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| p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Big Island for 25 hours astrophotography advise |
I hope that I'm not too late...I envy you!
I was there this past June. It was amazing going up Mauna Kea and seeing all the stars given that I am downtown Toronto and barely see anything in the sky with all the light pollution.
1. When travelling up Mauna Kea - there is a section in between the visitors center and the summit that is unpaved, this is important because all rental car agreements (except for one) that I know of specifically prohibit driving on unpaved roads. Sure you can take a rental car there but if anything happens, you wont be covered by any purchased insurance or your credit card insurance as you would be violating the rental agreement
2. It is a steep climb up the mountain - a normal 2WD car will probably be able to make it up but not on the way down constant use of the brakes will cause them to fail. You will definitely need a 4WD.
3. All this leads to one point - Harper Car & Truck Rental is the only company that has filled that market gap to my knowledge. They will gladly rent you a 4WD for the day for your trip to Mauna Kea for $$. Keep in mind, they are very through. They'll have a thorough examination of the vehicle and take photos of the vehicle including under neath (be careful with it)! They will also teach you how to engage the 4WD for your trip up and down Mauna Kea.
4. Mauna Kea is 13.8K feet above sea level meaning:
a) The air is thinner with lower levels of oxygen (about 40%). Don't risk it if you have breathing problems, pregnant, have heart problems or going suba diving up to a few days after! Arrive a bit early to the to give yourself about an hour an half to acclimatize at the visitors center - use the washroom and get some food. Don't over exert yourself - if you feel faint and/or short of breath , have blurred vision come down the mountain asap
b) Engage the 4WD and use a low gear when leaving the visitors center and take your time going up and coming down
c) It gets cold fast! Depending on how you stay there - dress very warmly (like you would in winter) don't forget the gloves
I gotta run for now but if you have any questions just PM me!
The road up Mauna Kea by Mikey O., on Flickr
View Mauna Kea visitors center by Mikey O., on Flickr
Mauna Kea by Mikey O., on Flickr
Mauna Kea - Hawaii by Mikey O., on Flickr