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What Do You Do on a Bike Friday

Reaching 13,000 feet.

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The Gemini Observatory.

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Some of the Mauna Kea observatories.

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Mauna Kea summit mark: 13.796ft elevation above sea level.

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Mauna Kea summit.

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Mauna Kea summit by Pocket Llama

After my last visit to Hawaii in 2007, when I cycled round Big Island with my Pocket Llama, I started to dream of cycling to Mauna Kea summit with my Pocket Llama.

Being in Hawaii again this December, I planned to give it a try this time. On Dec. 9, 2011 the weather forecast for the summit was good, so I started at the Mauna Kea visitor center, at 9,200-foot level, at 7:45 a.m. in the morning.

The first part of the road after leaving the visitor center is a wide dirt road, which was in a relatively good state. Thanks to a hint by one of the rangers, I mostly cycled this part on the left side of the dirt road, since the right part mostly was much bumpier.

After five miles I was happy to reach the second, paved part of the access road. At about the 13,000 ft level, I definitely started to feel the altitude, and had to push my Llama in some of the steeper parts, which on the first part I only had to do, when the dirt road became too loose and I lost traction in the steeper grades.

I finally reached Mauna Kea summit, i.e. the end of the road between the University of Hawaii and the Gemini telescopes, at around 12:15 p.m., with the summit vis-a-vis at 13,796 ft level -- a mere 5-minute hike away.

Did it!