Near the summit, I am short of breath when I walked few minutes because of thin air. Incredible there is a man who climb up by bicycle.
I asked him loudly "may I take your photo" He gave me back smile and Shyaka sign (see his right hand it is the symbol of friendship in Hawaii)
Back ground is magnificent Mauna Loa. The cinder corn is origin of Mauna Kea and black lava flow comes from Mauna Loa, it is the battle front of two gigantic mountains.
If you enlarge this photo you can see the white building just blow the summit, it is the weather obserbatry, 3000m altirude.
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Subaru Observatory is a one of the symbol of Mauna Kea summit for Japanese. It has issued marvelous photograph collection of Space.
From what I have heard it was higher 3500 feet half a million years ago. Every year it is shrinking due to it's weight.
Another symbol of the summit is this place. The Apollo astronauts was training here,because it was considered moon like place.
You can see the Kohala mountains below. It is separated different color at the top of the mountains. It makes kind of watershed. But there is no river in the leeward so we have to call it the typical place of Foehn phenomenon. This time is very fine but usually right side,windward, forest, is covered by cloud. It is the most rain fall place in Hawaii. Left side has few rain so it is kind of Savannah and there are many cactus. (see this blog "Kohala Mountains" -March-Ravel is "Volcano". You can see the Foehn phenomenon on the Map, click aerial photo.)
Mountain of behind is Mt.Haleakala (10,025 feet) at Maui Island.
This is the true summit. I gasped just to take photos so it was hard work to climb 15 minutes to the summit, so this time I did not try.
A dignified appearance of Mauna Loa. It has erupted so many times and every time it blew out lava of different color so the coloring of this mountain is very excellent.
Click these photos for enlarging and/or see the screen of 200%.
There is a site of Ice Age at the elevation of about 12500 feet of Mauna Kea. It was 13,000 years ago and the Glacier was 20square-mile wide and 350 feet thick.
So many big rock are lying about everywhere that Glacier carved. These rocks made of Lava that was cooled very quickly by glacier so these are very dense and hard. Ancient Hawaiian made Adz(hatchet to shape wood) from this rock. There is quarry for this adz.
The summit is on the hill of right side but cannot see it and observatories from here. The site of glacier is extremely different from the Cinder (-scoria- small sized stone) cone of background.
Road paved again from here. I guess if road is dirt dust disturb observation of stars. Same reason we cannot drive at night because of car's head light.
Onizuka center is 6 miles up from the Saddle road, it is 9200ft above sea level. It is very good road from Hilo, but Lent-a-car is prohibited to drive. I don't know why but may be there is no house and shop on the way so if trouble happens we cannot contact anywhere.
When we climb to the summit of Muna Kea we have to stay here 30minuts at least to adapt thin air and to prevent from altitude sickness.
We can get information and goods about Mauna Kea and Observatories here. At the front yard there is about 12inches reflecting telescopes so we can see the black spots of sun in the day time and the planets and nebulae in the night.
This center was named Onizuka who was the first astronaut from Hawaii ,native of Kona, and Japanese American, and died by the explosion of Space Shuttle "Challenger" 1986. He is respected very much in Hawaii and there is his museum, Astronaut Ellison S. Onizuka Space center, in Kona Air-port.
Beside this center there is a stylish lodge for staffs of Observatories.
Look at Onizuka Center and other facilities of the Observatories from upper part. Road is paved to this point. But from here it becomes gravel road with no guardrail. If you slither from road fall headlong to steep slope and even if you are save your life but no benefit from car insurance if you come here by Rent-a-Car.
The Big-Island, that is only half size of Shikoku Island of Japan, is a volcanic island so it has 5 big volcanoes.
Mauna Kea (13,796feet) Mauna Loa(13,677feet) Kohala Mountains (5506feet) Kilauea (4094feet) This photo is Mt. Hualalai, elevation is 8271feet. I took this photos on the way of Saddle Road passing between Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa. Rent-a-car is prohibited to drive this Road. We can see the magnificent shape of this mountain through the wide ranch.
This mountain is private property so we cannot climb without using tour of the specific travel agent. A haze is hanging over the mountain. It is what is called Vog, volcanic fog, from the smoke of Halemaumau vent of Kilauea. (see Kilauea of this blog) It usually flow to Kona side by Trade Wind. But sometime it come to Hilo.
I took this picture from half way of Mauna Kea. It looks smaller because seeing from the gigantic mountain.
Equal of Turtle, Gecko is the one of the symbol character of Big- Island. They are designed so many souvenir goods.
They often stuck on the window screen for eating insects.
He was inside the screen by chance. I extended my finger because I wanted to move him to better position to take picture. He jumped off the screen and escaped to out side from the hole which he entered with lightning speed.
It is a different colored one, but I wonder it is not a gecko.
I saw it close it is cute.