Forum Index > Trip Reports > Part 1 Hawaii - Mauna Kea, Loa, Ulu, lava tubes, petroglyphs
Previous :: Next Topic  
Author Message
Gimpilator
Member
Member


Joined: 12 Oct 2006
Posts: 1139 | TRs
Location: Edmonds, WA
Gimpilator
Member
PostSun Mar 13, 2016 12:05 am 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
3 different organizations asked Heather to come to New Zealand and speak at their various events.  One of them offered to pay for her flight and get us some hotels along the way.  When we were discussing the possibility of this trip, I suggested that we include a stop over in Hawaii on the way there and another in Tahiti or Fiji on the way home to bag some extra peaks.  Then Tom helped us get good fares for the flights.  Thanks Tom!

This is the first of a 5 part trip report which covers the 6 weeks we were abroad.  Not everything went as planned and at times it was a very stressful trip.  We just couldn't seem to overcome bad luck.  There was a dengue fever outbreak in Hawaii exactly where we were going and then our rental van in New Zealand blew up on the second day, my cell phone mysteriously bit the dust and damn near every hotel in New Zealand was full the entire time we were there.  Then we almost skipped going to Fiji because of the cyclone devastation.  But who ever said travel was supposed to be easy, right?

Heather and I had both been to Kauai and Oahu before and she had also been to Maui but neither of us had visited the Big Island before.  You know what's located on the Big Island?  Mauna Kea is the 15th most prominent mountain in the world and the worlds tallest mountain if you don't measure by sea level but instead measure from the base.  Mauna Loa is also a worthy objective only slightly shorter than Mauna Kea.

Kilauea
Kilauea
bad air
bad air
crater summit
crater summit

The first place we went was Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.  Seeing the giant plume which is constantly issuing forth from Halema'uma'u inside Kilauea Crater is something I'll never forget.  A sign warned that sulphur dioxide levels were currently unhealthy and we were coughing from the noxious gas.  At the advice of several locals, later in the trip we returned at night to see the glowing lava lake, which is the second largest on earth.  Now this was a total and complete mind-blower!  If you're planning a trip to the big island of Hawaii, please promise me you'll make the extra effort to return to Kilauea at night because it's one of the most incredible things we've ever seen.  We sat there staring at it for a half-hour and even went back another night to see it again.

video link

Kilauea seen from Mauna Ulu
Kilauea seen from Mauna Ulu
cracks near Pu'upua'i summit
cracks near Pu'upua'i summit
Kilauea Iki seen from Pu'upua'i
Kilauea Iki seen from Pu'upua'i

After Kilauea during the day I hiked up Pu'upua'i solo and the next thing we did inside the park was hike to the summit of Mauna Ulu.  There were some nene (pronounced nay-nay) in the parking lot.  Apparently this is a species of Canadian Geese that accidentally ended up in Hawaii and decided to stay there.  Mauna Ulu is a small volcano east of Kiluea surrounded by lava flows.  It was my first time hiking on lava flows.

Nene
Nene
lava flows
lava flows

Heather did the hike in her sandals and as we were nearing the caldera we suddenly noticed we were surrounded by active steam vents and she said her feet were getting scary hot so we quickly backed off and went around to the other side of the caldera to reach the high point.  It was a deep caldera with steep walls and not easy to see the bottom.  On the way back we hiked up the older Pu'u Huluhulu crater which was covered in local flora.

Mauna Ulu summit
Mauna Ulu summit
Maunu Ulu crater
Maunu Ulu crater
Mauna Ulu seen from Pu'u Huluhulu
Mauna Ulu seen from Pu'u Huluhulu

Later that afternoon we set out to explore a bit of information we had found in an old guidebook.  To my knowledge this lava tube is a well kept secret and not often explored.  The old book said park near the sign for mile 23 on Highway 11 on the south side of the island and bushwhack about 40 yards south straight back into the thick brush to find the sinkhole and entrance to the lava tube.  You start in the wild ginger plants which are across the road from the sign post.  Furthermore the book said most people don't find the entrance and that we weren't likely to find it.  But we did!  And this was one of our favorite experiences in Hawaii.  If you decide to go, enter the brush here (19.452924, -155.182880) even though it looks bad.

