Sunday, February 23, 2014

The 49th High Point - Mauna Kea, Hawaii

Allen at the summit of Mauna Kea, summit cairn to the left, telescopes to the rear.
    When I first started RVing in 2003 one of my goals was to get to the highest point of each of the 50 states.  I joined the Highpointers Club and started climbing. In August 2010 I completed the lower 48 on Granite Peak, Montana.  That left Alaska and Hawaii.
    At one time I thought I might try the Alaska high point, Denali, but now a few more years have passed, I'm a lot older and no way could I make it. Hawaii, however was a different story; one can drive almost to the top - the biggest problem was getting to the island of Hawaii, and that we did on the cruise ship Star Princess.
    We rented a 4 wheel drive truck in Hilo and were on our way.
Dinah and our rented truck at the start of the Mauna Kea access road. The mountain, hidden in clouds, is in the background.
    Our guidebook had warned us that the access road, beyond the visitor center, was very steep and in poor condition.  The book must be out of date; we found the road to be no problem at all. There were a few miles of dirt road, but it had been recently graded and, other than a little bit of washboard, presented no problems.  Of course, if it had been snowing, raining, or icy, it would have been a different story.
Dinah, near the top, dressed for the cold wind.
    I left Dinah in the parking lot near the top and set out on foot for the summit, a short hike away. After a few minutes, and lots of huffing and puffing (the summit is 13,796 feet above sea level),  I was at the top of Mauna Kea - my last high point!
The summit of Mauna Kea, my 49th - and last - state high point.