Big Island Traverse/2Seas2Summits Report


An Account Of A Double Summit Of Mauna Loa And Mauna Kea, on a Trek From the Holei Sea Arch, Volcanoes National Park, to Pu'ukohola Heiau, Kawaihae in May of 2010: 160 Miles, 94+ Hours

M.N. Muench


Who Says Misery Loves Company?

The night clouds slipped slowly around us as we trudged the last four miles down the Mauna Loa Observatory Road. The dampness went almost unnoticed as we pushed those last hard miles; it seemed nothing more to us than a wispy fog or low lying cloud—a cool relief after almost two days of high dry windiness on the Mauna Loa summit trails. It wasn’t until we reached the kipuka near the Saddle Road that a heavy mist rolled in over us, soaking everything, and leaving us wet and chilled. Instead of finding a dry place to rest we toted the heavy stash boxes fifty yards off the road, and then struggled through the darkness and heavy mist laden winds in search of a place to bivwack on the high rocky ground of the old volcanic cone.

What had been a hard hike down the mountain suddenly became a nasty, cold, and somewhat paranoid ordeal. The exhausting eighteen hour trek from Red Hill to the top of Mauna Loa, down the Observatory Trail and then the road, had taken its toll and I was spooked by the occasional cars that crept by the kipuka—turning out my lights and squatting in the darkness, and chilled by the misty winds.  When I finally looked into the stash, I was disgusted by the lack of appetizing food, and then irritated that Brian seemed to be insisting on finding a bivwack far up the hillside; making it an additional effort to get things ready for what was looking to be an uncomfortable night. A difficult time was threatening to become retched.
Aloha,  Mikem