9/8/2002 - 9/21/2002
Day 7 - 9/15/2002 - From 0 to 14,000 feet in one day!
Location: Big Island, Hawaii
We started our day with a hearty breakfast of French Toast, fresh fruit, mini-sausages, and homemade five-grain cereal! I couldn't believe how much we ate! I sat overlooking the ocean from the poolside.
After that, we grabbed snorkel-gear from the laundry room (Thanks, Clem!) and went to the beach. It was a fair distance away, but a neat beach! It was salt & pepper (meaning it has both black and white sand). I've never been snorkeling before, so it was quite an experience! I saw huge fish! I even saw 2 sea turtles!
Unfortunately, Hilary and I neglected to reapply sunscreen, so we got a little sun-burned :(. I'm no longer "whiter than Wonder bread!"
We then headed for the meeting place for our tour to the top of Mauna Kea, the tallest mountain on the island, and arguably, the world (if you measure it from the base below the surface of the water).
We took a van ride up to 14,000 feet (with Megan as our guide)! Along the way, we stopped at 6,000 feet to eat dinner in the clouds. Riding up was like seeing a Martian landscape! The rocks were red with rust (from the iron deposits in the old lava flows) and a lot of the road was unpaved.
We went back down to 9,000 feet after sunset to go stargazing! We saw a night sky like never before! Above the clouds! Megan, our tour guide was well versed in the starts and told us where everything was. We saw Venus through a telescope and some star-clusters (as well as the moon!) as we sipped hot chocolate and ate cookies. It turns out that your body craves sweets at high altitudes. It was the best-tasting cookie I ever had!
We got in at 12:00 am and collapsed in bed, exhausted! Don't forget 12:00 is like 6:00 am back home!