Wednesday, April 30, 2008
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
Sunday, April 27, 2008
our trip is almost over, whew! love how travel makes time slow way down. this week has felt like a month, lots of family time. something about the big island that i didnt expect was how uncrowded it is. we never really had any traffic (just around the airport in kona which we learned to avoid) and everywhere we went there was hardly anyone there. even in kona when the cruise ships unloaded, you could hardly tell. i wasnt in oahu long enough to really learn everything, but the big island feels very refreshing. i dont look forward to returning to the traffic and congestion of southern california. there seems to be a lot of earthy type people here too, not as much upper class stuffiness. the smaller hotel we moved to for our last three days (kona tiki) feels more like the rustic beachy feel i was looking for when originally planning this trip. no frills but just what you need, clean and safe with a loud roaring ocean to cover up the "kid noises", nice.
not sure how to really show everything we have done this week, so much to show and tell. yesterday we finally made it to the volcanoes national park, a big surprise for us, it was so lush and tropical.
thurston lava tube, we hitched on to a ranger giving a talk and the girls earned a junior ranger badge, lucky us!
we watched a great movie at the visitor center about the eruption at kilauea iki that happened in 1959. then we headed out to several lookouts to see the crater that was left after the eruption. the movie was riveting and then to see the huge crater in real life was jaw dropping. there is a hike you can take down to the crater floor and walk across it, i wish we could have done it but with the kids, just couldnt pull it off.
there are teeny people down there walking across the crater
about 2 months ago, gas started coming from the halema'uma'u crater, which is within the kilauea caldera (sorta like a small crater within a huge crater) which is making the "vog" everyone is talking about. this vog which is fog and volcanic fumes, like smog, can be hazardous so we werent sure we would even be able to go to this park, it was closed several days in a row. the cool thing about this is that the gas cloud you can see could be a sign of impending eruption, very exciting. we were lucky to see it and someday if and when it erupts we can say we saw the beginning stages.
there was some clowning around, but this park has so many interesting things for kids. we learned a lot from our ranger guide, she told the girls about pele and some traditional folklore about certain plants and flowers (the ohi'a tree, how pele turned some guy into a tree and his girlfriend begged the gods to turn him back to human form. they couldnt but allowed her to turn into the flower on this tree, a bright red gorgeous bloom on a silver green tree. the legend is that if you pick the flower it will cause the heavens to rain tears for the parted lovers. good stuff)
as everyone my age will remember from the brady bunch (dont say you dont remember!), you dont take things from hawaii like volcanic rocks or you will have bad luck or a curse or something. we have all picked up sticks and rocks that would be fun to add to collections at home but we all feel the risk is not worth it! i guess so many people actually take home the sand from black sand beaches, they are disappearing. better to take a picture of it. we found a fantastic beach at the end of our 4 wheel drive into hippy land (waipi'o valley) a few days ago, more on that trip later. back to volcanoes national park:
having been all over the park, we headed out to the latest eruption of lava along the coast, where you can see the lava hitting the water. lets just say, it was worth the drive during the day, but we never really saw the lava, only steam. i was wearing the wrong shoes so kept obsessing that i would get chopped up and lizzie kept falling. other than that, it was amazing to walk out on the lava, a little hike to the beach, and watch the sunset together with a few hundred people.
not quite the view we were told about at the visitor center, but still a wild adventure.
hoping for some sun so we can head off to the beach, we have books on native birds and lots of volcano pamphlets to savor. looking back at my slap dash approach to planning this trip, i would say i lucked out in many ways. there are unique plants and animals to learn about, lovely weather to lay around in, a varied terrain to knock your socks off, few tourists or tourist traps for that matter. oh and i havent even mentioned the coffee yet! heaven! lets just say the big island delivers.