Jun 13, 2015

is that a big island you have there or are you just happy to see me

I went to Hawaii when I was a kid. Oahu. To be frank I kind of thought it was a bit lame. The pineapple was good. The beaches were nice. But something about it just seemed so touristy even at a young age. And that's probably because it is. Last year for our 10th anniversary we went to the Big Island on the recommendation of my best man who grew up in Hawaii. And it was a completely different experience.

The Big Island is the most underdeveloped island in Hawaii. And that suits me just fine. Cities are cities. But the outdoors has great variety. The geology of Hawaii is fascinating. As soon as I landed I wanted to know more. It has such an alien landscape. Here's a good example. You're driving along and, what the hell, you're in the middle of an old lava floor. Those grasses in the photo are some of the first vegetation that can take hold in the solid lava once it cools. Serving to break it up and allow other plants to grow some years later. Also note the black color of the lava. This tells you it's a relatively young flow. Lava contains a lot of iron and 'rusts' over time and turns an orange-brown.

We went back last week for 3 days. I think my wife and I are kind of enamored with the place. We stayed at the Hualalai. The Mauna Kea has a much better beach but this resort has its own charm too.

For one, green seat turtles are everywhere. And they're pretty cute with big big eyes.

Most of the Big Island doesn't have a sandy beach. It's the youngest, and most volcanic island, and so the shores are generally solidified lava. It has the same feel as Big Sur (another of my favorite spots).

I believe the beach at Haulalai is man-made. But it's fine. We aren't there for the beach for the most part.

Last time we hit most of the major hikes that allow you to see volcanic activity, waterfalls, and black sand beaches. We did another hike similar to last time that takes you down to a very secluded black sand beach. It involves a steep hike down (and later back up!).

Combined with the humid weather, hikes mean significant perspiration. Bring water! But most of the hikes have huge payoffs. Everything is gorgeous on the island.

The second hike we did was Kiholo Bay near the resort. It's about a mile hike through white-black sand beaches and lots of sea turtles.

At the end is a blue blue bay and a vast sea of solidified lava. Here's a typical example. I call this "brownie lava" because it looks like the top of brownies.

The real pretty spot though is the bay. Lots of turtles. Reasonably warm water. And no one else. I didn't see a single person while we were there.

We're going back again in August. It's become an addiction.

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