Hawaii Day 6

Wednesday May 4th, 2016.

We got up at a lazy hour on Wed and started our day by getting dressed and heading over to Hilo. 

We went to a brewing company to try out some beer. Hana Nui Brewing and Mehana Brewing, same company but two lines of beer. It was pretty good beer and we picked up a few.

We had snacks in the Jeep before heading on our way to the next thing. We overheard a couple talking about an Orchid maze that was on the road to Volcano National Park, so we kept an eye out for it.  It wasn’t so much of a maze as a show room but it was pretty cool. They have some beautiful orchids! And some creepy ones. Some had blooms bigger than my hand! 

   
   
We continued our journey on to the only winery on the island, Volcano Winery. They had some interesting wines.  A couple we felt worthy of sharing. 🙂

Then on again to Volcano National Park. We arrived at the visitor center to get my stamps and then took a walk in the rain. The weather difference between Kona and Hilo is amazing. Kona is warm, humid and mostly sunny. Hilo is cloudy, cooler and rainy. The national park was no different. With our sunburns we were ok with coats and cooler weather. 

The national park is at 4000 feet and we walked along some sulphur vents and steam vents on the crater rim of Kilauea volcano. It reminded me very much of Yellowstone National Park. Rotten egg smell and yellow stained rocks. 

   
 The steam vents were just holes in the ground with, yup, steam coming out. No poisonous gases. 

   
 
The hike back to the visitor center had some small informational signs about various plants of which I took no pictures. I did take pictures of the plants though.

   

  
There was a really neat rock valley we had to walk through.

   
 
We then drove to the Jaggar museum at the crater rim to wait for nightfall. We looked at all the items in the museum and saw lots of different kinds of lava expelled from the volcano.

In daylight, you can’t see much more than steam.

  
However once the sun sets, it becomes amazing!!

   

  

We had dinner at the lodge where we could look out and watch the fiery glow. So we had dinner at the edge of an active volcano!!

Then it was start the long trek home. 
 

Hawaii Day 4

Monday May 2, 2016.

We certainly are keeping with our streak of awesomeness! Today we started out slow and hung out at the pool.

Then we hit the road at 3 to head to the VIS at Mauna Kea for the sunset and star talk. We drove from sea level to almost 14,000 feet! It was pretty amazing to be above the clouds and watch the sun set *below* us!

This is the VIS where we had snacks for dinner. 9,000 feet!

   
 
There is a protected area for the Silversword plant which is endangered.

  
Then we headed up the mountain. 

   
The road was 4 miles of washboard dirt with switchbacks. 

   
At 4 miles the road is paved again but still climbs. 8 miles from the VIS to the summit, so 5,000 feet of elevation gain in 8 miles. There are signs saying only 4×4 with 4 low should go up. Without engine braking, you could be in big trouble!

Up top we watched the sun set. There are a few scientific, multi-million dollar telescopes up there that are not open to the public.  The oxygen level is really low and it was easy to get light headed with very little exhertion.

   
 

  

  
After the sun set, we drove back to the VIS and spent 2 hours star gazing and listening to some volunteers talk about planets and stars. They had several high powered telescopes set up and we got to see the rings around Saturn!

An epic adventure!

Hawaii Day 3!

Sunday May 1, 2016.

The fun continues! I am not sure how we will top this today!

We got up early and hit the road to head to our helicopter tour. Yes a real helicopter! I have wanted to fly in one for a long time so I was totally psyched to go. The ride was amazing!! 

   

We flew between the two volcanoes over to the active crater on the east side of Hawaii.

  
 
The landscape on the West side is dry and barren. Going through the valley between the two volcanoes is covered in various colors of different lava flows. It was so fascinating to see that from the air. Really gives perspective on the enormity of it all.

  

We flew over the crater and got to see lava bubbling down below. It was so very cool!

   
  
After that we flew over Hilo and then up the East coast to view the cliffs and waterfalls on the coast. I took pictures with my DSLR and stole the ones below from Kris. It was so beautiful!

  
  

Kris and I with our pilot.

  
After the helicopter ride we drove north to the end of the north running road. We hiked down the trail to a black sand beach. The views were amazing!

   
 
I built a couple rock piles for fun and we cracked open a coconut.

   
    
 
We were planning to hit another beach but it was 2 o’clock and I felt beat up from the early morning, the heat and the hike down 1500 feet. So we headed back to the hotel.

However along the way I happened to see this amazing thing by chance as we were driving along. I told Kris to turn around. Turns out it was an amazing lava tube!

   
   
Lava flows are pretty interesting. This particular one had lots of gas in the lava as the rock is very holey. It is also very brittle. The colors in some of the rock was intense! 

   
 
I am thoroughly enjoying our trip here!

We did finally return to the hotel where we swam for a bit, had dinner, then sat in the hot tub for a bit. Fun day!

 

Hawaii Day 1

Friday April 29, 2016.

We got up at our normal time (well I did) and hit the road at 7:25am for our 10:25 am flight to Honolulu. It was sad to leave the pups but I know they are in good hands with our friend Amy.

We arrived with plenty of time and both had pre check. Since we were flying first class our check in line was short but pre check was long for “normal”. It was still shorter than no pre check!

  
Flight was good, we boarded first which meant we had time to get our first drink before we even took off. We both had a signature drink from Hawaiian airlines which was very tasty. Our drinks, food and in-flight entertainment was included. Also, our seats had foot rests and personal entertainment monitors. Pretty sweet! Our food was served on ceramic plates and we got three courses! Pretty fancy!

  
We landed in Honolulu with one more hop to Kona to go. The airport has a central garden which was really pretty. The Kona airport is open air, which is different.

  
We got our rental Jeep and drove the 15 miles to our hotel.  It does not suck on the views.

   
The above is from our balcony.

 
This is the hotel lobby.

   
Hotel pool. The other side has ocean views!

We had dinner here at the hotel and signed up for our first excursion, Manta Ray snorkeling! So on Saturday night we get to be the people out on those boats!

  
Dinner was delicious and we are both tired. It’s 9pm here but midnight our time and we have been up since 6am. So we are calling it a night. Tomorrow we are relaxing, exploring the local area, hitting a brewery and snorkeling with manta rays! Can’t wait!