– B I G I S L A N D O F H A W A I I –
Mauna Kea rises triumphantly from the depths of the Pacific Ocean to a height of 13,796 feet above the surrounding sea; it is by far the tallest volcano of the Hawaiian Islands and dominates its surroundings. The western slope sees little rain but the eastern flank receives 250 inches of precipitation a year, making it one of the rainiest locations to be found in the northern hemisphere. As a result the surrounding forest supports a vibrant, thriving ecosystem choked with dense vegetation and countless creeks and streams that are slowly cutting their way through ancient volcanic rock to an eventual confluence with the sea. The course and character of the majority of these creeks has remained unexplored and a mystery to this day due to the difficulty of travel, distance from roads and many other logistical challenges. However a quick glance at topographical maps and satellite photographs of the region clearly reveals a landscape riddled with deep gorges, remote waterfalls and massive pools that resemble an idyllic paradise usually found only in books and dreams.