A Travellerspoint blog

September 2010

Volcano National Park

magma.

semi-overcast 26 °C

We arrive at My Island B&B to spurge on a nights accommodations. It's the old cottage like home of Gordon Morse who is 84 years old. His daughter Kii helps by cooking wonderful baked goods for the breakfast and tending to the coming and going guests. Gordon give us a briefing on everything “volcano” related in the area and other hot spots to pass the time.

My Island Bed and Breakfast

My Island Bed and Breakfast

Out the door we go, on our way to an awesome hike through Kilauea Iki Crater. The hike starts and ends in lush rainforest, but the middle consists of crossing the entire length of the crater floor. The floor is covered with Pahoehoe (smooth) lava and is easy going and still hot to the touch. The lava floor is 360 ft thick, but the bottom 120 ft is still fluid. We pass a couple steam vents that are supposedly great for wiener roasting, if only I had a wiener.

Halema'uma'u Crater

Halema'uma'u Crater

Kilauea Iki Crater

Kilauea Iki Crater

Nate in Kilauea Iki Crater

Nate in Kilauea Iki Crater

ohi'a lehua in Kilauea Iki Crater

ohi'a lehua in Kilauea Iki Crater

Our next mission is the Chain of Craters Road. The road passes through past lava flows and cinder cones on its way to the newest flow (1983-present) that caused a permanent barricade in the road. Along the way we check out some tree molds, a very cool lava formation where a tree dies as a result of lava flow, leaving a hole in the lava after rotting away.

Tree Mold

Tree Mold

We also stop at the Pu'u Loa Petroglyphs, a series of pictures etched into a lava flow about 500-700 years ago. This area remains a very sacred place for Hawaiians. After reaching the end of the road and seeing the steam rising up from the current lava flow off in the distance we head back to the inn.

Minivan on Chain of Craters Rd.

Minivan on Chain of Craters Rd.

Old Lava Flows Toward Ocean

Old Lava Flows Toward Ocean

Petroglyphs

Petroglyphs

End of Chain of Craters Rd.

End of Chain of Craters Rd.

After darkness falls, we return to Halema'uma'u Crater to see the active craters deathly red glow at night. During the day, the smoke looks thick and colorless, but at night the mass of smoke over the 130 m wide crater is lit up to bright reds and oranges from the flowing lava below. The lava does not emerge here but flows through a lava tube which enters the ocean near Kalapana (foreshadowing).

Kilauea Caldera

Kilauea Caldera

Posted by ontarions 23:32 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Rainbow Falls

...wow.

sunny 28 °C

We get up, and a bird had shit all over our tent. Too many shitty encounters these last two days. After packing up Julie climbs on my back to pick some huge starfruit off the tree at Arnott's. We push on to Rainbow Falls. Waterfalls are starting to get annoying at this point, especially the ones with tour buses lined up out front. It's amazing how easily you take things for granted after repeated exposure, whether is be nature or your partner. We are learning our lesson. Anyways, we take a few pics, and head up stream to another waterfall that required a small hike to reach. It's super hot so we really want swim at the base of the waterfall. We pick the wrong trail, and it leads to the top. Even better, we find a series of pools with a series of smaller falls.

Julie Cooling Off

Julie Cooling Off


Nate Taking the Plunge

Nate Taking the Plunge

Waterfall

Waterfall

The water is cool and just what we were looking for. After contemplating a jump off the large main waterfall, Julie talks me down, and we roll out. We stop at Hawaii Volcano National Park to get details on what is closed off due to high levels of sulphur dioxide coming from the active Halema'uma'u Crater in Kilauea volcano. There are a couple road and campsite closures, but nothing major. We head to our campsite, Namakanipaio, for a quiet night of blogging, reading and relaxing.

Steam Vents

Steam Vents

Halema'uma'u Caldera

Halema'uma'u Caldera

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Waipio Valley to Hilo

sunny 29 °C

We are on the road to the north-eastern part of the Big Island to check out Waipio Valley. We park at entrance to the valley and the view is breathtaking but something smells. Dog poo...on Julie's shoe. Nice.

Entering Tsunami Zone with Poo Poo

Entering Tsunami Zone with Poo Poo


Waipio Valley

Waipio Valley

Waipio Valley

Waipio Valley

We start walking down the insanely steep road. At a 25% average grade, with steeper grades in sections, this paved public road is open only to 4 wheel drive vehicles. If classified as a road, it would be the steepest road of its length in the United States and possibly the world. So, we hang out our thumbs and quickly hitch a ride in the back of a pick-up with a local.

Mangled car at the bottom of cliff

Mangled car at the bottom of cliff

Several large waterfalls tumble into the valley to feed the river that we ford to reach the black sandy beach. Fording this river was a new experience as your body was tugged in opposite directions. The freshwater in the river tugged at your body towards the ocean, and the ocean waves pushed your body up the river.

Waipio Valley River

Waipio Valley River


Julie Crossing Stream

Julie Crossing Stream

We head straight across the valley floor just to ascend up the opposite side. The hike up long switchbacks is a sweaty one with the sun beating down on us. A decision is made based on advice from our hiking book to stop at the end of 4th switchback, as the view is spectacular.

