Hawaiian geese and the Keck Observatory

Oct 11, 2006

Over at Flickr, the photographer konaboy posted a nice shot of the endangered nene (Hawaiian goose). That picture reminded me of a camping trip I took on the Big Island, where I was sent to interview Jerry Nelson, the astronomer behind the Keck Observatory atop Mauna Kea. (Read this sidebar to the story about Mauna Kea that I wrote for Island Scene magazine.)

After a night on the summit, I drove down to the beach—from 14,000 feet to sea level in just a few hours—and met a college buddy, Mike Taylor, who was stationed on Oahu in the Army. Mike and I camped at a state beach campsite that night, then headed to the Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park. We didn’t get to see the lava, so we headed to the Namakanipaio Campground and pitched the tent on the soft grass. I’m pretty sure we could see the glow of the Kilauea crater that night as we sat in the cold air and talked about John Carroll University and Army life and Hawaiian wonders.

The next morning, I awoke to a soft titter tatter. I poked my head out of the tent to see a handful of nene walking in the mists. How beautiful and perfect a Hawaiian memory.

Anton Zuiker

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