day 10 – hilo

today is a rest day. it’s not as if we won’t be riding at all, we just won’t be determined to get to a particular destination. leisure day is more appropriate than rest day.

sera and i had heard there would be a costume contest for the office, so we decided that while we were out we would try to find something to wear and enter it. also on the list of things to do was mehana brewery and big island candies. since the brewery didn’t open until noon, we went to the candy shop.

we texted another couple that was on the tour and they said they were almost there. while we were outside, we took our photo and sent it into the office for the costume contest. sadly, we submitted too late. the time difference is still taking a bit to get used to.

the greet you with coffee and samples. then more samples…then more and more. we had a lot of chocolate, cookies and brownies. plenty of samples. that is what really convinced us that we couldn’t just buy one thing, unless it was a gift box full of variety. we chose the medium sized one so it would both be portable and have a good selection. some of the other cyclists from the group were purchasing much more and sending it home via mail.

five of us slowly started our way three blocks over to the brewery. we knew it wasn’t open for another twenty minutes, but didn’t have anything else to do. we sat outside the fence waiting for the brewery to open. they came out a short time later, rolled back the gate and we poured in for our pours. they could sample as much as we needed to make a good informed decision, but they couldn’t let us drink more than the samples. we sampled plenty. eventually i purchased an insulated growler and had it filled so that we could have beer the next day. it wasn’t that we couldn’t get beer along the way, but it wouldn’t be cold. we decided to leave to grab lunch and meet everyone for the van tour.

the group leader had asked us early in the tour if we were interested in taking a tour van up to the top of mauna kea to see the sunset. yes we were. it was going to be a few hours to the top. after the group got in the van and we were ready to leave, the tour guide(dressed in a hotdog costume) took us over to rainbow falls which was on the way outside of hilo. it was a large waterfall, comparable to snoqualmie falls. climbing up the side of the lookout, there is a path to an extremely large banyan tree. the trunk of the tree was probably 40 feet wide, due to the branches/vines that come down. whenever one of these branches/vines touches the ground, it sprouts roots and becomes another extension of the tree. we only had a few minutes so we jumped back in the van for the remaining ride up the mountain.

the guide was full of tips and knowledge about the island and mountain. she offered history, facts about trees, the islands and was just overall loaded with info. we learned that between the visitors center and the peak was where they had tested the mars rover. looking out at the terrain in this area, it was visibly like i would imagine mars to be. we also learned about thirty-meter-telescope(tmt). tmt was supposed to have already began construction, but the supreme court had invalidated the tmt’s building permits. from my understanding, they are looking into other locations. there was an elected official at some point that said there would be no more than 13 telescopes/observatories in hawaii ever. tmt worked with some of the other groups to remove two of them so that they could make room for it. it’s a really interesting story(to me) about the fight for science and protecting sacred lands.

the visitors center was our stop for dinner. the group had packed fried chicken and some veggies. growing up next to the michigan space center and always dreaming of being an astronaut, i had developed a craving for astronaut ice cream. they had it for sale inside the visitors center. it was a nice treat to reminisce and complete the meal. there are nightly observation parties at the visitors center, but we weren’t staying there. the road ahead was limited to 4×4 vehicles. our big van was pushing hard to get up, and a short time later we reached the crest. there we were, on the top of the tallest mountain on earth. far above the clouds, only observatories, tour vans and tourists were around. we put on heavy jackets with the temperature bordering freezing. the sunset from above the clouds was amazing and well worth the journey up. the photos attached are great, but really it’s something that you should experience yourself.

there was an early evening constellation viewing party planned for us that was cancelled. as it turns out, mauna kea has an average of 340 clear nights per year. this was one of the nights where it wasn’t as clear. the dryness and clear sky alongside the height of the mountain make it a perfect place for observatories. the only thing left for the day was to return and get sleep. since it was bordering eight o’clock, everyone was tired. our bodies have adjusted to sleep schedules that make it almost impossible to stay up much later than that.


early morning puffy eye treatment from the snorkelling pressure a few days ago.


halloween costumes…not bad for a total of $6.


just outside the tasting room in mehana brewery.


just outside the tasting room in mehana brewery.


sera @ rainbow falls.


the aforementioned banyan tree. it looks small, but i am at least 50 feet away.


sera & jaik, leggings and golf pants. special appearance with mud on the shoes.


rainbow falls.


observing the observatories.


this was the actual crest of mauna kea, we were not allowed to climb up there(people die).


observatories and a bed of clouds.


 sunshine bathing observatories.


it’s probably not noticable that sera & jaik are getting cold on top of mauna kea.


sunset is beginning, mauna kahalawai on maui can bee seen peeking through the clouds in the distance.


more sunset, different shade, same observatories.


sunset is progressing, mauna kahalawai on maui can bee seen peeking through the clouds in the distance.


sunset is happening, mauna kahalawai on maui can bee seen peeking through the clouds in the distance.

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