Tales From The Top…Of The World

Ok…maybe not the world.  But it sure feels like it when standing on the top of Mauna Kea, the largest mountain in the world (top to bottom) and rising 13,800 ft above the ocean below.  I could write for a long time about how I’ve been dreaming for 7 years of skiing this unique place and that finally getting to stand and witness snow in Hawai’i was all too brief but this photograph is more about how freaking cold I was!
Knowing to prepare for altitude is not problem.  I ski bummed for 3 years in Utah.  For this trip I brought many layers…which did the trick…except for the gloves which remained in my bag in the hotel the day of our 6 Day Big Island Workshop‘s trip up to the summit. Not the brightest of ideas. I will say that by the time we left that night temperatures were around 30F with gusts over 40mph (windchill estimates around 13F).  Trying to work with a metal tripod, camera buttons and facing in to the wind certainly made for challenging conditions.  Which means that I’m was quite excited when I saw the results of this exposure pop up on the back of the LCD screen.  The pillar of light you see is called the Zodiacal Light.  A phenomenon I saw for the first time in Death Valley last year. The quarter moon did the job of illuminating the rest of the scene.
An awesome experience for the Workshop and me as well.  Can’t wait until we go back 🙂
Much thanks!

Zodiacal light over Mauna Kea and observatories.
“Phone Home” – Zodiacal light over Mauna Kea and observatories.