I just got back home this week after a blissful seven days in Hawaii. Growing up, my parents shared a timeshare condo in Kona with my aunts and uncles, and so I grew up visiting the Big Island regularly with my family. (Yes, I do realize now that I was completely spoiled.) My mom still vacations there fairly regularly– usually annually– to relax and recharge. Until this month, I hadn’t been back to Hawaii since my early teens roughly twenty years ago.
After a pretty intense 2012, my mom decided to head back to Kona and invited me to come along. We were able to find a great deal on airfare and so the plane tickets became my Christmas/Birthday/Pretty-Much-Every-Upcoming-Holiday-for-the-Next-Several-Months present. Bryson took vacation time from work on the days that he could, and tended the kids while I was away– along with my mother-in-law, who cared for them on days that he had important meetings to attend.
For this week’s Five Things, I thought I’d share my top 5 loves from the Aloha State– in no particular order.
The coast– whether on the sandy beaches or rock shoreline is simply stunning. While we were there, the trade winds blew in– which made for some fantastic surf. Swells were topping ten feet high for a few days. It is pretty much impossible to get a real sense of the size and majesty of the waves from a photograph, especially from my phone camera that I didn’t want to chance dropping in the Pacific. I did try, though. We spent most of our beach days at Hapuna, which is our family’s favorite.
Another amazing spot is the hike at Upolu Point, located at the northern tip of the island. The trail takes you from the clifftops down to the black sand beach below. As you can see from the photo, walking the trail is like stepping into your own picture postcard. The teal water offset by the rocky coastline and black sand is truly breathtaking. Navigating all the switchbacks of the trail was totally worth it.
On the other end of the Big Island, another stunning vista awaits. Kalae Point, the southern-most point of the United States is much more stark in landscape, but the water!!!! The water. Let me tell you, it is like nothing I have ever seen anywhere else. The water is literally sapphire blue. Not turquoise like you typically imagine when you think of a tropical locale, but deep, sparkling sapphire. I didn’t use any sort of filter or enhancement on this poor quality phone photo, and you can (kinda) see what I’m talking about.
Here’s a little video too. Say hi to my beautiful mom!
One of the things that sets the Big Island apart from the other Hawaiian islands is all of the volcanic activity. Where the other islands have become dormant as far as eruptions are concerned, Hawaii is still going strong. Kilauea, the most active volcano in the world, is continually adding new acreage to the island, and volcanic rock decorates the landscape every where you turn. I love the black rock.
My favorite perk of all this volcanic rock is the black sand beaches. I adore Punalu’u beach in Naalehu. The sand is soft, and it is a favorite spot for sea turtles.
Of course, we also had to pay our respects to Kilauea– which native Hawaiians consider sacred ground, the center of creation. While the more active eruption was quite a way from the center crater, you can see it smoking from the overlook. At night you can see the red glow of lava from this same spot, but we didn’t stay through the evening.