A few weeks ago I was very fortunate enough to have a “mini” Hawaiian vacation. My friend, Rachel, invited me with her to the Big Island of Hawai’i for a few days. It was a much needed vacation from the boring and monotonous life I live here in Ohio. Unfortunately, my trip was cut short due to some unforeseen circumstances, but I still enjoyed every minute that I was there. I am definitely more partial to the ruggedness and beauty of the Big Island in comparison with the over-commercialization of Oahu. I was intrigued by the desert and sun on the west side of the island and the clouds and rain on the east side.
My first day started out by drinks at the resort after a ridiculously long plane ride in. We stayed at the Hilton Waikoloa Village on the Kona side of the island. Definitely a resort for the kids, I was quick to venture out and explore the unknown.
The second day was spent by waking up at 6am for one of the longest days of my life…but one of the most memorable. We drove across the deserty backwoods of the island to the east side, or the Hilo side. Rain, rain, rain…but everything was so green and lush. I do love the sun, but this side of the island brought back everything I know about Hawaii. There were flowers, green vines, waterfalls, etc.
We stopped at a local restaurant and had some island food and ventured off to find something fun to do. Something fun to do brought us to the town of Kalapana. Kalapana, once a well known fishing village in Hawaii, had been covered in lava in recent years, making the entire town desolate and remote, with active lava still flowing across some parts. I remembered this town from a documentary I watched when I was little on the Discovery Channel, so I was eager to stop and check it out. Our group stopped, took some pictures, and walked a random path through the woods that brought us to the water, where we could view lava flowing in to the ocean, creating huge clouds of smoke.
We then decided to head off to the volcano, after taking back roads and stopping for occasional snapshots of the beauty of this side of the island.
When we arrived at Kilauea, it was pouring and sustained a temperature of about 55-60 degrees due to elevation. Our first adventure would be hiking through the Kilauea Iki crater and trails. This took us nearly 2-3 hours as we stopped for views and observations a long the way.
Once we got down to the crater, we walked ourselves across the gritty rocks and lava to check out steam vents and lava tubes. A couple bloody knees later, we made our way through the lava tubes and then over to the active Kilauea volcano for a dusk observation. We had spent an entire day hiking and exploring, which had worn me down, so at this point, we started our 2 ½ hour drive back to Waikoloa.
The next day was all about being by myself while Rachel was at work. I perused our resort grounds for a bit and finally got the itch to see something new, and rented a convertible and made my way off of Waikoloa Village. I had initially planned to hit up the green sand beaches or the Captain Cook area, but had only gotten to Kailua-Kona before I got too tired to continue driving south. I again made my way north and ended up finding a locals area near Puako Beach. By this time, Rachel was off of work and we had to prepare ourselves for a night out on the town (or at least just the Kona Brewing Company).
The trip was a wonderful time, but I had to head home early. All in all, definitely a positive change from life in Ohio!