We started out our trip on the Big Island. We stayed at Hale Kai Hawaii Bed and Breakfast, which I would totally recommend. Our hosts were gracious, the room was comfortable, and the breakfast was delicious. Plus, we saw spinning dolphins while we ate.
I didn't get a video, but if you go to the 1 minute mark, that is totally what they were doing.
We woke up at about 3 AM in part because of the time change and in part because of the Coqui frogs that make a whistling sound which sounds remarkably like the Old Spice jingle when you are half asleep. We laid around until about 5, at which time we decided to do some exploring. We drove down this scenic by-way and my eyes were burning from all the green. I kept saying, "imagine! a place where things just grow! all by themselves!"
We hiked down to this little cove which had black slickery rocks instead of sand. It was really beautiful and romantic... watching the sunrise on a beautiful deserted beach, until it started pouring rain. We did not bring an umbrella because I'm not sure we even own one and also, in Arizona, we don't mess around with umbrellas. We get the whole storm over with in 15 minutes. None of this misting business or raining on and off for an entire day. So, even if you didn't want to wait until it blows itself out and you did go out with an umbrella, it would be ripped from your hands and/or comically blow inside out. The point is that we were soaked.
After we hiked out of the cove, we drove out to Akaka Falls, a National Park which doesn't "open" until 9. Being an obsessive rule follower, I debated long and hard about jumping the fence to get in. Being that it was only 7, I finally decided that it wasn't likely that we'd get caught and yelled at.
And then it rained on us some more.
We stopped at a little bakery and got some pastries made out of Hawaiian bread. Mmmmm.
After we dried out a little, we headed down to Volcano National Park, where we learned all about Madame Pele and her fickle ways. This is a caldera, formed when a volcano collapses in on itself. Madame Pele was not feeling very angry, so she was just steaming a little.
We hiked through a lava tube, which was pretty cool. Our hosts told us that you can easily jump the fence at the end and continue exploring (with the help of a flashlight) so we borrowed one... but it was out of batteries.
The active lava was a 6 mile hike across these lava flows. It would have been cool, but it also would have taken forever.
Right after this, we went to the village of Volcano to eat some lunch. We found a restaurant called Thai Thai and oh. my. It was so delicious... even the waitress was visibly surprised at how greedily we stuffed our faces. Turns out, fresh pineapple is really, really yummy.
Once we got back to Hilo and cleaned up a little bit, we tried walking around in the downtown area. Turns out, Hilo is not much for the nightlife. All the shops were closed, the few restaurants that were open were kind of slim pickin's and it was only around 7 or 8 on a Friday. Oh well.
I was kind of amazed at how much vacation you can pack in when you don't have to pause for naps or potty breaks or hiking at 1 mile per hour because the kids don't want to get in the backpacks. Thanks again, Mom for watching the kids!