Trip Pictures

Be careful...seriously

Lava

Lava

Lava

Lava

Lava

Lava

Fire

Lava

Lava

Lava

Steam vents

Steam vents

Mauna Loa

Kilauea crater

Kilauea crater

Kilauea crater

Kilauea crater

Kilauea crater

Kilauea crater

Kilauea crater

Kilauea crater

Mauna Kea

Kilauea Iki

Kilauea Iki

Kilauea Iki

Kilauea Iki

Kilauea Iki

Kilauea Iki

Flora

Flora

huge Flora

Tracy enjoying the

plants

Kilauea

Flora

Kilauea Iki

Kilauea Iki

Kilauea Iki

Kilauea Iki

Kilauea Iki

Tracy @ Kilauea Iki

Kilauea Iki

Kilauea Iki

Kilauea Iki

Kilauea Iki

Kilauea Iki

Another Pellisippi

Parkway pothole?

Kilauea Iki

Kilauea Iki

Kilauea Iki

Kilauea Iki

Kilauea Iki

Thurston Lava Tube

Thurston Lava Tube

Thurston Lava Tube

Thurston Lava Tube

Thurston Lava Tube

Thurston Lava Tube

Nene Goose

Nene Goose

Pacific Ocean

Loudmouth Monk

Rainbow Falls

Rainbow Falls

Rainbow Falls

Rainbow Falls

Freaky Tree

Freaky Tree

Pacific Ocean

Pacific Ocean

Pacific Ocean

Pacific Ocean

Africa?

Cool Tree

Huge fora

Flora

Akaka Falls

Akaka Falls

Mauna Kea

Mauna Kea

Mauna Kea

Mauna Kea

Waimanu Valley

Maui

Waimanu Valley

Waimanu Valley

Waimanu Valley

Waimanu Valley

Waimanu Valley

Waimanu Valley

Pololu Valley

Pololu Valley

Pololu Valley

Pololu Valley

Pololu Valley

Pololu Valley

Pololu Valley

Lava on the ocean

Lava on the ocean

Lava on the ocean

DSC01505

Lava on the ocean

Lava on the ocean

Lava on the ocean

Sea Turtle

Sea Turtle

Ocean

Three turtles

Humpback whale

Humpback whale

Humpback whale

Sunset

Sunset

Nice place

Sunset

Sunset

Sunset

Sunset

Mana Road

Mana Road

Tracy biking @ Mana

Road

Mana Road

Mana Road

Mana Road

Mana Road

Chris and Stacia @

Mana Road

Tracy @ Mana Road

Whale

Whale

Whale

Whale

Whale

Whale

Whale

Whale

Whale

Whale

Lava Fields

Lava Fields

Lava Fields

Blue Lagoon

Blue Lagoon

Blue Lagoon

Blue Lagoon

Blue Lagoon

Blue Lagoon

Blue Lagoon

Turtle

Blue Lagoon

Southernmost Point

Southernmost Point

Southernmost Point

Southernmost Point

Big waves

Big waves

Tracy, Chris, and Stacia

@ southernmost point

Papakolea Beach

Papakolea Beach

Papakolea Beach

Papakolea Beach

Papakolea Beach

Papakolea Beach

Papakolea Beach

Papakolea Beach

Papakolea Beach

Punalu'u Beach

Punalu'u Beach

Punalu'u Beach

Punalu'u Beach

Dolphins @ Kealakekua

Bay

Kealakekua Bay

Hawaii - Big Island

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Number 50!  Woo hoo!  From 8 - 16 Mar 08, Tracy and I went to the Big Island of Hawaii, and I

finally checked the last state off my list!  This completed a 13 year competition between Tracy

and me, and I finally beat her...by one state!  Now that I've won I guess I can break down and

take her to Vermont!  We flew out of Salt Lake really early on Saturday morning, and after

connections in Oakland and Honolulu, we made it to Hilo.  The airports in Hawaii were really

cool, though.  Much like everything in Hawaii, the airports were all open.  There were walkways

with no walls, and the baggage claim, ticket counters, car rental counters, and pretty much

everything was completely open...that was a great first impression of the Pacific islands.

We took this trip with Chris and Stacia.  We ran into them in Honolulu, but we were on different

flights to Hilo, so we met up in Hilo after each of us getting our rental cars.  After that the plan

was to explore around Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, because we really wanted to see real,

live lava.  We had been watching the news, though, and there had actually been an eruption

over the past several days, and the best place to see it was outside the park.  So we got

directions from the Hertz lady, and headed out to see the lava.  We made it there, and realized

the rest of the hemisphere had the same plan.  Undeterred, however, we hiked 3.5 miles in the

dark out to see the flowing lava.  And it was awesome!  Check out this video of the lava

flowing...it's really incredible.  We were less than 5 feet away from the lava.  After taking a

bunch of blurry pictures, we hiked back to the cars.  Since it was so late we tried to get a room

in Hilo, but Hilo isn't exactly a tourist mecca, so there were no available rooms.  We then drove

to Volcanoes, but we had been awake for right at 24 hours, it was the middle of the night, we

had just hiked 7 miles after flying for 13 hours, and we just didn't have it in us to set up camp,

so we slept in the cars.  Good times!

