In March a new island was in our sights, the Kona Coast! I had visited many years ago on a Marlin fishing trip but had not been back since then. This was also to be a get together with George, Sara and his family to climb and celebrate his 50th state high point that had started with Mount Rainier on 9.11. The plan was to attempt Mauna Kea at the front end of the week and then soak in sun, sand and water. For once, it actually unfolded as conceptualized. The climb went well and is chronicled in the Mountain Magic section @ xxxxxx. Here is a look at how the rest of the vacation went

mahaiulabeachznbetskoa12030739225wWest Coast Drive

In March a new island was in our sights, the Kona Coast! I had visited many years ago on a Marlin fishing trip but had not been back since then. This was also to be a get together with George, Sara and his family to climb and celebrate his 50th state high point that had started with Mount Rainier on 9.11. The plan was to attempt Mauna Kea at the front end of the week and then soak in sun, sand and water. For once, it actually unfolded as conceptualized. The climb went well and is chronicled in the Mountain Magic section @ xxxxxx. Here is a look at how the rest of the vacation went While the weather cooperated for the climb, the rest of the week was a bit marginal as a heavy duty winter storm brought hail to Oahu and major flooding to Kauai. The big island was spared the extreme conditions as its massive size in relation to the otherMark and Betsey @ Mahaiula Beach, Kona Hawaii March 2012 islands actually creates its own weather ecosphere, but there was enough of an effect to bring in overcast skies and a bit of rain. So that means, let's go explore and off we went north along the western coast. First stop was Mahaiula Beach just north of the airport along a winding and bumpy road. Make sure you have an SUV if you go. We hiked to the first beach and found a beautiful sweeping cove with what appeared to be an easy in and out. While striking up a conversation with some fellow beach goers, they told us the second beach was a short shore hike away, a bit more scenic and a better snorkeling spot. As the weather was not that inviting, we decided to head back to the car and see what lay ahead up north.

The highlight of the day was discovered by accident when we pulled off the main roadway (270) after spying whales spouting off the shore. We found ourselves at the Lapakahi State Historical Park, one of the earliest settlements on the island dating back over 600 years that has been preserved and maintained by the State of Hawaii. It was almost closing time, so we did a quick tour of the main places and vowed to come back again. You get a real sense of how this felt to the early settlers, as its isolated location, excellent access to the ocean waters to fish for sustenance and surrounding geography that protected the cove from the Kohala winds, is what sustained the early Hawaiians and allowed them to fan out across the island and create more settlements.

Volcano National Park

One of the great thrills of travel in the United States is the breadth and width of our National Parks and the wonders they bring to our lives. Places of refuge, places of beauty, places of history and places where nature is new and immense. Volcano National Park is a good 2.5 hour drive, but well worth the scenery along the way covering the range between stark and lush, as you pass through the southern most point of the US and come to a place of creation as terra firma is being born right in front of your eyes. We set out on our way with George Sr. and Kathy Joe stopping at a roadside coffee farm, searching for picnic fare and finally arriving at our intended destination. After a nice lunch we entered the park and covered the eastern portion of the rim drive stopping to hike the Kilauea Lki crater rim, walk the Thurston Lave Tube (Nahuku), see the Pu'u Pua'i formed by the highest recorded lava fountain eruption and marvel at the beauty of this lunar landscape. Just a few pics for now, as we intend to return and spend a lot more time experiencing this park!

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Coffee, Critters and Corners

No trip to the big island is complete without a visit to a coffee farm. We sampled two. One a local farm with a zebra in the front pen along the highway and the other, Greenwell Farms a well established business. If you are coffee lover, this is the place. We also saw a lot of " wildlife" wherever we went and crawled into some interesting corners of the island that I have laid out for you below. Lands End and the Pu'uhonua o Honaunau National Park were some of those gems!

May our paths and errands meet...