Thursday, February 2, 2017

December 5: Lava and things around Hilo

After all the rain, and with the forecast still threatening more, we decided we were ready for the nut house.  Macadamias, of course!

Here's the edge of the macadamia orchard:

After stocking up on nuts, we headed south to check out some lava trees, formations that occur when flowing lava runs up a tree and then the tree catches fire and burns out, leaving an upright tube of stone:

We then started meandering further south, without a real plan in mind but to see what there was to see along a couple of scenic roads:

We stopped at this park and had a look at the lava beach.  There were surfers but you can't see them in the photo.

Then we drove west ...

We came to this insanely beautiful spot along the road, stopped and took some photos, and I'll restrain myself and only post a couple:

Then we came to a spot near Kalapana where a lava flow back in 1990 formed a lot of new land on the coast:

In the upper left hand corner of the photo below you can see steam from where lava is currently flowing into the ocean, over near the National Park:

Some of the locals over the years have been planting coconut palms in the lava field near the coast, here are some of them growing:

On the drive back into Hilo, we stopped at the Zoo which was about to close for the day.  Here's one of the pathways:

This is as close as I got to any animals ...

Back in Hilo, we went for a walk and saw this huge cruise ship on its way back out to sea.

We walked over the bridge to Coconut Island in Hilo, here I am standing by a tree showing the height of some of the tsunamis over the years:

Just a picture of a restaurant across an inlet from our hotel as we went back in at dusk:

Coming up next, Volcanoes National Park ...

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Driving Saddle Road

On Dec. 4 the itinerary item was to drive the scenic Saddle Rd., which connects the east and west sides of Big Island.  We had wanted to go up to the summit of the Mauna Kea volcano, but we knew already that it was still snowing up there and the road would be blocked.  Still, we headed out to see what we could see.

That's the slope of Mauna Kea ahead of us ... and yep, there's weather up there.

We passed over many old lava flows, this is one:

Lots of volcanic hills:

Heading up Mauna Kea towards the visitor centre.  Yep, that's snow!

And ... this is where it ends.  If we had been collecting photos of places we'd been weathered out, this would be #5 or so by now:

We did a little short hike up the cratered hills, instead:

Yep, it started actively raining again, such that one layer of rain gear wasn't enough:

Back down towards the saddle, passing some craters on the way:

Below is Mauna Loa in the distance, the other volcano, it's got snow happening up at the top too, but you can't see it from the saddle, it's clouded in at the top.

We stopped at a pullout and it happened to be where the Hilo-Pu'u'o'o trail crosses the road.  This trail crosses an 1855 lava flow, but the route roughly follows more ancient trails.  We would have walked part of it except it was, yeah, raining:

Our rental car awaits back at the highway.

We stopped at Rainbow Falls on the way in to Hilo.  Ironically, due to the rain, no rainbow today, but on a clear day I guess it habitually has a rainbow in the spray.

There were banyan trees near the falls:

And, since we had shortened and reduced our stops of the day due to the rain, we got to the hotel early.  Here's Ed sitting in the open air lounge:

Here's hoping for some less miserable weather tomorrow ...

Friday, January 13, 2017

Weathered out again, but off to Big Island

Saturday, Dec. 3 was a beautiful day, so we headed off towards the Iao valley to see an interesting piece of mountain called the Iao needle.  That's the Iao valley straight ahead:

We didn't get far though - as we approached the road on the outskirts of Kahului that goes into the park, there was an electronic sign telling us the road and the park were closed.  It didn't say why, but we are guessing that there was likely flooding after the past few biblical days of rain.

So ... once again we were making new plans on the fly.  As I checked the guidebook, Ed turned the car south.  Got these pictures of the mountains as we drove:

We decided to do a hike, part of the Lahaina Pali trail, which was a pedestrian and mule road back in the 1800's.  The next few photos are from that.

The landscape was interesting but not very varied.  After around a half hour we turned around and decided to go walk on a nearby beach.  Here's one more photo I took on the way down, showing the Haleakala volcano off in the distance, with its stubborn weather system still hanging around the summit:

The beach was beautiful, here's just one photo of it:

Before long, it was time to drive back to Kahului and catch our plane to Big Island.  On the way there we passed this old sugar plant.  I had to lighten the photo to see any detail, so the sky got really washed out, it was the same spectacular blue as the other photos:

Our plane to Big Island was a little Cessna Caravan, a 9-seater.  We were sitting in "first class":

Took a few photos during the flight.  These two are of the resort area of Maui, we never went to that part of the island, looks kind of suburban with all the development.

Here's our first view of Big Island.  Hmmm, is that weather we see on the summit of the Mauna Kea volcano we want to visit tomorrow?

These volcanoes, they leave lava fields lying around everywhere!

After we landed it quickly got dark, so no more photos until we continue our adventure tomorrow ...