entering the lava tube
entering the lava tube

The brush was exceptionally thick and we had to crawl on the ground to get through some of it.  We were pretty excited when we found the sink hole.  We scrambled down two short steps to reach the two mouths of the lava tube.  The left entrance was quickly a dead end but the right entrance extended 1.5 miles into the earth.  We didn't go to the end because we didn't want to deal with navigating through the bush after dark and we were getting short on daylight.

soda straws
soda straws

This lava tube has numerous cave formations including soda straws and small stalactites so it must be an older tube.  There are also some short dryfalls and small holes to squeeze through.  In a number of places everything appears polished or sparkles with metallic glitter-like mineral deposits and there are a multiple colors of lava on the floor walls and ceiling.  The pictures won't do it justice.  It's the most interesting lava tube I've explored.

tight section
tight section
dry fall
dry fall
collapsed ceiling
collapsed ceiling

On our second day in Hawaii we hiked up Mauna Kea.  You can drive to near the top but we wanted to hike it.  We could see Mauna Loa, the next days objective, across from the saddle.  It was hard to keep up with Heather because altitude does not bother her as much as it does me.  I always have to go slow and use pressure breathing techniques above 12,000 feet.

Mauna Loa seen from Mauna Kea trail
Mauna Loa seen from Mauna Kea trail
Lake Waiau
Lake Waiau
road section
road section

On the way up I made a point of bagging a bunch of the volcanic sub peaks around the top of the mountain and Heather joined me for most of those.  Exploring one of those took us past little Lake Waiau which is religiously significant to Hawaiian culture and the location of certain ceremonies.

Mauna Kea summit
Mauna Kea summit
Top of Hawaii
Top of Hawaii

The last stretch to the summit left the trail and followed along the road which is a bit anti-climactic, but then the very very last bit is a trail.  The Top of Hawai!  We explored around some of the telescopes before heading back down.  We waited around the visitor center for nightfall so we could participate in smaller telescope viewing and the night sky astronomy tour.  While we waited I hiked up a couple of the small 9,000 foot peaklets in the area.  One of them had a bunch of rock piles on the summit organized in cultural religious significance.  Later that night, as it turned out, the astronomy gig was so crowded and hectic we didn't want to stay for the whole thing.

Puu Kalepeamoa summit
Puu Kalepeamoa summit
Kilohana summit rock art
Kilohana summit rock art
Kilohana summit rock art
Kilohana summit rock art

The next day we hiked up Mauna Loa.  This turned out to be a much tougher hike than Mauna Kea because there is no trail accross the lava flows and the distance is longer with more time at high altitude.  As we were leaving the parking area we encountered a couple from Spain.  The guy looked angry and wouldn't speak to us but then the woman explained that they had gotten mixed up on the lava flows the previous day and had to spend the night out unexpectedly and without any provisions.  It must have been extremely cold night because they slept well above 10,000 feet.

Mauna Kea seen from Mauna Loa
Mauna Kea seen from Mauna Loa
lava snowman
lava snowman
pahoehoe lava
pahoehoe lava
ah ah lava
ah ah lava

We followed the cairned route up the lava flows and crossed an old access road several times.  There were many different colors of lava and even some rainbow colored bits which tempted me to pocket a few samples, but I didn't do it.  Eventually we came to the main crater rim which afforded an incredible view.  This crater is 1.5 miles by 3 miles wide.  Imagine that.

blue lava
blue lava
red lava
red lava
rainbow lava
rainbow lava

We continued along the crater rim for what seemed like several miles until we reached the high point with a summit register.  Some people call Mauna Loa the world's largest volcano and others contest such a statement but I'm not sure I understand the whole argument.  Anyone know anything about that?

crater rim
crater rim
Mauna Loa summit benchmark
Mauna Loa summit benchmark
summit log
summit log
more red lava
more red lava

