seeking knowledge and laughter, putting a bullseye on inaccuracy

14000 Feet is a lot of feet!

It has been quite some time since my last post - more so in experience than in actual linear time. Let's see. Yesterday we came to the beach house in Kapoho. Swam in the lagoon with some endangered sea turtles - they are hard to miss here as they sleep in the little lagoon 10 feet outside the house.

Walchka and I broke away from the group and did some exploring of our own. Found a black sand beach which was super sweet - volcanic rock smashed into itty bitty grit. On the beach anyway - we went into the waves (4 footers some of 'em) which were above average and going on high tide. We quickly discovered there were lots of rocks underneath also. The first major wave we found mashed us into them - embedding 10-20 grains of sand in our palms. A little bit painful, but well worth it for the fun of swimming off a black sand beach. Didn't get any photos there, but hope to at some point.

At the falls, we met a local guy who told us about a must-see site 4 miles south - so we headed off that way.

4 miles south of the black sand beach, the road ends in an 8 foot tall old lava flow. In 1983, lava from a nearby volcano destroyed the area around there - it has since cooled and is amazing. Got lots of photos of that - and we'll be going back to get more hopefully since we didn't have time to fully explore it.

This morning, after Walchka and I ran 6 miles (and finished it up with some sea turtle swimming), we went to check out the volcano. Again, I hope the photos turn out well and I regret not having a digital camera. Hiked through a lava tube and saw some more amazing cooled lava fields.

From there, we came back to the lagoon house for some snacks and then drove up to the mountain. Mauna Kea is a 14,000 foot mountain with a huge astronomy observatory on top of it. Got up there as the sun was setting - base camp is at 9000 feet which is above the clouds. Amazing sights, hard to describe except to say viewing the clouds from above is a lot like looking at the ocean - only white water.

From base camp, we had to take 4WD vehicles the rest of the way due to the nature of the trail - high altitude and sharp slopes kill small cars. Didn't have enough space for everyone inside, so Walchka and I rode up in the bed of a pickup with Russ. Wow. Incredible. Setting sun above the clouds with so many colors. Got lots of photos - group shots with everyone we were with.

14,000 feet is tall. I wanted to emphasize this.

Fear of heights deserts you at a certain point I think. At a certain point, you just enjoy the sites.

Came back down to base camp after dark - and hung out with astronomers who come out every night with huge telescopes to give astronomy lectures to anyone who will listen. Learned some cool stuff.

Hawaii has some damn good traffic ideas. On the roads, they have reflecters that are yellow in the middle of the road and white on the right line marking the shoulder. On the far shoulder - they reflect red so you don't get confused. A pretty good idea.

Overall, today was pretty amazing. The photos won't really convey what it was like to see so much in one day - I mean, downtime was snorkelling with freaking endangered turtles! BIG ONES! So anyway, I gotta get some sleep before tomorrow which promises to continue being amazing.

Best of all, today we all spent hours in the sun but no one got burned. Well one person - but it wasn't too bad. I am running out of sunscreen in one container though - will probably kill the other one soon too. I don't mind all that much.