By far the Big Island of Hawaii is my favorite. I have been to this island twice before over the years and hope to return again in the future. In those earlier visits, I visited the Kilauea Caldera, Thurston Lava Tubes, Devastation Trail, Wailuku River State Park, Rainbow Falls, driven the entire Kona Coast and snorkeled in Kealakekua Bay.
This trip Randy wanted to rent a car and drive to Volcanoes National Park and, if we had time, to the Waipio Valley Lookout. It took us a while to catch the courtesy van to the rental office and then some time to get out car so we were off to a later start than anticipated.
The drive to the Volcanoes National Park was an easy drive. We arrived and spent some time listening to a park ranger talk to a group of tourist who were preparing for a hike around the crater.
I spotted a sign for the Volcano House and was curious to look over this long-standing historic lodge that started out as small thatched structure in the 1800’s. The interior of the lodge was beautiful especially the bank of windows at the back of the lodge overlooking the Kilauea Caldera. There was a row of couches and rocking chairs all facing the windows, the view was wonderful.
We spent a considerable amount of time reading all the information about the volcano and taking pictures before heading out to do the drive around the crater rim.
We stopped here and there stopping to observe different view of the volcano, steam vents and flowers along the road. When here in 1979, I remember the overwhelming smell of sulfur, but the odor of sulfur was almost indiscernible. We noticed that people toss money into the steam vent and we could not help but wonder how the park retrieved the coins and bills. It really was amazing to be driving along and seeing smoke rising from both sides of the road.
On our way back to Hilo we suddenly came to a screeching halt as a mother hen and her chicks crossed the road. Very funny. We also got a better look at the snow on the summit of Mauna Kea. According to what I read Mauna Kea is the home to the Mauna Kea Observatories and according to what I read is, “the world’s largest observatory for optical, infrared, and submillimeter astronomy”.
Once we arrived back at Hilo we turned north toward Waipio Valley. On our way we noticed a sign that read, “Scenic Road 4 miles”. The road was slow going and a bit interesting in places and pulling off was a bit tricky but once we stopped we were rewarded with a beautiful view of the shore.
Once back on the main road we realized that to continue to the valley lookout would be too far and imperiled our return to the ship so we turned around decided to go instead to Akaka Falls.
It was quite a walk to the falls down many stairs but definitely worth the walk. The falls was beautiful and completely surrounded by such lush vegetation. The view was just wonderful. The route was actually a circular route and led us to another falls called the Kahuna Falls. This falls was a little harder to see there was so much vegetation but still wonderful to see. I read that the falls are easier to see after a good rain.
We loved the trees, flowers and stream we saw as we walked the circle.
Happy, we made our way back to the ship and a late lunch at the International Café. I fell in love with their grilled chicken sandwich. Back to the cabin for a quick rest, and then get ready for dinner. I was in the mood for comfort food and ordered the chicken pot pie. Oh, my, what a wonderful choice. The crust was beautiful and flaky, the sauce was light and the meat and vegetables perfectly prepared. After all that walking, I decided to order dessert. Everything was delicious.
After dinner we went to the Princess Theatre to see comedian and musician Steve Moris. Moris kept the audience engaged and laughing with a combination singing, talking about his career and family, playing guitar and videos. He skill on the flamenco guitar was amazing. Once the performance was over, we spent a little time walking around the shops and then headed back to the cabin for a good night’s sleep.
Tomorrow we stop at the Island of Oahu.