Saturday, July 31, 2010


We watch the sunrise from bed,very dreamy.  This little peaceful park is where we had morning devotions.  We packed our bags and headed to Shark's Coffee for a light breakfast.  We walked around the town in Hilo and the Farmer's Market was our first stop.  We ate an apple banana which is about half the size of our banana's but sweeter.  Leui bought a pretty necklace with a jade cross on it for me that one of the local's made.  Then we went to the Sweet Shop for some chocolate covered pretzels and rock candy.  This store looked like something out of a movie, it was sooo sweet...

Heading south,  Mehana beer factory was having a beer tasting, so we stopped and had a little taste.  Their Volcano Red is my favorite.  It is 'ono', meaning good in Hawaiian.
Can't leave the island without going to the Mauna Loa Macadamia nut factory.  We toured the plant and tasted lots of varieties of nuts, my favorite was the onion and garlic, but it has MSG so we went with a bag of the sea salted nuts.  They harvest 8 million pounds of nuts a year.

In the town of Pahoa we ate lunch at a restaurant called Kaleo.  Blackened Wahoo wrap with mango and avocado along with a tempura ahi sushi was delicious.

We meandered through the little town and stopped in a boutique and purchased a pretty little sundress, I need to go to a garden  party soon!
The sand is green at the southern tip of the island called South Point.  Stopping for gas the locals shared that rental cars were getting broken into when people got out the walk the 2 miles to the green sand.  We opted to not see the green sand.  The drive around the coast was beautiful.  We made our way back to Kona and ate dinner and walked around the beach shops till our flight was ready.  This is a dreamy, dreamy place.  We feel so blessed to have spent a week together here.                                                                                      

The flight home was long.  We left Hawai'i at 10:45p.m. and landed at 4:20 p.m.  When we got home a sweet balloon was welcoming us home.

But what we have been most baffled about is this mysterious gnome that made its way into our garden.  No one seems to know where he came from...


Friday, July 30, 2010

Lava & Rain Forests

After a fun breakfast a local place called Bear's Cafe we went to the National Volcano Park.  We viewed the volcanic gases billowing from Halema'uma'u Crater.  The hole in which you see the smoke is about 2 miles wide.  This volcano was last active in 1974.

We hiked the 4 mile Kilauea Iki Trail.  It starts at the overlook.   We are about 4,000 feet elevation here.

The trail, of all things, starts in the rain forest.  Sounds of tree frogs, bees, and wind fills the air.

Here is a little peek from the trail down into the volcano.

It's hard to see but on the left side is our little prayer rock pile.  We prayed for the people of Hawai'i to know the truth and banish all superstitions.  Notice the little plants trying to grow in the volcano rock?

After we hiked down out of the rain forest we entered the volcano.  It is 2.4 miles of hot, hard, dry volcano.  You must wear a hat to cover your hear, long pants, and boots.  Hardened lava is like shards of glass.  

This wasn't my favorite place to be, it felt so desolate and harsh.  Steam vents with HOT steam would be pluming up throughout the walk.

In stark contrast, we went through some lava tubes that were dark, damp and cool.  The caves were huge, it was hard to imagine that lava poured its way through the earth and spewed itself free!

After the long hike we drove into the Volcano Village and had a fabulous lunch at a place called Kaiwe Kitchen.  They are known for their pizza and it was delicious.

This picture below is a natural ocean thermal pond at Ahalanui Park.  The water comes in from the ocean (see that opening in the back left) and filters into this pond area that is heated from the earth.  The water was at least 90 degrees.  I so wanted to get in (bacteria warning and all) but we did not put our swimsuits in the car that day.

We visited the Volcano Winery for a wine tasting.  YUCK!  Volcanic soil grows yummy fruits but this was not good at all!
We stopped at Cape Kumukiah Lighthouse which is the eastern most point in Hawai'i and is noted for having the freshest air in the United States.  The lighthouse was lame but the air and the view were heavenly.

Our next stop was Lava Tree State Park.  Here is a picture of the jungle fowl roaming about.  This park was absolutely enchanting.  The air is so cool and the grounds so lush, it felt like something out of Alice in Wonderland.  I was going to add without all the strange stuff, but there actually is some strange stuff here...

This park has petrified trees from the last volcano eruption and sink holes throughout.  Stay on the path!!!

This was once a tree.  It was felled by the lava and petrified.  Looks like a totem poll doesn't it?

Driving down the coast we saw the castle, moat and all and you just don't see that everyday now do ya?  Crossing the road was a huge black boar and 6 little babies trailing after her.

Tonight we went to Mauna Lau where the lava is actively flowing.  Orange lava intermittenly flows throughout the mountain and around the ocean.  This is an actual neighborhood with people LIVING there.  HELLO, does that register?

As the lava moves it consumes whatever is in its path.  Bushes and trees just ignited.

Just in case you wanted some real estate... I'll bet you can get one of the houses there cheap!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Mauna Kea 13,796 ft.

I took this with my little old camera, and did not a thing to enhance the color.  This is what the sunrise looks like, really and truly.
This was a sweet little place called Coconut Island.  You have to walk over a bridge to get there.
It was the oddest thing, there was a statue of my husband on an outlook off the island....

These were some of the little Banyan trees that lines the roads and parks.

Big, bright, beautiful Hibiscus.  How embarrassing had my shirt and phone not matched the center of the flower!  Pink is my signature color!

After an enormous breakfast's at Ken's we went to Rainbow Falls.  Can you see the rainbow across the water?  Again this is a trickle compared to the gushing flow that it usually is.

