Tim & Suzie Travel America travel blog

Suzie @ observatory - very cold

Tim with a chip packet about to explode with pressyre change near...

BIG telescope on the summit

Lava flow from Mt Kileaua

Suzie on some of the 'easy' terrain on the way to lava...

Tim n' Suzie with lava catching up!!!

Us with lei at luau for Tim's B-day

We have spent the last few days here on the Big Island and it is truly an amazing place. The contrasts are unbelievable, one moment you will be driving along the coast and there is nothing but volcanic rock where it is hot and humid and then you are in a tropical rain forrest or a beautiful mountain town where the air is cool.

We have spent most of our time doing volcano stuff and a number of the photos we have attached show that. Stand outs have been a long and arduous hike to see the larva flows. This was a 4 1/2 hour round trip over some very harsh terrain and half of it in the pitch black with just a torch to light our way (not a guided tour). At the end we were exhausted but it was truly amazing.

We visited the observatory on top of Mauna Kea. We went right to the summit just before sunset (see photos) it was freezing but spectacular. We were 13,796 feet up so actually got light headed when we did anything too strenuous. The telescopes there are the most powerful in the world and have helped discover some of the most startling astronomical finds in recent time. We then descended to the visitor centre where we gazed through the largest optical telescopes at Saturn and a variety of constellations.

The observatory has not been without controversy. The mountain is also very sacred for indiginous Hawaiians and the pressence of man made structures continues to be the focus of much debate between the scientific community and the locals.

We have been walking everywhere! Yesterday afternoon after a BBQ lunch in the National Park we hiked across a volcanic crater which was really spooky.

Ok off to Honolulu for a night before flying to Seattle to pick up the van so stay tuned for the next installment.


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