The next morning we went to Thurston Lava tube which was pretty lame after the mile 23 tube we explored.  The old guide book said Thurston could be further explored by going through an “unlocked gate”, but when we got there it was locked and a bunch of DANGER signs discourage jumping over the gate.

sailboat
sailboat

We drove down the road to the Pu'u Loa petroglyphs which were pretty neat.  I hiked beyond the boardwalk being very careful not to step on any petroglyphs.  Beyond the small boardwalk I found that there are actually thousands of petroglyphs all throughout the valley.  I couldn't help but wonder if they might all get covered up someday in a new lava flow.  We continued down to the end of the road to see the coast.

coast
coast
arch
arch
Kilauea Iki
Kilauea Iki

Later that afternoon we hiked through the crater of Kiluea Iki which had an enormous eruption in 1959 and created the cinder cone Pu'upua'i.  There are still active steam vents throughout the crater.  That evening we visited Kiluaea for the first time at night to view the glowing lava lake.

Halema'uma'u inside Kilauea Crater at night
Halema'uma'u inside Kilauea Crater at night
coffee plants
coffee plants
coffee cherries
coffee cherries

The next day was our last full day and we decided to visit the west coast despite the dengue fever risk.  We went to a few Kona coffee plantations.  We both thought the coffee was good but not as good as the Ethiopian Yirgacheffe we roast at home.  In any case it was nice to see some real coffee plants and coffee cherries close up as well as the white blossoms.

Puakō petroglyphs
Puakō petroglyphs

After getting hyped on free coffee samples we drove north to the Puakō petroglyph site and then later to the Waikoloa petroglyph site.  Both were very rewarding and fun especially Waikoloa.  I really dig petroglyphs but I don't think Heather was into it as much as I was.

Waikoloa petroglyphs
Waikoloa petroglyphs
turtle
turtle
???
???

In the afternoon we went to the Puuhonua O Honaunau National Historic Park where we spotted a green sea turtle among yellow fish.  I was wishing I could get in the water and cool off and snorkel, but with the dengue fever risk I decided to keep my pants and long sleeve shirt on.

green sea turtle foot
green sea turtle foot
turtle head coming up for air
turtle head coming up for air
city of refuge
city of refuge
our second time at Kilauea at night
our second time at Kilauea at night

The following day we flew to Aukland for the next leg of the journey.


Part 2 - New Zealand South Island, Kaikoura, Edoras and more

Part 3 - NZ South Island, Single Cone, Sebastopol, Torlesse

Part 4 NZ North Island Taranaki, Ruapehu, Mt Doom, Tongariro

Part 5 – Fiji after Cyclone Winston

--------------
http://www.summitpost.org/user_page.php?user_id=25744
http://www.peakbagger.com/climber/ClimbListC.aspx?cid=2650&sort=elevft&u=ft&j=-1&y=9999

Keep climbing mountains and don't slip!
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Visit poster's website Send private message Send e-mail Reply to topic Reply with quote
Anish
Member
Member


Joined: 07 Sep 2014
Posts: 79 | TRs

Anish
Member
PostSun Mar 13, 2016 12:05 am 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
Great report! Fun trip smile.gif

--------------
"Our way is not soft grass. It's a mountain path with lots of rocks. But it goes upwards, forward, toward the sun." -Ruth Westheimer
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Reply to topic Reply with quote
lookout bob
WTA proponent.....



Joined: 12 Apr 2005
Posts: 2630 | TRs
Location: wta work while in between lookouts
lookout bob
WTA proponent.....
PostSun Mar 13, 2016 7:54 am 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
Gimp...what a great report and amazing pictures!!! up.gif  up.gif  up.gif   You certainly did some fine things on the big island.  You didn't say where you started your hikes on Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa...let me know.  I assume from the Onizuki visitor center on Kea and from the weather station on Loa.   great hikes indeed. 
Kilauea is one of the finest places on earth from what I've seen.  I'm so glad you got to enjoy some of the Big Islands finest sites.   If you decide to go back, please PM me and I can turn you on to some more great spots.  I lived on the Big Island for a while and worked for Outward Bound there so can recommend some out of the way spots. 
Great TR and pics!!!! up.gif  up.gif  up.gif  up.gif  cool.gif  cool.gif  cool.gif