I woke up before everyone else the next morning, and just walked around the campground.  It

was dark when I woke up, and the stars were incredibly bright...they really seemed brighter

than even down in the desert of southern Utah.  The rainforest was also completely silent while

it was dark, but then the sun rose, and the chorus of strange birds was incredible.  The birds

were just deafening, and it was great.  Then the others woke up, and we headed into the Park

to check it out.  We drove around the park, checking out the Kilauea crater...that was really

incredible, also.  The crater was just massively huge, which was really humbling to realize it

was a volcano.  We also hiked down into one of the smaller craters, Kilauea Iki, which was

really cool, and then hiked into the Thurston lava tube...which made the lava tubes in Idaho

look like pansies.  Most of the Crater Rim Road was closed because of high sulphur levels

from the recent eruption, so we drove to the end of Chain of Craters Road, took a short nap by

the ocean, then headed out of the park.  We ended up driving along the ocean outside of Hilo,

finding even more hippies, and then going to Rainbow Falls.  Rainbow Falls looked a lot like

Ozone Falls back home, but we did get to watch some Buddhist monk using a megaphone, so

that was fun!  Then we got a hotel room in Hilo and bedded down for the night after walking

around a small park in town.

Monday we circumnavigated the island.  We checked out Akaka Falls, which was a really nice

waterfall, and it wasn't very crowded.  Then we drove to Waimanu Valley.  We didn't hike down

into the valley, and we couldn't drive our rental cars down into it, but the valley was incredibly

pretty.  You could see Maui in the distance, and it was just really nice.  Then we kept driving

and made our way through Waimea and the green, green grass hills of northern Hawaii.  This

area was much different than we expected on the Island.  The area around Hilo was rain

forests, and this area was just green grasslands that looked like pictures of the Scottish

Highlands...really cool.  Then we went to the Pololu Valley on the very northern tip of the

island, and hiked down to the beach...also very pretty.  Tracy took a good tumble on some

volcanic rocks...good times.  Then we just kept driving around the island and eventually made

it to Kona where we checked in to our condo.  The condo was really nice, and right on the

ocean...we chose wisely!

Tuesday the four of us rented mountain bikes and went biking back up in the "Scottish

Highlands" area outside of Waimea.  We rode the Mana Road, and it was great.  It was a dirt

road, and we had it all to ourselves.  It was steadily uphill for the several miles we went in, until

we were just exhausted, and then we turned around and just flew back downhill...good times!

In the evening the four of us went on a sunset cruise.  That was really nice and relaxing.

There were more people than I thought I would like, but it was still great.  We also saw a few

humpback whales while we were out.

Wednesday we went out to Anaeho`omalu beach north of Kona, and saw several sea turtles.

We just spent some time reading and relaxing on the beach, and then we just spent the day

driving around and checking out some other beaches.

Thursday we got up early and the four of us rented kayaks and snorkeling gear and went

down to Kealakekua Bay north of Kona.  It was pretty crowded down there, and Tracy too a

good fall trying to get the kayaks off the car, but we had a really good time.  We paddled

across the bay to the Captain Cook monument, and on the way back we had the best luck: a

school of spinner dolphins swam right by our kayaks, and even started jumping!  That was

awesome!  I tried to get some pictures of them jumping, but I didn't have my digital camera,

and the cheap camera I had just wasn't fast enough.  But the experience was still cool.  We

didn't do any snorkeling, because the surf was rough, and we're wimps.  Chris and Stacia did

some snorkeling, though, and they said it was really cool.  I think I want to take scuba lessons.

Friday Tracy and I got up bright and early and took a whale watching cruise.  We had a good

time doing that, and we got to see some great humpback whales.  Afterwards, we hiked out

over lava flows to Blue Lagoon.  This was hands down the best beach we found in Hawaii.

When we got there, we had the whole lagoon to ourselves, and it was just incredibly pretty.  I

could have spent days here.  We also saw a lot of whales and dolphins breaching in the

distance from here...really cool to see the huge splashes from the whales.  Just check out the

pictures to see how incredible this place was.  In the evening the four of us went to a

Lu'au...you know, because you HAVE to when you're in Hawaii.  I thought it was pretty cheesy,

but Tracy was glad we went.

And then on Saturday we checked out of the condo and started driving back towards Hilo.  We

checked out the southernmost point of the U.S. and hiked out to the not-so-green sands of

Papakolea Beach.  It was a nice hike, and the area was really pretty, with big waves on the

ocean, but the sand wasn't as green as we expected.  Then we drove to the black sands of

Punalu'u Beach, and then we headed back to Hilo.  We walked around Hilo a little at night, not

really wanting to leave, but Sunday came too fast, and we headed back home...after spending

the night in Oakland because Delta cancelled our flight to Salt Lake.

But this was a great trip.  And I got number FIFTY!  Hawaii was cool.  I don't know that we'll go

back while we're still young and healthy, because it was so expensive, and there's not quite as

many active things to do as I like, but I'm sure we'll be back someday.  Another thing I learned

on this trip was how useful geocaches can be.  I loaded a bunch of geocaches, and this helped

us find some of the best places in Hawaii.  The best beach, the southernmost point, the green

sand beach...the list goes on...the geocaches made all those places possible.  So I'll have to

be sure to do that more often on trips like this.

Now just enjoy the pictures!