Waipio Valley

Waipio Valley

Black Sand Beach in Waipio Valley

Black Sand Beach in Waipio Valley


Stone Recliners

Stone Recliners

After snapping some panoramics and breathing in the beauty, we head back down to the valley and across to the road. We have no luck hitching a ride with anyone, as vehicles heading up the road are reluctant to stop due to its steep gradient, so we slowly hike our way to the top.

After reaching the van, Nate savours a Kona beer before we head of to the Hilo market. The market is bustling with street musicians and all sorts of goodies to munch on. Hilo is very busy city, with a cruise ship docked in the bay. We haven't been exposed to city in weeks, luckily our accomodations, Arnnott's Lodge, is on the outside of town. We pitch our tent for super cheap and have a kitchen and wi-fi available for use. This is luxury camping!

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First Day to Explore the Big Island

Beaches & Volcanos

semi-overcast 25 °C

First stop on this wonderful day is Queen's Bath, a lava tube flooded with fresh spring water. You can snorkel a long way in either direction from the access point, a skylight with a ladder. It's super freaky and we don't have our head lamps or snorkeling gear, so we hang close together around the sky lit areas.

Nate in Queen's Bath

Nate in Queen's Bath

Next we make our way down the beach to Kiholo Bay in search of sea turtles grazing along the beach. The turtles are plentiful drifting back and forth with the waves in the shallow water just off the beach. Further down one is sun bathing peacefully on the beach.

Green Sea Turtle at Kiholo Bay

Green Sea Turtle at Kiholo Bay

We stock up at another local organic market and then head up to Mauna Kea volcano, the largest mountain (by volume) in the world. Our minivan isn't meant for steep off-road climbs and we'll have to park it at 9200 feet, where we tour the visitors centre and cook up some veggie burgers for dinner. If we are going to make it to 13 796 feet we'll have to hitch a ride. It doesn't take long before we spot Jonathan (body surfer in his 60's with a bald head and wicked silver beard tied in 2 knots) and Melanie (main lander masseuse learning about Hawaiian energies). Both are super inviting, and clear room in their backseat for us two hitchhikers. They inform us of the Autumnal Equinox today where the sun and moon are aligned. It's really trippy at the summit, we are in another world scattered with space observatories.

Mauna Kea Cinder Cones

Mauna Kea Cinder Cones

Melanie, Nate & Jonathan infront of telescopes

Melanie, Nate & Jonathan infront of telescopes

Mauna Kea is one of the best places in the world to observe the night sky. The way that the air currents flow up and over this hump in the middle of the ocean without turbulence creates very steady star images. Instead of flickering and flashing and twinkling, the stars from atop Mauna Kea are sharp and steady, forming crisp, clear images for astronomers. “Twinkle, twinkle little star” does not apply here. As the sun sets and the moon rises, it is astonishing to be able to see the sun and moon at the same time but on complete opposite sides of the planet. We chat with our new friends, and take in yet another beautiful day. We slowly head back down the steep washboard gravel road to the visitors centre, where we use telescopes to peep at the man on the moon and other astronomical features. Jupiter and its moons are one of the awesome spots visible this time of year.

Mauna Kea Telescopes

Mauna Kea Telescopes

Mauna Kea Sunset

Mauna Kea Sunset

The Hawaiians have many stories of gods and goddesses and it is this Hawaiian mana (spirit) that permeates the Hawaiian experience. It's like the Hawaiian spirit permeates through the natural wonders – each waterfall, each rainbow, each sunset, each moon, each sky overflowing with stars that we experience. So much beauty...

Back to Waikoloa where our comfy bed at Tony and Michelle’s was waiting. We share our days highlights with them before crawling in for the night. Thanks guys for another wonderful couch surfing experience.

Posted by ontarions 19:34 Archived in USA Comments (1)

Off to Conquer the Big Island

sunny 28 °C

On the way to the airport we meet up with Teressa to get an adaptor that I forgot at her place. She ended up giving Julie her book on Hawaiian Huna, with some inspiring words inside the front cover. See you again soon! Then off to the airport. We slip in and out of terminals without a hitch and suddenly we are driving through relatively new sprawling lava fields of the Big Island. This island car rental company first tries to suit us in sporty Mustang convertible since they are out of compacts. That would be some kind of karma, since we had be ragging on all the tourists with Mustangs throughout our travels. Our next option is the stylish Toyota Sienna, a grocery getting, soccer mom minivan. Julie goes with the minivan, because of its practical use, good mileage, and roomy interior. Now we know why the Dickerts like their minivan so much! This one has 6 cup holders within reach of the driver's seat. Beats the zero cup holders in the 1994 Geoprism we had on Maui. Again, the things we take for granted!

Off to Tony and Michelle’s house, our next couch surfing experience on our travels. They have a nice pad and welcome us into their home. We chat about our travels and their travels for hours. It is really great going over our itinerary with them to add the local favs, which aren't touristy and are just as beautiful, if not more!

Posted by ontarions 19:32 Archived in USA Comments (0)

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