--------------
"Altitude is its own reward"
John Jerome ( from "On Mountains")
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Send e-mail Reply to topic Reply with quote
RichP
sin rumbo



Joined: 13 Jul 2006
Posts: 3782 | TRs
Location: Seattle
RichP
sin rumbo
PostSun Mar 13, 2016 8:08 am 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
Oh, the joys of travel. Weather, pestilence and unruly crowds... Still, it beats not traveling at all.
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Send e-mail Reply to topic Reply with quote
Fletcher
Member
Member


Joined: 29 Jul 2009
Posts: 1389 | TRs
Location: kirkland
Fletcher
Member
PostSun Mar 13, 2016 2:23 pm 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
Cool guys! Cant wait to hear about your time in NZ.
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Reply to topic Reply with quote
Brushbuffalo
Member
Member


Joined: 17 Sep 2015
Posts: 792 | TRs
Location: there earlier, here now, somewhere later... Bellingham in between
Brushbuffalo
Member
PostSun Mar 13, 2016 4:27 pm 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
Gimpilator wrote:
Some people call Mauna Loa the world's largest volcano and others contest such a statement but I'm not sure I understand the whole argument.  Anyone know anything about that?

Adam, if measured from the base on the ocean floor 16 to 18 k deep, Mauna Loa is indeed often claimed to be the largest-by-volume volcano .  Even measured from sea level it is still considered to be Earth's largest-volume volcano  Further complicating Mauna Loa's claim is that since Mauna Kea, Kilauea, and Hualalai intersect it, the volume of each is difficult to calculate at depth.  Due to isostatic pressure on the sea crust (downward sagging) from its great mass, the true height of Mauna Loa from its true base to its summit is about 56,000 feet with correspondingly huge volume.

Now consider this:  Mauna Loa actually isn't even the largest-by -volume volcano in the Pacific basin. That distinction at present state of knowledge goes to Tamu, a truly gigantic submarine volcano in the South Pacific.  It is named for its discoverers at Texas A & M University. Tamu's volume is about 2.5 million cubic kilometers,  or as much as 20 times greater than Mauna Loa depending on how one sets the parameters for measuring each.

When talking about superlatives, as I like to do, the largest volcano in our solar system is Olympus Mons,  which is about three times taller than Everest and 100 times the volume of Mauna Loa.
Wouldn't  THAT be a worthy summit to add to your life list?!?😆
Oh wait, it's  on Mars. Tough break for us peak baggers!

It is impressive that you two just hiked up Mauna Loa from the saddle, instead of taking the trail, rough as it is, on the south flank.
Why do it the easy way? suuure.gif
Or maybe you used the high start from the NOAA weather research station on the n.e. side? Still no trail., although hiking on aa or pahoehoe is hard enough even with a trail.

--------------
Passing rocks and trees like they were standing still
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Visit poster's website Send private message Send e-mail Reply to topic Reply with quote
reststep
Member
Member


Joined: 17 Dec 2001
Posts: 4002 | TRs

reststep
Member
PostSun Mar 13, 2016 4:58 pm 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
Thanks for the great report and pictures.

It looks like there is no snow on Mauna Kea this winter.

--------------
"The mountains are calling and I must go." - John Muir
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Send e-mail Reply to topic Reply with quote
Magellan
Brutally Handsome



Joined: 26 Jul 2006
Posts: 13108 | TRs
Location: Inexorable descent
Magellan
Brutally Handsome
PostSun Mar 13, 2016 8:59 pm 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
Great start on the reporting Gimpilator.  Looking forward to the other parts of your amazing journey.  up.gif  up.gif
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Send e-mail Reply to topic Reply with quote
Gimpilator
Member
Member


Joined: 12 Oct 2006
Posts: 1139 | TRs
Location: Edmonds, WA
Gimpilator
Member
PostMon Mar 14, 2016 7:25 am 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
lookout bob wrote:
You didn't say where you started your hikes on Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa...let me know.  I assume from the Onizuki visitor center on Kea and from the weather station on Loa.

