We packed our Jeep from Kona and once again headed out to explore. Mouna Kea, on the Big Island of Kona is Hawaii’s highest mountain. Rather than a single peak, Mauna Kea is undefined; it is a series of volcanic cinder cones, some red, some black, pasted onto a gargantuan massif. Although very high, 13,796 ft, getting to the summit from the roads end requires a mere 5-15 minute walk and 100 feet of elevation gain. Driving up the road the altitude kicks in, especially being at sea level
only a hour earlier.
The summit region is home to a great many large telescopes and other space observation instruments. Apparently the atmosphere above Mauna Kea is world-renowned for its lack of atmospheric “wind shear”, which causes distortion in visible images. One of the many telescopes has a visitor center where you can look at the telescope from underneath.
The view from the summit is spectacular you can see for miles in all directions and the ocean on all sides of you. There is an active volcano that is polluting the air in Kailua-Kona where the Ironman is held. The scientific term is call Vog in which the gases being released 24/7 from the volcano pollute the air. The Volcano has been polluting heavily since this spring 2008, so many of the lovely views or sunsets you would hope to see are tainted by the dense clouds that lurk throughout the sky.