Exploring the Mauna Kea Summit

Would you believe that I’ve been to the top of a mountain taller than Mount Everest? Being mildly afraid of heights, I almost can’t believe it myself! While Everest is the highest above sea level, measuring in at a whopping 29,035 feet, Mauna Kea on the Big Island of Hawaii blows it out of (or into) the water. From its base deep down in the Pacific Ocean to its tallest peak, Mauna Kea stands 33,476 feet high.

Is your mind blown? Because mine certainly was. This past October found us in Hawaii for our friends’ wedding, and of course we had to check out this behemoth.


This is just the view from the half way point!


Here’s Tay enjoying some hot cocoa as we took a break from the ascent. Of course, everyone else has epic SUVs fully loaded with four-wheel-drive…here’s what we were sporting up the incline:


We rented this shitty old school Toyota off of Craigslist and it barely made it up the mountain. When we finally reached the summit, we were amazed by the observatory.

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Owned by the University of Hawaii, this structure is the world’s largest astronomical observatory. Think of all the crazy constellations that have been viewed from this bad boy!

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The view was stunning, to say the least. We watched the sun set from above the clouds and it was without a doubt one of the most memorable moments from our trip. And before I forget, did I mention how stinking cold it was?

We drove here after spending a day on the beach lounging in 80 degree weather on the Hilo side of the island. We were definitely not prepared, and initially scoffed at our fellow tourists who we saw decked out in parkas. They definitely had the last laugh.


We froze our butts off but were able to share a unique experience.


Have you ever been to Hawaii? Did the tropical island grab a hold of your heart like it did ours? Aloha! We’ll see you next time.

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  1. Pingback: Hawaii: Big Island Travel Guide | Tay and Jay Travel

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