I just returned from three days at diamond head. It was an adventure in support of a research project being done by Miki. She is investigating the effects of crowding on visitor experience in parks and is using this area as her focus. If you have ever spent time at red heather or elfin lakes shelter, I know she would love to love to get your input. Let me know and I will connect you.
The trip started pleasantly enough with packs on our backs as we ascend the well trodden trail from the parking lot to the red heather hut and beyond to the the elfin lakes shelter.
We took breaks as needed.
And it started to snow.
The 450 m up and 5 km long trek to red heather took about 2 hours. Then it started to snow even more. So we had to start breaking trail. The trip from red heather to elfin, about 250 m up and about 6 km long, took about 2.5 hours. The snow storm made it tough to see very far. So did dusk.
We eventually reached the cabin.
Prevailing winds were out of the right.
The snowfall stopped in the night. A midnight pee yielded the most spectacular view of the trip for me. The nearly full moon was lighting up all the surrounding mountains. I could see stars and the moon clearly. I took a mind photo. In the morning the view was still pretty good.
Miki and I strapped our skis back on and did a bit of exploring. The snow was super wet and heavy and the diffuse light made it very difficult to see terrain features.
As potential respondents arrived at the cabin we changed to research mode and Miki put her head into the surveys.
It snowed all afternoon and night. For the journey out we were breaking trail again. This time the snow was really heavy and very deep. Official reports from the surrounding area at similar altitudes are saying it was up to 175 cm of freshies.
Our descent from the elfin cabin back to the red heather hut took 4.5 hours. It was an exhausting slog. But we prevailed.
At red heather we once again hit a trodden track and we were actually able to ski. The 5 km zip down to the car took under 30 minutes. It was easy to find our parking spot. Not so easy to find the car.