Almost Touching the Moon on Mauna Kea

If I had to choose one thing about Hawaii that I love love loved the most, it would have to be Mauna Kea.  Maybe it was the lack of oxygen at 9,000 ft+ above sea level.  Maybe it was the utter quiet.  Maybe it was the twilight and watching the mist descend and form clouds around us.

Maybe it was all of those things.

But it was magical.

Hang loose - the theme of the trip
Hang loose – the theme of the trip

I wrote about the high-powered observatories in my last post.  This is where they live.  People come from all over the world to observe the sky from atop Mauna Kea.

This mountain is technically the tallest one in the states, bottom to top (Mount Everest has a higher top elevation, but its base is above 10,000 ft).  Mauna Kea’s base is actually far under the ocean.   So what I’m saying is it’s steep.  I have altitude sensitivity, so I started feeling funny around 6,000 or 7,000 ft.  My husband never seems to notice any external stressors like that — he’s the person who can drive home from the optometrist with his eyes dilated, when I’m still fumbling for my water bottle 8 hours later.  So when it comes to driving up the side of a mountain, climbing 9-10K feet in an hour or so, let the one who can breathe do it.

The drive up is gorgeous, taking about an hour
The drive up is gorgeous, taking about an hour


On the way up, there are no filling stations, no McDonald’s, and only scattered houses.  Mostly there are cows.  And sheep.  Donkeys.  And signs to let you know that the donkeys will be crossing the road at daybreak and twilight.  We found those particularly amusing.  Probably the lack of oxygen.

But Mauna Kea is such an attraction because of the high elevation, the great views, and then, as the sun sets, the stargazing.  It is so dark out there with the lack of ambient light and the sharp jutting of the mountain into and above the clouds that you can see stars unlike anywhere on earth.

Everyone spoke in hushed tones
Way up here, everyone spoke in hushed tones
Not sure if they were pledging their lives to one another or breaking up
Not sure if they were pledging their lives to one another or breaking up here
You can draw your own conclusions
You can draw your own conclusions

These snaps were taken atop an embankment above the visitors’ center.  Hiking up it made me a little nervous.  Imma really scared of heights and there are no safety rails on this thing.  But getting up there was worth it.

So worth it.

New favorite selfie
New favorite couple selfie.  High above the clouds.
Representing the Herd
Representing the Herd — this is a picture from earlier in the evening, see how the clouds are just starting to swirl?

It is undoubtedly the number one thing I would recommend doing if you visit the Big Island.  I’m not the type of person who likes to go to the same vacation spots over and over again, but I can’t wait to go back and visit the mountain.  I loved it so very much.

Hope your brakes have been serviced
Hope your brakes have been serviced.  Ah — it’s a rental, whatevs.
Goodnight, Mauna Kea.
Goodnight, Mauna Kea.


Beware the Ides of March (A Photostory)

You’ll have to forgive me that the title has nothing much to do with this post.  I only get to say, “Beware the Ides of March!” once a year, and as a Latin geek, this is a huge deal to me.

You’ll also have to excuse the non-linear nature of tonight’s post — it’s basically my Instagram roundup/favorite things of the week post.  (i.e. I have some pictures from the past week, and I want to share them.)

First of all, did you know they have Harry Potter stamps at the Post Office?!

I had to buy two books!
I had to buy two books!

Seriously, my week was practically made at that point.  I didn’t have to go on.  But yet, I did.  I made my way to Fish’s Eddy homewares in NYC.  Apparently, it’s kind of a big deal.  I had no idea, but the outside looked great, so I thought I would check out the inside.  Look at this gem:

<3 <3 <3
❤ ❤ ❤

I really need some gay weddings to attend, because I really want to have an excuse to buy these.  Get with the program, West Virginia!  I thought this shot was a little too perfect to pass up:

Rainbows and unicorns
Rainbows and unicorns

I loved the color in the window on the way to dinner.  Couldn’t walk by it.  I also couldn’t walk by this without talking a shot:

This was just like the Pick Up Stix game
This was just like the Pick Up Stix game

My sole souvenir from the trip was from the Fish’s Eddy:

This was my souvenir from the trip: from the Fish's Eddy
Rest in Grease

And then I made a Peep Diorama for the American Bar Association contest.  Yes, these are cannibalistic Peeps:

And then I made a Peep Diorama for the American Bar Association contest.  R v. Dudley and Stephens
R v. Dudley and Stephens

It’s a pretty interesting story about 4 sailors who are shipwrecked, have to fight off sharks in their flimsy lifeboat, and end up eating one of their party to keep from starving in the coming days.  (Sacrifice one so that the others can live!)  But then they are rescued and charged with murder.  (Uh-oh!)

So that’s my week in a nutshell.  What about yours?  Have any fun photos to share?  I’m new to Instagram (yes, I know I’m just joining 2011), but I’m looking for beautimous and/or interesting accounts to follow!

From the Earth to the Sky

Some days I feel grateful simply that I have legs that work and lungs that breathe.

Other days I feel like a happy marriage, a beautiful home, a loving family, great friends, and a stable job aren’t enough for me.

Some days I look at other people and think they have it so much easier than I do.

Other days I want to pour my heart and soul out to those who aren’t as fortunate (be it fortunate in material items or those things that can’t be seen).

Every living, breathing thing will die one day.  It’s hard to think about that.  It’s hard to think your husband, your parents, your dog, your best friend — will all one day be gone.

I think the redwoods are the closest thing to a cure for these thoughts.  I guess they’re old enough to teach me a thing or two…