The Big Island of Hawaii (June 27, 2012)

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Our flight was Dallas to Honolulu and then Honolulu to Hilo, Hawaii. Even though our flight was about eight hours long, baggage isn't free to check and they don't provide food. The view was pretty good from the plane though.

AirBnB is a tricky thing. Naturally, since anyone can put their lodging up on the site, you could end up with real duds. I'm picky when I'm searching. I look for reviews. I look for people who've put some time and effort into the description of their property. I check for additional fees (cleaning or deposit). I look for several good photographs that don't look Photoshopped, and I look at the list of amenities so I really understand what I'm getting (free wifi, parking, washer/dryer, kitchen, air or heating, etc). I've always enjoyed my AirBnB stays, but the Hawaiian Jungle Hideout that we stayed in while on the Hilo side of the Big Island of Hawaii is the best find ever - hotel, B&B, or other. The owner of this property spent an hour on the phone with me two days before our arrival asking about the types of activities that we enjoy. She made suggestions and got reactions. Then, she sent me a very detailed suggested three day itinerary. Many thanks to Liz!

Liz also left us as a welcome gift of chocolate covered macadamia nuts and wine. (She didn't know we don't drink. I thought the gesture was beyond generous.)

Our first stop on our first day was a suggestion of Liz's. We headed to Hilo and stopped at Puff City for lilikoi cream puff (lilikoi is passion fruit) and a chocolate ricotta tart (heavenly). Turns out that I'm not a fan of lilikoi or guava but I could eat my weight in chocolate ricotta tarts.

Within walking distance of Puff City was a local Farmers Market where we got some spam musubi (Kris) and chicken teriyaki musubi (Kristy). Kris also got some coconut water.

We decided to eat our food on Honolii beach. Then continued on the Onomea scenic drive.

We landed at the Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden, a very pretty botanical garden with a lot of downhill/uphill walking. They asked how we found out about them whenever we were buying tickets. I got a couple of chuckles when I responded, "Um...we drove by."

I like to photo bomb the floral photos.

Our next stop was Akaka Falls State Park featuring two different waterfalls - Akaka Falls (442 feet) & Kahuna Falls (100 feet). It cracked me up to see this old dude wearing cut off shorts having people take photos of him with his tiny flip phone!

We stopped for Macadamia Nut ice cream in the little town closest to Akaka Falls called Honomu. Kris found a store selling recycled bottles.

I was taken by the old theatre.

Next up was Volcano National Park, a big draw in the Big Island. There is a $10 admittance fee per vehicle, but the pass is good for 7 days. It was unfortunately (or fortunately) hazy and misty while we were in the park.

When we stopped at the Kilauea overlook, it was definitely hard to see. There was an eerie overhang of clouds looming, so we were unable to really get a view of the trail we were about to do.

Kris and I (and Skitler) soldiered on though and conquered the Kilauea Iki trail - a four mile loop that took us over 2 hours to complete.

The Kilauea Iki Crater trail is a walk across a once molten lake of lava. If you look closely you can see some people at the bottom wearing ponchos. We'll be down there eventually.

The stops along the trail reveal a story of the eruption of 1959, which seems to have been pretty dramatic. We walked through a bit of rain forest running into some poultry along the way, along the rim of the Kilauea Iki Crater, and down to the still steaming crater floor. It's crazy that it's still steaming so many decades later.

The elevation was only 3874 feet above sea level, but you descend and ascend 400 feet with steps and switchbacks. This is equivalent to climbing down and then up a 40 story building...and we did it in the rain with a bunch of slippery mud!

While at the bottom of the trail on the cooled lava bed, the rain ceased for a while to really let us enjoy what we were seeing.

We were sheltered by the rainforest from a bit of the rain that came falling down on our ascent. We were soaked by the time we got back to the car.

After getting back to the Chain of Craters road, it took a lot for us to get out of the car at the Jaggar museum overlook.

We toughed it out before heading back to the Jungle Hideout.

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1 Response
  1. Anonymous Says:

    So many pretty flowers. I liked the McCoy daisy the best :)