Mom and I planned to hike Napau Trail and camp at the Napau Crater campsite for a couple of nights. I've never been on this trail, and Mom hasn't been in years. It's a cool one because it's as close as you can get to the active Puʻu ʻŌʻō vent short of working for USGS/HVO/the Park's fire team, or spending money on a helicopter tour. Buuuuuuut it turns out it's not open for camping, just day hikes, due to the recent unpredictable volcanic activity.
So we're thinking we're maybe going to do the other active volcano, up Mauna Loa Observatory trail and staying Saturday and Sunday night at the Mauna Loa summit cabin. This is another one we've been meaning to do for years. Trail starts at 11,146 feet; it's a 6-mile hike climbing up to the summit at 13,680 feet. I've done this trail as a day hike up to North Pit (a large crater partially fused with Mokuʻāweoweo, the summit caldera) and back down again; this trail is... phenomenal. Like being on another planet. Bare lava (in fantastic colors, we found cobalt blue cinder) and empty sky and you, and nothing else, the whole island (and Maui) below your feet.
I haven't been to the cabin or the summit proper, or slept at the summit. Or gone up with full pack, oh god. For those of you who've never hiked at this elevation (I'm going to guess: none of you), um, it's hard. The air's pretty damn thin up there, and even with a day pack you have to take it slow and easy on the way up.
And the location's pretty intimidating. This is me really really hoping for no blizzards or whiteouts. Or volcanic eruptions. (I am seriously considering bringing an offering for Pele, but I'm conflicted with the desire to not litter in a National Park... especially at that elevation, where shit won't break down.) I imagine evacuations are pretty difficult up there. (Do helicopters even fly that high...?) ...But the summit weather report claims clear weather for the next five days, and if the magma chamber is inflating it's doing so so slowly it's immeasurable. So I think we'll probably be fine. And, again, never spent more than a few hours at a time at that elevation, never stayed overnight, but I've never had anything in the way of Acute Mountain Sickness, much less anything ridiculous like High Altitude Pulmonary Edema or High Altitude Cerebral Edema.
Yeah. I think we'll be okay.
I AM EXCITE.