The Big Island. Mauna Kea Volcano (Hilo, Kailua Kona) | CruiseBe
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The Big Island. Mauna Kea Volcano

Nefer • 6 minutes read • August 31st, 2016
The height of the dormant volcano, 

Mauna Kea,

is 13795 feet (4,205 m) above sea level; it is the highest mountain in Hawaii. Moreover, it is considered the highest mountain in the world! Mauna Kea is higher than Mount Everest . . . but only if it has been measured from the sea floor :) The height from the sea floor is more than 32,000 feet (10,000 meters). Previously, the ascent to the summit could only be made by tribal leaders. Now it is available to everyone. It's an unforgettable adventure! Firstly, the road goes through the clouds, secondly, the terrain is surreal, with strange plants growing at every turn, and finally, it is the highest point that I've ever climbed in my life. I must say that I experienced interesting feelings, there is a pressure difference and the air is different. In this photo, you can see the original markings, I didn't manage to find out the meaning.
The weather was different in different parts of the island as well. Our guide was constantly monitoring what was happening at the top. A live-cam showed that it was sunny there. The closer we got, the more difficult it was to believe that though. At first, it was just cloudy, as in the first photo, then the clouds began to thicken and the rain started. Well, I thought, we will have "great" time on the volcano. Of course, I was used to the climate of Iceland but anyway  . . . 
Rain pattered on the car windows. The windscreen wipers were working on 'super-active' mode, barely coping with the water flow. Visibility was terrible.
Then suddenly, as if by magic, the rain stopped. Even a blue sky appeared on the horizon. I was shocked. I had a feeling that I was part of a reality show, and I was being filmed by a hidden camera. This was something totally unreal, only seen in the movies!
And then it dawned on me: THAT WAS THE CLOUD. We were driving through the clouds!
There was black, hardened lava along the road. Almost like in Iceland :)
We also saw some strange plants there. At first, they look like this.
And then they spindle and become similar to a frozen snake. When we got out of the car, I had a terrible feeling. It wasn't scary, more unusual. Out of the corner of my eye I saw so many of them planted throughout the field . . . it reminded of the Thriller music video.
I noted its name, otherwise, I would have forgotten it - Ahinahina. 
There is Visitor Center at an altitude of 8858 feet (2,700 m). You can eat there, sit, relax, and look at the view through a telescope. In fact, this stop has one simple goal - to adapt to the surroundings. When you go by car, everything goes by so quickly, and the body does not have time to adjust. 
I took a piece of hardened lava with me. I have one from Iceland, now I have one from Hawaii. It will be the start of a collection :)
Further up, there's no asphalt. Therefore, it was recommended that we climb the rest of the way using only all-wheel drive vehicles. However, no one checks, so you can go at your own risk.
We are above the clouds, wow!
There are several observatories at the top. It is the ideal place for astronomical observations. However, the peak of 

Mauna Kea

has been considered a sacred place since the dawn of time, so discussions on this subject happen occasionally.
In total, there are 13 telescopes. And it was very cold!
The temperature difference was significant. I had only a windbreaker and fleece with me and my body became numb! 
Below is the Dodge Caravan that we rented.
This is the road that we walked up:
Views were breathtaking! It might seem like you've seen everything there is and it would be hard to be surprised, but the natural scenery here was so very impressive!
Here are more views.
You can also go there on foot. But to be honest, the cutting wind put us off.
A thick veil of clouds. 
We stopped at one observatory. In fact, we visited the toilet, because there was nothing interesting: a room with two posters about telescopes. But we warmed up there.
We went down on the other side. As you can see, there is no snow. But it often snows there, at anytime of year. Limiters on the right from the road show the height of the snow-drift, when there is snow.
Here's a Martian landscape.
On the way back, we were also driving through the clouds. Such beauty :)
In my next review, I'll show you a beach with black sand, giant turtles (

The Big Island. Rainbow Falls and Punaluu Beach

), a garden of orchids and an active volcano (The Big Island. Plantation of Orchids and Active Kilauea Volcano)!
Author: Nefer
Translated by: Olesya Zhukova

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