Reflecting on Hawaii - Volcanoes, Stars & a Dance Party - Day 4

Our daily recap from exactly a week ago... a selfish way to relive the vakay! Wednesday, 5.15.13

After having a super yummy and oversized breakfast of loco moco, kalua hash and pancakes that were over a foot in diameter at the Hawaiian Style Cafe, our merry gang divided to explore the island's volcanoes.

Half of our party headed over Saddle Road to the Hilo side and Volcanoes National Park, while we headed up Saddle Road to Mauna Kea. I had been to Volcano NP before, but never to the observatories atop Mauna Kea. It is recommended that you stop at the visitor center before driving up the final 8 miles to the summit to check the conditions. We were advised that only 4WD vehicles should go up, keep it in 4 wheel low and, be sure to have a full tank of gas and be sure to have warm jacket. With all requirements met, we headed to our car.

TRAIL SHOUT OUT: We were stopped by 2 fellow tourists wanting to head to the top, but not having a car that could get them there. The Armada was plenty big so in jumped our new Brazillian friends, Bruno and Leo.

The road starts off from the visitor center as gravel/dirt then about halfway up it turns to pavement. After numerous switch backs and amazing views you turn a corner and see the observatories. They look like little white and silver ornaments decorating a planet. Then you get up close and realize they are huge. You drive to ~13,500' then hike the last few hundred feet to the 13,796' summit. It was fitting that our easiest "summit" was on a tropical vacation.  After our mini summit hike we head it Keck Observatory I. The setting made for some great photos... all taken with my iPhone and olloclip.

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We had a little time to kill so we headed to the Waipio Valley Lookout and had some ice cream, before heading back to Waimea.[gallery type="circle" ids="867,865,864"]


An old friend played hookie from work to meet us at the Big Island Brewhaus.  I was pleasantly surprised to like ALL 7 of the different beers in my sampler and the mexican food wasn't bad either. The whole family joined us for dinner.

The night ended perfectly back at our friends house where we took part in a before bed dance party with kids and grownups dance dance dancing. Sadly we have no dance party pictures because we were too busy having fun dancing!