Hawaii, week 2

We kicked off our second week on the big island of Hawaii with a trip to Waipi’o Valley on Tuesday. (This was the day I learned to recalibrate my perception of the weather. While it rains a lot here, we’ve not had any true “rainy days” — only rainy hours.)

I was initially disappointed with the cloud cover that completely obscured what was supposed to be a magnificent view:

…but once we descended below the clouds, the view improved:

Did you notice the “25% grade” road sign in the first photo? It was over a half mile of this to get down to the beach (and pure torture coming back up):

Along the way, the girls met a friendly wild colt (this was one of a few horses milling around in the middle of the road):

The road eventually turned into a trail that led to beachfront with lots of trees — providing a bit of a wind break for our lunch stop:

This was supposed to be a fairly substantial hike (~6.5 miles), but it was cut short by an impasse where the river let out into the ocean. The water turned out to be too deep and the current too strong. (Amy got knocked down by a wave!)

We didn’t give up easily — we spent about 15 minutes trying to find another way across, which was enough time for the clouds to disperse:

On the way back up the hill, we found a wrecked truck. Someone had a very bad day on a 25% grade road:

We see unique, handmade “drive slow” signs like this everywhere, which tells what the local Hawaiians think about typical tourist driving patterns. (Note the waterfall in the background.)

On Wednesday we went to Pu’uhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park, a preserve illustrating Hawaiian traditions between 1550-1819. Pu’uhonua means “place of refuge” where native hooligans could go for asylum if they could outrun the vigilantes:

It seems like there are lava patches everywhere on this island, and it boggles my mind to stand on rock that was once oozing lava:

This doesn’t look like much, but it’s called Two Step (because it’s kinda like two big stair steps that lead into the water). This is where we snorkeled on Tuesday afternoon. It was awesome. Like, National-Geographic-exotic-fish-and-coral awesome. I have no other pictures because I was busy snorkeling.

Since Kona is on the West side of the Big Island, it was easy to take in the obligatory sunset:

As I mentioned above, the lava fields on this island are fascinating, especially seeing the different ages. There’s fresh-from-earth’s-bowels all the way to nearly-reclaimed-by-nature, and it makes it quite easy to imagine how this entire island came to be.

On Thursday, we wanted to do another beach day. But a beach that any sucker can simply drive to would not do, so we chose the Makalawena Beach at the end of a mile-long trek through a lava field wasteland:

This poor goat-shaped person should have opted for the closer beach:

It was blazing hot, but before long, appearing over the sandy hills at the end of the trail…

…was our big payoff. This was the idyllic, postcard Hawaii beach that I was hoping we’d see at some point:

Amy and the girls enjoyed relaxing on the sand. I took a nap under a tree.

On Friday, it was time to move on from the big island of Hawaii:

After a short layover in Maui, we landed on the island of Kauai:

This is our home for the week, another timeshare condo courtesy of my mother — who flew in from Indy to join us for our week in Kuaui!

Without thinking, I agreed to a “free” breakfast at the resort’s clubhouse on Saturday morning. But the “cost” was having to sit through an insufferable presentation on how to cram your week full of exhausting activities while bleeding money into the local economy. (They may have used different words.)

A nice view from a scenic overlook while driving around on Saturday morning:

You guessed it — farmer’s market:

Just like with farmer’s markets, Amy loves her fresh seafood. We picked up some ono, “sweet, very good to eat” fish for grilling later that evening:

We made a final stop for the day at the Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge. It was a good spot to watch some of the local seabirds, as many different kinds call this site home:

It was a source of both lovely ocean scenery…

…and junior high caliber jokes:

The free Mai Tai’s (and to a lesser extent, the live music and hula dancer) at the resort that evening made up for the activities presentation earlier that morning. All was forgiven.

We originally planned to do an epic 8-mile hike on Sunday, but the morning got away from us. We moved on to plan B — SUP (Stand Up Paddle) boarding:

SUP boarding is just what it sounds like: you stand (or sit, or kneel) on a surfboard-ish thing and paddle through the water. Amy and I had done this before, but it was new for the girls. They took to it instantly, and we paddled nearly 4 miles over 2 hours. (Side note about the weather: it cycled through sunny, cloudy and rain about a half dozen times over those two hours. I guess this is just how the weather rolls ’round here.)

I’ve enjoyed seeing these red-crested Brazilian cardinals flying around (and this one enjoyed the bread crumbs from my lunch):

Tomorrow should be pretty fun: we’re starting the week with a morning helicopter ride over Kauai. I’m hoping it won’t be a rainy hour.

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