Last week, my wife Lesley and I spent five days grinding out a 45 mile roundtrip hike up and down Mauna Loa. This was the first time for both of us up the trail, and it was definitely tougher than we thought it would be. Highlights included staying at wonderful cabins for each of the four nights and meeting interesting characters also climbing the mountain, although we didn't see anybody for the first three days. Lowlights included always feeling like you had a headache coming on and occassional puking. Physical suffering aside, it was wonderful to be on a big mountain alone, and really fun to hike through snow. It's wierd to work so hard, however, to get up a moutain, only to discover a gigantic crater at the top. We recommend this trip as a great, cheap getaway in the islands. You really don't feel like you are in Hawaii still when you are up there. Click on pics to enlarge.