Saturday, March 21, 2015

Visiting Pu‘u Huluhulu

Back at the beginning of the month I took a trip up Saddle Road to Pu‘u Huluhulu in order to pick up some cinder for use in my comet-making presentation. Pu‘u Huluhulu is a cinder cone at the base of Mauna Kea, on the Saddle region between it and Mauna Loa (its name means, roughly, “hairy cinder cone” due to the trees growing on it, which contrast with the barren lava fields all around). Here's a shot of me at what I've read used to be a cinder quarry on the west side of the pu‘u.

 The day was really overcast and intermittently rainy, so there was a lot of moisture condensed on the foliage. (The white patch behind my head in the picture is actually a bunch of tiny hailstones, which must have happened pretty shortly before I got there.)

Many of the trees that cover Pu‘u Huluhulu (and give it its name) have this really neat looking lichen growing on them. I got some interesting pictures of it with a low depth-of-field:

At the top of the cinder cone is a flat patch, from where you can look out across the Saddle region. This picture looks towards Mauna Kea – if you enlarge it you can see the Mauna Kea access road winding its way up near the center. Fifteen minutes after that picture was taken the clouds descended to completely block that view.

Pu‘u Huluhulu isn't a very large cinder cone, and after half an hour I'd traipsed over most of it and gotten enough pictures to satisfy the artistic urge (most of them weren't really interesting enough to show). It's a pleasant little hike if you ever get the chance – despite being nearly a mile in elevation, it's short enough to keep you from getting too winded while hiking it. A hui hou!

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