head to Volcanos National Park for some warm up hiking and gain a little bit of altitude. The drive from our resort took us right by the access road to Mauna Kea which is pretty high already then in the park you get a few thousand feet so better than sea level I figured and since its family trip only so much time I can spend away. Had lunch at the Volcano house with nice views
Than strolled through Thurston Lava Tube
In the Tube
Then we hit the trail and hiked the 4 mile Kilauea Iki trail that descends down into the crater and across before rising back up. Both the wife and kid did great on the hike and it is other wordly. It did leave my calfs a touch tight the next day for Mauna Kea, of course I had a heavier backpack today than I would tomorrow.
Crater Start Hike
Woke up relatively early next morning and drove to the visitor center. Obviously concerned about altitude I packed myself a nice breakfast and coffee and hung out for an hour. Stretched, hydrated, and tested the automatic timer on my camera.
I heard a lot about how it can be cold and such so I brought plenty of layers most I didn't need and some I stripped off rather quickly. Hit the dusty trail at exactly 8am
Starts pleasant. You get great views of Mauna Loa which is really massive and appear like a tidal wave coming to crush you most the way up. You get much better views of 2nd highest Hawaiian peak than you do highest on this hike.
Than I get rocky and inhospitable
Rocky Loa in Distance
I forced myself to hike slow and stop every hour for snacks and hydration and vanity
Here is the lake I was trying to set timer but messed up and it came out cooler this way
Finally (especially if hiking slowly all alone) you get to observatories and the famous Martian landscape
It is annoying that you then have to walk up the road on route to summit, its pretty long and cars wiz past. There is a sign that says out of respect you shouldn't follow trail to actual summit but I didn't travel halfway around world to not summit. I also summited Uluru back in college under similar circumstances. Anyways made it in ~4.5hrs that included 3 stops for snacks + summit stop as well, and forced slow pace. Didn't feel any altitude sickness but i did feel it inhibited my energy levels a bit.
My #32 state highpoint in the books its time to take long walk back. which would be quite hot and I ran out of water on last 45 minutes which sucked. only encountered a few hikers (one very nice couple and I kept leap frogging each other) the whole day most of the time just by myself. Only 3 hours down for round trip of 7.5hours.
The next day went to Waipio Valley for a mule ride through this enchanting area.
The reason I mention here is its very beautiful and to get to the next valley over you have to take a very steep trail up the other side and down into neighboring valley. it seems well marked and strenuous and something and adventurous backpacker may want to try
There are wild horses that scamper around the valley
Anyways nice relaxing day which I needed
There is so many more amazing hikes it seems to do on this island that didn't even scratch the surface. Hopefully be back someday for Mauna Loa and more adventures