The main event of Day 3 was to drive to the summit of Mauna Kea and see the sunset. It was truly beautiful and stunning!
After a brief rest and putting on jeans and jacket at the parking lot of Pu’u Huluhulu, we drove up the Mauna Kea access road to the visitor center. It is recommended that people stay and rest at the visitor center before continuing up the mountain. It is a good opportunity to have some food and watch their educational video about the observatories at the summit. From the video, I learned that it is almost always clear at the 14,000 feet summit, and thus it is an ideal location for telescopes. The sky wasn’t clear at the visitor center, and the staff said it isn’t common to have cloudy sky. We probably couldn’t see many stars when we were back to the center at night. How unlucky!
At around 17:30, we continued our climb up to the summit with our 4WD (four-wheeled drive). I felt this drive was super long, and it seemed that the 11-mile gravel road would never end. We arrived at about 18:20 as I drove super slow uphill. The weather up here was vastly different with the non-stop strong chilly wind. At this moment the sky hasn’t cleared up and we can see the clouds quickly moved by.
10 minutes later at 18:35, the sky was finally cleared, and we got the fabulous sunset scene.
It was also very beautiful at the opposite side of the sun.
It was an amazing experience and is one of the three most memorable destinations on Big Island! Everyone who visits Big Island should come up and see if possible!