From Underground To Above The Clouds
Well, the last couple of days we went “below ground” looking for algae. Today, we took a trip to Mauna Kea which, at 13, 796 feet, is the highest point in Hawaii, to look for algae. Near the summit of Mauna Kea is Lake Waiau, sitting at just over 13,000 feet.
To ascend Mauna Lea, we passed some rough terrain, and saw some great old cinder cones. The road was steep, at some points over a 17% grade.
The road to Mauna Kea is steep, with a great view!
The landscape looked more lunar that on planet earth.
The origin of this lake is unknown. It is about 300 feet by 180 feet, and only about 8 feet at its greatest depth. While it was 80 degrees Fahrenheit in downtown Hilo today, there was a small amount of ice around the border of Lake Waiau.
Rex at the margin of Lake Waiau.
The color of the lake indicates that it is very productive.
Our trip into the lake was challenging, as some of us fought altitude sickness. But we were greeted with a lake margin, and open waters, chock full of algae. Given the dry nature of this “wet” season (across the island near Kona there are large fires still ablaze), this might have represented the most water we have seen in any one site.
Jeff, Rex and Pat enjoying a view of the world from 13,000 feet.
Above the clouds on Mauna Kea!
Tomorrow we will look at springs, falls and streams around Hilo, and then prepare for our trip back to Honolulu and then off to our institutions.