Wednesday, July 27, 2005
Awakening amongst the giant trees we cleaned our mess and visited with the park ranger. His half-hearted serious talk with us about acquiring a camping permit prior to setting down tents was tempered by his subsequent apology for having to 'talk' with us.
Duly chastened, our rental car carried us into town for a quick breakfast, then out to Waipio Valley. A beautiful valley with a remote-ish beach, our group found itself on foot heading down the very very steep road to the valley floor (four-wheel drive vehicles only) then down a tree-shaded muddy 'road' to the beach. A feral-ish donkey greeted us and horsies neighed hello as we passed. D had to work back in town that night so our stay was short but sweet. Some reading time, lots of playing in the waves, sand burials and malarky.
The walk out was long and hot and steeply uphill but we made it only slightly tinged with pink. Anxious (not really) to get D on his way to work he was dumped at a major crossroads and me and the ladies drove out to Mauna Kea for some night-time star gazing.
Our timing was off. Instead of arriving at the viewing area (at ~9,000, much below the almost 14,000 foot summit) at dark we arrived hours early. So we grabbed a couple blankets and our cameras and made a 20 minute hike to the top of a small burple to watch the sunset. A two-hour nap later we awoke, chilled, and watched the clouds roll in and the sun make a slow descent behind a far hilltop, dumping us into the shade and cold. A quick walk back and we ate a dinner of ramen (filled with yummy extras like hot sauce and mushrooms) and waited for full on dark.
It was amazing. The moon was fuller than necessary but the telescopes they set up (about a dozen of varying sizes) made for great viewing: Jupiter whose circles (not the technical term. I forget what they are called) and moons were visible; an amazing close-up of the moon; other solar systems and stars and such. Awesome.
But we were cold. So we left, grabbed some pizzas from Domino's (the only place in town open after 9pm) and watched a movie back home.
A nice mid-week break to be sure