Day trip to Mauna Loa Volcano, rising high above the landscape on the North side of the Big Island, 13,798 feet above the beaches along the Kohala coast. Reported the tallest mountain in the world when measured from its base, towering 33,476 feet above the ocean floor. It presents a stark, dry landscape spreading for miles across the North side of the Big Island, last erupting 4,500 years ago.
It is hard to drive anywhere on the Big Island without passing through black lava fields laid down in the past by Mauna Kea and more recently by the still active recent Kilauea.
Mullein looking like some kind of muppet plant
We hiked to the top of one knoll for an expansive view across the lava fields to the distant beaches. The landscape is colored by the lava and dotted with cinder cones.
Road to the summit, not for the faint of heart
View back over the valley
A steep and rocky descent