BC: "Hawaii is not a state of mind, but a state of grace." | Photos courtesy of Jeremy M. Wojdak
FC: L | The Big Island Hawaii February 2010
1: Up, up, and away we go! To the Big Island of Hawaii, we shall go. Leaving behind nearly a foot of snow, To realize a few dreams and study the art of going with the flow. At Hilo, we will make our home. From coast to coast we shall roam. Trekking through jungle and sand, And all the while holding hands.
2: Onomea Bay Scenic Drive just off Hawaii Belt Road. Here the sights and sounds truly seemed to welcome us to paradise.
3: Just a taste of the wondrous flora of the Big Island.
4: Akaka Falls State Park
5: Welcome to the Waipio Valley! Breathtaking views, adventurous hiking, black sand beach, and dangerous surf await. While most only stop at the overlook to snap a few pictures, the true explorers press on. And so despite some reservation, we began our descent...
6: The road from the Waipio Valley lookout is steep, descending nearly 1000 ft in a mile! | Zigging and zagging all the way down. Stopping only to ask, "What is that?"
7: Black Sand Beach at Waipio Valley | A word to the wise: Always keep your eye on the surf. You never know when it may creep up on you!
8: Best Finds: Limeade & Donkey Balls | On our way to Kealakekua Bay, the lure of fresh Kona coffee and macadamian nuts brought us to this stop. | Kona Pacific Farmers Cooperative Captain Cook, HI
9: Garden at the Painted Church | Birthday Girl!
10: While admiring the Birds of Paradise... | We met several colorful characters!
11: I have only this to say. If one must age, Hawaii is the place to do it. Aloha. February 18, 2010
12: Rainbow Falls State Park Hilo, Hawaii | Known for its breathtaking waterfalls following heavy rains, we found this spot to be especially serene after early morning showers.
13: While the waterfalls left much to be desired, the cathedral of towering Banyan trees did not disappoint. The branches sprawl and twist until it is impossible to tell one tree from the next.
14: Lelewi Beach Park Just like a picture postcard. Pristine and frigid water, captivating sea turtles, and all the sun you can soak up! | Interesting specimen. No, not sea turtle. The young woman standing on the rocks, with half of her rear end exposed to the world. Like a traffic accident, you just have to look.
15: Akatsuka Orchid Gardens | Volcano, HI | It takes no scholar to understand why the Big Island is known as the Orchid Isle.
16: Hawaii Volcanoes National Park | Just as rich as the traditions and culture of Hawaii, so is the diverse plant life that thrives amidst Pele's fire.
17: Kilauea Iki Crater A hike through lush rainforest leads to this lake of hardened lava, still steaming since the eruption of Kilauea in 1959. | Easy on the eyes. Hard on the buns!
18: Still considered sacred ground by Hawaiians, we found it impossible not to linger here and take in the awesome power that continues to bring forth such beauty and destruction.
19: Crater Rim Drive Volcanoes National Park | Caution: Bench could collapse at any time. Translation, 48 acres of what you're standing on may fall into the ocean. | Crater Rim Drive Volcanoes National Park
20: Kalopa State Recreation Area | A 0.7 mile loop winds through the native ohi'a rainforest, containing some of the largest ohi'a trees ever recorded.
21: Along the trail we met a couple nice enough to stop and take our picture next to the strangler fig. I love this one!
22: As we left the park, we happened upon something we had become accustomed to seeing. | Another beautiful orchid...
23: So, along the drive J started wishing for food. All I have to say is, "Ask and it shall be granted." TURKEY! Well. actually chicken. No actual turkeys were harmed on this adventure. | Roadside chicken. It's a MUST try!
24: A drive up to the Mauna Kea Visitors Center on a clear night certainly boasts beautiful views of the heavens. Located at 9,300 ft this is stargazing central.
25: Ah, how fleeting are those true romantic moments. Someone insisted one of these must be a Christmas card. I apologize in advance.
26: Punalu'u Black Sand Beach The Big Island's most famous black sand beach is a perfect place to relax for people and turtles alike.
27: When the sun became too intense, we took to the tidepools to explore. Not only did we find relief in the cool water, but all manner of strange creatures!
28: Abandoning our rental, we hitched a bumpy ride with Alf, a friendly local who knew just how to get there! | PapKolea Green Sand Beach Located near Ka Lae or South Point is accessible only by 4 wheel drive.
29: And so we sat, taking in the sights and sounds of the turbulent surf crashing against the cinder cliffs leaving in its wake sand of olivine and awe inspired travelers like us. I couldn't have imagined a better ending to this dream-like getaway. | Our last stop on the trip, this green beach was truly a wonder to behold.