Volcanoes Day

View from the summit of the tallest mountain in the world, Mauna Kea, Hawaii. It's 33,500 ft when measured from the ocean floor. © Carl Amoth

View from the summit of the tallest mountain in the world, Mauna Kea, Hawaii. It’s 33,500 ft when measured from the ocean floor (13,803 ft above sea level). © Carl Amoth

After so much time in the car the day before, I was ready for a little chill “Bev” time, and Carl isn’t so much for sitting by the pool reading. Up again at 6:30 a.m. and Carl is out the door by 7:00 on his way to Mauna Kea, the tallest mountain in the Pacific at 13,803 feet, and the tallest mountain in the world when measured from its oceanic base—33,500 ft—taller than Mount Everest!

Carl on Mauna Kea's 13,803 ft summit with snowball in hand. This is one of the best sites in the world for astronomical observation, hence the numerous observatories.

Carl on Mauna Kea’s 13,803 ft summit with snowball in hand. This is one of the best sites in the world for astronomical observation, hence the numerous observatories.

Pressure! Carl's Water Bottle after the 13,800 ft descent from Mauna Kea to the resort at sea level.

Pressure! Carl’s Water Bottle after the 13,800 ft descent from Mauna Kea to the resort at sea level.

I spent the morning poolside with a couple of good books and magazines and experienced the perfect awareness of “hang loose.” Carl was back a bit after noon and then we set off for Hawaii’s Volcanoes National Park. On our way to the Park, we stopped at Umauma Falls as our books clearly identified this three tiered waterfall as “not to be missed.” It was spectacular, but it is $10 per person to enter and I’m not sure it is 100% worth it. Stunning, yes, but you can’t get near the falls so you are essentially paying $20 to take some pictures. Now, if you are the adventurous sort, they do also have a significant zipline course. We’ve ziplined on previous trips to Kauai, and this one was particularly spendy, so we passed on it. Plus, we really didn’t have the time as it is about a 2½ hour drive ONE WAY to the Volcanoes National Park.

Umauma Falls, Big Island, Hawaii. © Carl Amoth

Umauma Falls, Big Island, Hawaii. © Carl Amoth

We also did a drive by at Akaka Falls, but again, due to time constraints, we couldn’t hike in or linger. We stopped in Hilo for dinner at Hilo Bay Café – my grass fed gorgonzola burger was delicious (as was the truffle aioli dip for my fries), Carl’s Flaxseed Sweet Potato burger didn’t quite agree with him….

It’s now dark, but that’s what we wanted to see the volcano as it will be glowing in the nighttime. It was quite breezy and cold at the top of the volcano (we are still in shorts and T-shirts), thankfully I have my pashmina (the ALL PURPOSE blanket, wrap, sweater, beach towel). Although we can’t see flowing lava, we could certainly see the boiling caldron-like core of the volcano. Definitely worth the trip, however, we now have our 2 ½ hour drive back to the Marriott. Carl has already done the Mauna Kea trip this morning (3 hour drive) so he is absolutely exhausted and he actually, get ready for it now, he ASKED ME TO DRIVE! I never drive. Not that I can’t, it’s just that Carl likes to drive and I’m fine with that. It was my turn and even in the dark curvy roads of Hawaii, I was up for the challenge.

Kilauea Caldron, Volcanoes National Park, Hawaii. © Carl Amoth

Kilauea Caldron, Volcanoes National Park, Hawaii. © Carl Amoth

We arrived back safe and sound and ready to for a quick change of clothes as we have been graciously invited for a nightcap and snack with our new (ok, MY new) friends, the Lanakila’s at their neighboring hotel the Mauna Lani (they live near Volcanoes NP, but are on our side of the island for a family celebration). As readers of our blog, Daerick took notice of my fondness for champagne and they had a lovely bottle chilled for us as we arrived along with a host of gourmet cheeses, crackers, guacamole, apples and coconut cake. It was another lovely end to a splendid day. Yet again there were no lulls in our conversation as we covered a gamut of topics and got to know each other even better. A look at my watch and I couldn’t believe my bleary eyes, but it was nearly 12:30 a.m. With promises to come back (and open invitations for them to visit), we bid our dear friends adieu and called it a night.

Tomorrow: transition day to Maui…

Oh – I’ve been forgetting our “funny story” inserts, so excuse me while I back track to Wednesday’s arrival. We travel with our Nalgene water bottles and they fit nicely on the side of the backpack. Carl had made a point of telling me to use the little strap on the side to lock in the water bottle so they don’t fall out. I made a comment at the time that I travel with my water bottle all the time and it never falls out of my bag. I complied nonetheless until one point when we got to the Maui airport after a very long 6 hour flight and we were searching for a place to eat as we had a two hour layover before heading to Kona.

"Secured" Nalgene water bottle

“Secured” Nalgene water bottle

Unfortunately, all of the restaurants are on the other side of security and our flight was at a commuter terminal with nothing but a counter. I was about to have a melt down. Six hour flight, didn’t eat much of the meal on the plane as it was a tasteless, highly caloric pasta dish and that was not how I wanted to start vacation. So, we are walking up and down the terminal looking in vain for a restaurant when we realize all we have is Starbucks. As we turn around to head to the Starbucks, Carl says “hey, isn’t that your water bottle?” Yes, it was. Laying right there on the floor of the airport where millions of feet had tread. My bottle. Dammit. Yes, I’ve locked it in ever since then.

Some of the observatories on the summit of Mauna Kea. Mt Haleakala, in Maui, is visible on the horizon (some 80 miles away). © Carl Amoth

Some of the observatories on the summit of Mauna Kea. Mt Haleakala, in Maui, is visible on the horizon (some 80 miles away). © Carl Amoth

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One Comment

  1. Posted November 26, 2012 at 6:35 am | Permalink | Reply

    Been loving your Hawaii posts! We were there in April and your posts are invoking those memories! Can’t wait to hear about Maui which was our favorite!! Enjoy my friends!

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