Big waves crash ashore on the North Kohala coast, leaving the water white with foam.
One of my favorite places on the Big Island is Mauna Kea. Besides being an imposing volcano, it also has a surreal quality with its mix of smaller volcanic cones and high tech telescopes around the summit.
This view is from Pu’u Kalepeamoa, otherwise known as Sunset Hill. Pu’u Kalepeamoa is lower on the mountain, at about 9,400 feet, a short hike from the visitor center. On this day, those low-hanging clouds ruled out a good sunset, but the light and shadows on the pu’us still made for a worthwhile view.
Posted in response to the WordPress photo challenge, ‘Favorite place’.
A few days ago I did another hike up Pu’u Wa’awa’a, a large cinder cone north of Kona. I planned the hike to coincide with one of the days of latest sunrise here, just after 7 a.m.. My idea was to arrive at the trailhead at 6 a.m., when the gate opens, and head up as quickly as I could in order to get the best shot at early morning light from the summit. This meant getting up by 4 a.m. and setting out by 5 a.m.
Defying all historical precedents, I was there five minutes early. The new automated gates opened before me and in no time I was hotfooting up the trail, flashlight in hand, in order to avoid breaking an ankle in the one of the many potholes in the old road that makes up the first part of the trail.
One advantage of hiking in the dark is that I didn’t stop every five minutes to take a photo of a goat or bug. Still, an hour into the hike, as the light improved, I couldn’t help but pause when I spotted a large wild pig excavating – no other word for it – a large hole in the hillside in the search for worms and the like (alas the photos weren’t great – not enough light).
By 7:30 a.m. I reached the top of the climb. I already knew I wasn’t going to get the hoped-for blaze of early morning sun – too many clouds from the get-go – but this photo shows the moody light that greeted me. I considered this a worthy consolation prize. And then there was the fact that I had the summit to myself for 90 minutes, and the mamane trees on the west side were in bloom and attracting Hawaii ‘amakihi and hordes of bees (look for several dozen photos of these in the near future!).
For more information about Pu’u Wa’awa’a and its trails, go to puuwaawaa.org.
A final post based on the theme of this week’s WordPress Photo Challenge, which is ‘Silence.’
Unless the wind is howling, the top of Mauna Kea is a quiet place. The immensity of the volcano below and the sky above seems to swallow all sound. There’s no wildlife up there, just a few visitors wandering about, and telescopes silently probing space.
At sunset, the quiet is enhanced, despite an influx of people for the event. Perhaps it’s the dimming light or the muffling layer of billowy clouds around the volcano, but there’s a profound silence and a tranquility not easily found elsewhere.