Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Anuanu mauna

From the active volcano (Kilauea) to the dormant one (Mauna Kea), we set off early the next day to climb the world's tallest mountain. World's tallest if you include the part under the ocean, which nobody but Hawai'ians do. Still, at nearly 14,000 feet, it's pretty tall and high enough to give you headaches and other altitude-related ills. We started at the visitor center at 9,200 feet and got acclimated for a couple hours. Later, the rangers led us up to the summit for a tour of the undisputed best ground-based observatories on the planet. It was freezing-ass COLD up there, and had snowed only a few days earlier. Yes, it snows in Hawai'i. We stayed for sunset, then back down to the visitor center where they let us look through some much smaller telescopes at more stars than we've ever seen, nor will likely ever see again. (The entire island of Hawai'i imposes light ordinances to enable the stargazing.) Capping it off, we saw 2 satellites and a shooting star streak across the sky.
BrrBeth Subaru, Kecks 1 & 2, Maui in the distance


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