March 2014 Web Mailbag
In September 2013, Jason Lemcke, a Marine Veteran who served with Kilo Company 3rd Battalion 7th Marines, traveled to Hawaii with his wife, to visit family and with a goal to hike to the peak of Mauna Kea. While there, he visited the Pearl Harbor Memorials, and then moved over to the Big Island, where Mauna Kea, a National Natural Landmark, waited.
Mauna Kea’s peak is at 13, 796 ft, and it is an ideal site for astronomical observation and home to 13 international observatories and telescopes. The hike began at the Visitor Information Center at 9,200 ft, where hikers are advised to acclimate to the elevation change, prior to ascending further. The trail to the peak varies in grade from 13-24 percent, and is largely loose cinder, similar to walking in sand. After hiking for 6.5 hours, and with only 3 hours of daylight remaining, the decision was made to turn back, for safety reasons. A photo of Jason, with the latest Armchair General, was taken, at roughly 13,000 feet, before heading back down.
The hike up above the clouds was a sight worth every step, and the skies have never been more blue. No wonder Mauna Kea is scared to the Hawaiians and such an ideal site for astronomers. Jason also visited Volcanos National Park and Camp Tarawa at Parker Ranch, which served as a staging and training area for the 2nd and 5th Marine Divisions, prior to their participation in the campaigns of Saipan and Iwo Jima. Hawaii was a wonderful journey through the history of Earth’s geology and a journey through Hawaii’s role in our Military’s History.