In march a new island was in our sights, the Kona Coast! I visited many years ago on a Marlin fishing trip but had not been back since. This was 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 Mountains section @ Mauna Kea. Here is a look at how the rest of the vacation went
West Coast Drive
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!
Coffee, Critters & 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 & errands meet