 Our next stop was the Wailuku River.  Did I mention my husband is a schedule Nazi?  Do you see the beautiful waterfall in the background.  I was really hoping to swim in a waterfall, but you just can't get to them.
Next stop was the World's Botanical Garden's & Waterfalls.  We walked through a rain forest and met up with a local ranger who pointed out all this cool info about the forest.  He tore off a piece of bark from a cinnamon tree and we chewed the fragrant stick.  We ate pineapple ginger right off the flower.  Everything was lush and colorful.

A gorgeous 3 tiered waterfall.

Fresh Bird of Paradise!!

My mighty man hangin loose.

The flowers and I love each other!

Notice the plant on the right is stately and straight, while the one on the left is all snaky and swirly.

This gnarly tree had lovely yellow blossoms and right in the crook of the tree a sweet iris type flower was growing.  Grow where your planted, right?
We stopped a few more scenic points and headed back to the hotel to gear up for our big night.

Mauna Kea is an inactive volcano.  It is one of the world's best sites for astronomers to view the sky.  It has the right conditions, temperature, and atmosphere.  It has a 13,677 foot elevation.  When you stand outside your house and look up at the clouds that is about 7,000 feet high.  We grabbed some Thai food and packed it in the car for dinner.  We began the 1 1/2 hour drive to the visitor center at 9,000 feet. 

 There are tour buses there that will take you to the top, complimentary parkas for a sweet $300!  You really should have 4 wheel drive going the last 7 miles to the summit.  Our little economy car didn't know what it was in for!  
This is the top of the summit.  Those big dome things are gazillion dollar telescopes that only the astronomers use to collect data and watch the big sky.  At the top of the summit your lungs are compressed and breathing is shallow.  The pressure in your eyes is heavy.

Did I mention it is rather chilly at that elevation.  When we left our hotel the temperature was in the 80's.

We remembered our dinner, it got a bit cool.  It didn't matter, we were too captivated by the sunset...

These were the colors we saw.  It felt like you could skate across the clouds beneath you.  We have never seen anything like it, EVER!

By 9:00 the volunteers ask you to begin your decent, it is a bit scary.  We drove back down to the observatory and looked through some high powered telescopes and saw Saturn, Mars, the moon, and 1/2 of Venus.  The astronomer gave a brief overview of the stars and constellations with his cool green 25mw lazer pointer.

Our ears were popping, our water bottles were compressed from the lack of oxygen.  It was a long drive down the mountain, but an amazing experience.


Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Shhh, hitch-hiking

We enjoyed our morning devotions sitting by the pool overlooking the ocean eating scrumptious food.  Snorkeling this morning with the sea creatures was how we launched into the day.
Tee Hee Hee, I look like I know what I am doing, do NOT let that fool you!  We swam around for about an hour or so.  Yes, that is me and the turtle hangin out.

Underwater camera's are a bit fuzzy.  Do you see that white spear looking thing, that is an eel.  I was trying to take its picture all the while drifting towards the dang think, ahh, hello, it's an eel girlfriend, MOVE!!  Aren't they like relatives of snakes??
  I really felt connected to the movie NEMO while snorkeling!

After we cleaned up and packed up we headed to the east side of the island Hilo.  We asked one of the locals where to have lunch as she quickly said Huli Sue's.  When we drove up the the shack I was not too sure about why we would go in there, but we did.  I had the very best fish taco that has EVER passed between my lips, it was so good.  They grilled the tortilla, marinated the tomatoes, grilled the Wahoo, and stuffed it with cabbage and asian sauce.  Never have I tasted anything like it!

Next we went to the Waipio Valley.  There are 3 huge cliffs, called the 3 Kings, that are competing for status.

There is a waterfall down in the valley and it was said to be about a 35 minute hike at a steep incline.  Well after yesterdays hike we thought, 'how bad can it be?'  Ha Ha Ha.  It was the kind of steep that only 4 wheel drive was allowed down the cliff.  It was the kind of steep where your toes get smashed into the front of your shoe, your body is leaning back into the road, and your knees are bearing the load of the downward hike, a bit slippery too.  This was going to be a long, arduous trail, until along came a pick-up truck.  Have you ever wondered why it is called a pick up truck :).  Since hitch-hiking is not enforced in Hawai'i, hubby stuck his thumb out and these 4 teens in the truck pulled over.  (Please don't tell my mother ANY of this :)  (or my kids, or anyone who would shake their heads right now).  We asked for a ride to the bottom and he said, "Sure dude, hop in the back, I like your hat!"  So we climbed in the back with instructions to not touch the surf-boards!  After a short, bumpy ride down the path we jumped out to head in the direction of the falls.  We walked around a bend in the road and as we turned the corner there is was.  It has not rained a lot recently so the flow was rather mild.
We stood there for approximately 3 minutes when along comes this rancher heading back up to the top.  He stopped and took our picture.
So we asked if we could have a ride back to the top of the 1 mile incline.  "Sure, hop in,' he said--love the locals.  So we jump in the back of his truck where his 2 dogs were also hanging loose, along with 3 horse saddles and a water tank.  Well this little dog leaped upon my lap and can I tell you he was the stinkiest dog I have ever known!
We were laughing hysterically over the 15 minute round trip from top to bottom to back up the top.  We were saved from the hike.  Oh, one last thing to note, they have phone booths in Hawai'i, 50 cents a call.

I am so enjoying reliving our week by scrapbooking the highlights.