During a trip up to the summit of Mauna Kea for sunset Sommer, Robert and I stopped to hike out to Lake Waiau. Lake Waiau is a small lake at 13,020 feet, the seventh highest lake in the USA (higher than Lake Titicaca). It's less than a mile to the lake from the trailhead, but at 13,000 feet it feels like MILES! With 40% less oxygen at that elevation, every step is labored. We parked just below the Keck Observatory and made our way across the barren landscape.
Nestled in the crater of Pu`u Waiau, Lake Waiau isn't very big, just 100 meters across at its fullest. The lake is sacred to Native Hawaiians. The lakes elevation makes it closer to the heavens. The lake was also a portal to the afterlife (Hawaiians considered the lake to have no bottom). It is the piko of the island.
|Panorama from the east bank.
The banks of the lake were soft and made of a very fine silt.
I've wanted to make the trek to Lake Waiau for years and the hike did not disappoint. It was a great way to top off our trip to the Big Island!
Click here for a great read about Lake Waiau and instruction on how to get there.
Rest of the pictures here: