Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Roof of the World

I haven't been to the top of Mauna Kea recently, and it's been covered with snow this winter. So I jumped at the chance to have Craig and Tuko drive me up in his valiant little Honda, along with my house partner Bob and our friend John, both visiting from California.

After leaving Hilo we wound up the saddle road until it came close to a kipuka that I'd never seen before. We climbed a fence and entered a wondrous world of unspoiled native Hawaiian plants of every variety, and native birds clamoring overhead in their rare and fabulous voices. I wish it weren't so, but such a pure environment is very scarce these days, and I was very surprised to find it just yards from the road.

At the visitors' center high on the flanks of the mountain, we rested an hour and admired the intensely reflective and geometrically spectacular silversword plants.

Finally crawling slowly up to the top, we found ourselves in a World of Winter, with cindercones smoothly dusted and glazed with white snow. What an amazing contrast to the coastlines far below, where we romp daily on warm sand and frolic with dolphins in the bay.