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Friday, February 20, 2009

Mauna Kea Summit Adventure

Well, here we go again. We hope we got the attention of Big Island visitors, who are in search of adventure on their Big Island vacation, with yesterday's post 'Mauna Kea Volcano'. A visit to Mauna Kea Summit for Stargazing or Sunset or Sunrise is definitely a 'must' for Big Island adventure 'hunters'. If we intrigued your curiosity with Keoki's beginning of his story of 'Mauna Kea Summit Adventure', a different kind that is, please, keep reading about his exciting activity on the White Mountain:

Mauna Kea Summit at Sunset
"Of course when living in Hawai'i, who owns winter clothing?! You can't go play in the snow in flip-flops, so you make do with what you have. I had an old pair of rubber boots, a few layers of socks, a couple layers of pants, t-shirts and layered sweat shirts, and I was ready to go. Some friends had a 4-wheel drive land rover, so four of us packed up some beer and snacks and of course, boogie boards. Boogie boards aren't just for surfing the ocean waves, as you will find out soon.

The road to the top is kept clear except in heavy storms which can blow in at a moments notice. We went up during the week - not much traffic except the obversatory workers and a few other fools like us. There must have been 3-4 feet of snow at the top on the day we were there.

Mauna Kea at its summit is over 14,000ft. which makes breathing difficult during any exercise. Of course, you can stand around doing nothing but that's no fun. The best place to 'snow surf' Mauna Kea summit is this bowl just below the summit. There is a run of 300 yards or so and you end at the bottom near the road. You gotta watch out for boulders sticking out of the snow though. On our fist run we tried walking back up to the top and soon found ourselves light headed and in danger of altitude sickness. The boggie boards worked great and we didn't want to give it up after the long drive to the top.

We decided to take turns driving, picking up the guys at the bottom and shuttling them back to the top. The sun was blazing the whole time, so we kept pretty warm. However for guys used to living in the tropic warmth after a couple hours and the cold crept into our bones and it was time to, as they say in Hawai'i, to hele on.

One thing nice about snow surfing in Hawai'i: When you are done, an hour later you can be ocean surfing on a white sand beach, which we did."

During the winter months in Hawaii, one won't only find teenagers sliding down snowy stretches of Mauna Kea summit on boogie boards or inner tubes, but skiers give it a try too. You got to be well conditioned, experienced and know the terrain though when skiing downhill on Mauna Kea. However, watching these daredevils is an experience Big Island visitors will remember for years to come when telling friends about their Big Island vacation. What's your favorite story about your visit to Mauna Kea summit and obersatories? Mahalo, Pua Hawaii Vacations

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