Picture of the Day 12.02.2016
Standing on top of the tallest mountain in the world: check! Mauna Kea on the Big Island is only about 4200 meters from sea-level but as it actually stands on the ocean floor, it is considered the tallest mountain in the world. But this isn't everything, it is also the best place in the world for stargazing. The air is incredibly clear and there is basically no light-pollution anywhere. The orange glow you see at the bottom of the photo are actually volcanoes. But let's start at the adventure of actually getting up there. I only drive a cheap crappy rental car which was already struggling on the way up to the visitorcenter at 2800m. The road to the summit is a step gravel road which is only accessible by 4WD. There was no way my car would make it up there. Fortunately I met a nice Canadian couple that gave me a lift in their SUV and I really would have missed something if I hadn't gone up there. The views are simply breathtaking. It feels like you are standing on another planet and those observatories are really helping that impression. It has to be one of the coolest places I visited on this trip. I spent about an hour up there before heading back to the visitorcenter to watch the great sunset and of course stargazing. I have never seen so many stars before in my live. It was incredible and really worth the late night drive home. The second adventure was actually that drive home as I was running low on fuel and gas stations seem to be quite rare on this island. But it all worked out in the end, I've got a lot of great photo and now I'm heading for some real volcanoes.