I'm sorry for not being clear on that.  You are correct on both counts.  Thanks for the offer of beta.  I had no idea you lived there or worked with Outward Bound.  That's such an excellent organization.

RichP - You sure said it!

Brushbuffalo wrote:
the true height of Mauna Loa from its true base to its summit is about 56,000 feet with correspondingly huge volume

Thanks for clearing that up for me Doug.  I sort of feel like I have my bases covered now, having done Ojos del Salado, Kilimanjaro and Mauna Kea.  I will not be climbing Tamu, lol.  There's still some nice big volcanoes left on my list; Sajama, Damavand and Elbrus.

Brushbuffalo wrote:
Or maybe you used the high start from the NOAA weather research station on the n.e. side? Still no trail.

Sorry again for the confusion.  We did start from the weather research station.  It's only about 13 miles round trip from there.

reststep wrote:
It looks like there is no snow on Mauna Kea this winter.

I was surprised about that as well.  I figured there might be at least a little.  Wonder if they got any after we left.

--------------
http://www.summitpost.org/user_page.php?user_id=25744
http://www.peakbagger.com/climber/ClimbListC.aspx?cid=2650&sort=elevft&u=ft&j=-1&y=9999

Keep climbing mountains and don't slip!
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Visit poster's website Send private message Send e-mail Reply to topic Reply with quote
chefothefuture
Member
Member


Joined: 18 Aug 2003
Posts: 96 | TRs
Location: Paauilo, HI and Lake Roesiger WA.
chefothefuture
Member
PostThu Mar 24, 2016 7:21 pm 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
Way to make me homesick! LOL!
Used to go up the Mauna Kea trail quite regularly.
The trail started off the road by the visitor's center just below the ranger station/crew quarters (@ 9000"el.)
Nice way to observe the change in ecosystems as you hike through and above the vegitation line.
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Send e-mail Reply to topic Reply with quote
PorcupinePhobia
Murse



Joined: 04 Mar 2012
Posts: 960 | TRs
Location: Hwy20
PorcupinePhobia
Murse
PostFri Mar 25, 2016 12:13 am 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
I'm looking forward to your TR "Gimp and Anish not on vacation"

Do you get paid for this some how? Very jealous....
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Reply to topic Reply with quote
Frodo Barefoot
Member
Member


Joined: 09 Apr 2015
Posts: 88 | TRs

Frodo Barefoot
Member
PostTue Mar 29, 2016 8:50 am 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
Awesome trip!
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Send private message Send e-mail Reply to topic Reply with quote
Gimpilator
Member
Member


Joined: 12 Oct 2006
Posts: 1139 | TRs
Location: Edmonds, WA
Gimpilator
Member
PostTue Apr 19, 2016 8:42 pm 
Reply to topic Reply with quote
PorcupinePhobia wrote:
I'm looking forward to your TR "Gimp and Anish not on vacation"

Do you get paid for this some how? Very jealous....

Lol, if you're serious about that, then here you go.  I did not get paid for any part of this trip, however Heather accepted 2 of the 3 different proposals for her to give talks there and one of those included the price of her flight as well as some hotels.

--------------
http://www.summitpost.org/user_page.php?user_id=25744
http://www.peakbagger.com/climber/ClimbListC.aspx?cid=2650&sort=elevft&u=ft&j=-1&y=9999

Keep climbing mountains and don't slip!
Back to top
View user's profile Search for posts by this user Visit poster's website Send private message Send e-mail Reply to topic Reply with quote
  Display:     All times are GMT - 8 Hours
Forum Index > Trip Reports > Part 1 Hawaii - Mauna Kea, Loa, Ulu, lava tubes, petroglyphs
  Happy Birthday outdoorgirl, wildernessed!
Jump to:   
Search this topic:

You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum
You cannot attach files in this forum
You can download files in this forum
   Use Disclaimer Powered by phpBB Privacy Policy