Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas Eve Koko Crater Sunrise


Dragged myself up the Koko Crater railway for a beautiful sunrise this Christmas Eve! With the sun rising at 7:05 am I pushed off from the parking lot at the bottom of Koko Crater at 5:30 am. Last time I hiked up Koko Crater for a sunrise I was all alone on the mountain. Not so this morning. There were a couple brave people already making their way down the tracks while I was heading up...both without flashlights or any other means to light the steep steps below! When I reached the top of Kohelepelepe (Pu`u Mai) there was already a small crowd of early morning gathers waiting for the sunrise. There was also a couple guys smoking cigarettes and welcoming the day with a couple Bud Lights!

I set up shop and started filming the horizon and waited for the sun to rise over Molokai.




The horizon was cloudy, as usual, and a few minutes after the scheduled sunrise, rays of brilliance started piercing the gray.



The clouds made for a spectacular sunrise!



Another sunrise time-lapse:

Before heading down the tracks I checked out the oft overlooked massive bunker under Pu`u Mai. At the top of the tracks there is a small door and entry way down a long tunnel to a very large and tall two room bunker sitting under the summit.


It is pitch black in the bunker. If you don't have a flashlight DO NOT attempt to explore. The ground is covered in discarded planks of wood and corrugated metal. You will harm yourself if you attempt to enter the bunker without a source of light.

As I approached the entry to the bunker, some guy asked where I was going. I asked if he'd ever been inside the bunker. He hadn't. I told him lets go. he didn't have a flashlight so we used my headlamp to light the way.

I didn't take any pictures of inside the bunker, it was too dark, but this is what the entrance looks like from the access tunnel.



Inside the largest of the bunker rooms there is a ladder that climbs at least 40-50 feet up a narrowing shaft to this structure at the summit.


The ladder looks original and a fall from the higher levels of the ladder would most likely be fatal. After a few moments inside the bunker we made our way topside and I made my way down the tracks.

It seemed like the misty morning kept many hikers away. The tracks were a lot less crowded than usual for a Saturday morning.



Rest of the pictures here:

p.s. - Happy Birthday, Pohai!

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