Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Pictures from my Vaycay to Hawaii!

I live in Hawaii. And I went on a trip to...Hawaii? Yup. Say whaa--? Well actually I just hopped over a couple of islands. And yes, this counts as a vacation in my book because even though I'm still in the same state, I get to be surrounded by things I don't see everyday. That and a plane ticket costs about half as much as going to the West coast so it darn well better be considered a trip.

So where did I go? Technically, the destination island shares names with the state, Hawaii, but since that can get confusing for simpletons like me most people call it the Big Island. Because it's big. (Well, small in comparison to almost every other state, but the biggest of all the Hawaiian islands. So, Big Island.) My parents go there every several years and thought it'd be fun to ask C and me to tag along. And fun it was!

So what is there to see on the Big Island?

Just a hop, skip, and jump away

Kilauea Volcano
As you probably already know, Hawaii is home to a couple of national parks, one of them being Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Volcanoes are dangerous. So what's more fun than staying at a place on the rim of an active volcano??! It's actually not as scary as it sounds. Only parts of Kilauea Volcano (the park's main attraction) are showing lava. Especially the part just over the crater rim where I was staying! More on that in a bit.

We stayed at Kilauea Military Camp, a large area full of cabins available to anyone affiliated with the military. The property is situated less than a hundred yards from the caldera containing the active crater. How exciting!

View of Kilauea Caldera from the trail next to our cabin. The active Halemaumau Crater is in the center of the photo.

On the morning that I took the above picture we heard a rock slide nearby. Later on at Jagger Museum of volcanology I saw that it was recorded by one of the park's seismographs. Oh, happy geek moment!

Real-time seismograph of Halemaumau Crater showing the rock slide I heard while out on the trail

Outside Jagger Museum is the Kilauea Caldera overlook with a great view of Halemaumau Crater, currently the most active part of the volcano eruption which started back in 1983. It was erupting at a different spot then, but the lava's been continuously flowing ever since. When I last visited Halemaumau Crater in 2008 (before it started erupting), I jumped up and down on the crater rim trail. The following week lava started spewing out. I told C I caused the eruption...

Haleamaumau Crater, day and evening

We followed the old lava flows from mountain all the way to where it emptied into the ocean. Eventually, after many years a sea arch formed as a result of water erosion.

Within walking distance from the sea arch was a portion of road that was blocked by a lava flow in the 1980s. Because of this blockage, what once used to be less than a 10-mile drive to the neighboring town is now a 60+ mile drive around a nature reserve.

A lava flow from Pu'u O'o vent blocked a large portion of Chain of Craters Road

Hawaii's state bird, the nene, chilling on some lava rock
Since Halemaumau Crater was so gorgeous when we had seen it at dusk I wondered how it'd look when it's pitch black out. We went back late at night. Of course we were the only ones crazy enough to drive through the heavy fog to get to the lookout, but I'm glad we did. It was an eerie kind of beautiful. It was so quiet I swear I could hear the faint gurgling of lava in the distance.

Halemaumau Crater just before midnight. No spewing lava, but look at how the lava lake lights up the night sky!

Oh my gosh, Big Island has got to be my favorite place in Hawaii to see waterfalls. There are lots of rainforests and cliffs, so naturally there are a lot of waterfalls.

Rainbow Falls in Hilo, HI. During heavy flows you can actually see a rainbow forming at the bottom.

Akaka Falls in Honomu, HI. This is a 422 ft waterfall into Kolekole stream which leads to the ocean nearby.

Onomea Falls at Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden in Papa'ikou, HI

C got thirsty

We also visited Panaewa Zoo in Hilo. It was the first time I ever saw an anteater in real life. And the first time I actually saw a peacock show off his goods rather than just screeching.

I'm a hottie and I'm available, ladies.

Ever watched Karate Kid III? Did you fall in love with the bonsai trees like I did? C and I love how they look, though I'm not sure if we could ever have that much patience. We visited Fuku Bonsai in Kurtistown and were in awe of all the tremendous work that went into planting the thousands of bonsai on the property. We even bought a couple for ourselves. Here are just a few of owner David Fukumoto's works of art.

Twenty-year old umbrella tree

A 25-year old bonsai setup. This one was my favorite.

Trees with character

So those are some of the places we visited. It was a busy vacation, but in a good way. I'm glad we finally got to go travelling someplace where we didn't have to worry about preparing for a race or attending a business conference. But I did miss my doggies. Coming home to two wagging butts and knowing I was missed makes me feel all warm and tingly inside. *sigh* Dogs.


  1. Your favorite tree is also mine, that takes my breath away. Amazing!

    1. I think he said the final product is supposed to have water running through those two gaps in the rocks to look like fjords. So lovely!!