Greetings from Pele
For those of you that don't know Pele is the Hawaiian Goddess of fire and she lives in Kilauea, the most active volcano in the world!
Volcano day is always a long one (which also means a long post so get ready). Usually it means a complete round trip around the island! So we got up early and headed out to meet Pele but of course we didn't go straight there. When you're doing an entire lap around the island there are some things you have to stop and check out!
The first thing we checked out were the menus at the Coffee Shack outside of Kona. The Coffee Shack is a little tiny restaurant that is basically sitting on the edge of a cliff overlooking a huge valley of coffee plantations and shoreline. While you eat on their balcony you can look out over all of it! The best part of the breakfast (aside from the food of course) is that you get to dine with a bunch of little, bright green geckos that run all over the railings and the floors trying to catch any bits of food they can find.
After enjoying an awesome breakfast we carried on around the island. Maybe an hour down the road from there we came to this little dirt road that traveled off into nowhere seemingly. This headed out to the southernmost point in the United States. When I went there in January we didn't spend much time there because we went after a massive hike and was super tired. This time I decided to do it the other way around so we still have energy to enjoy it.
The cliffs at the Southernmost Point
The south point had a lot of really cool stuff going on. The cliffs are heavily used by fisherman who can cast their lines out huge distances because of the elevation changes and, if you're crazy enough, you can actually jump off of the cliffs into the water! Of course there are tons of signs telling you not to but you know there are always people who want to do it. I mean, if you put a ladder on the side of the cliff so people can get out you're kinda asking for it...
As south as you can possibly get without a passport... or water wings...
The south point is notorious for being crazy windy. The trees actually have such constant wind pressure that they grow into that blown-over look permanently. There are some cool pictures of that on the internet but we didn't get any while we were there. Sorry!
There is one cool thing that comes along with high winds, and that is big waves! When we went around the bend and the cliffs were no longer protecting the coast the waves could really take over. They were easily as tall as we were and all had that pipeline thing going on where they curl over on themselves. Obviously there was no swimming here.
Who brought their boogie board? And the helmet...
So not only did this roadtrip take us East Coast to West Coast but it also took us to the South Coast as well!
Right next to the Southernmost Point is the green sand beach. And by "right next to" I mean a three mile walk each direction over rough terrain and blistering, sand-filled winds. Bring your goggles. That's why I wanted to do the south point first...
Now, you can drive to the beach but there is no way that a "normal" car could do it. It doesn't matter if your car is four wheel drive or supercharged or hovers or whatever. If you don't have a huge lift and good insurance you are not going to make it.
Just a part of the "road" to the beach. One of the nicer parts actually.
We figured dad would not appreciate us destroying his little CRV so we decided to hike it. We grabbed our water bottles, put on our sunglasses and headed out.
It was kinda windy...
The right way to "hike"
Three miles is a long time to have sand blown into your face at 35+mph but it actually is a cool hike. There is a lot of scenic coastline with waves crashing the whole way. Plus it's kind of fun just to be able to say you did it.
After what felt like forever we finally made it to the beach. This is one of only four green sand beaches in the world and the only one in the United States, so it's kind of a big deal...
To actually get to the beach you have to hike down the cliff. Yes, after hiking three miles let's hike some more...
The beach itself is really cool. Since it's so hard to get there it's hardly ever busy. The cliffs and rocks around the beach shield it from the full force of the monster waves (there are still some). And the sand itself is really fine and soft!
Unless it's being airblasted at your face....
On the way back we were so tired that we paid one of the guys $10 each to drive us back in his truck. That was an adventure of its own. We had to ride on a 2x4 straddling the bed of his truck and hold on for dear life! It was so bouncy that we struggled to keep all of our stuff and to stay on the seat. He was a good driver though. He never hit anything too fast or hard. It's just a terrible road. We only bottomed out a few times....
After wiping all the sand in the world from our eyes and face we finally headed out for the volcano!
Writer swap! Keeping up yet!? As we made our way filthy from head to toe and starting to tucker out, we hit the volcano early-ish. Our first stop at the volcano house was the gift shop. In December Cameron had bought me a beautiful lava rock bracelet from the national park. It was made with lava beads and so gorgeous. Unfortunately the band had started to break because I wore it nonstop, so Cameron took me back to the gift shop to acquire another one. Luckily they still had them and I was able to replace the bracelet. With my new bling on we continued to the bar in the volcano house and killed some time enjoying a drink while the volcano hung out behind us . The sun started to lower and we decided to walk around and catch some pictures of the steam vents that loop around the volcano.
The walk was a big loop and had several steam vents along the trails. The way to know if you were on the right path was just follow the sulfur smell. It was potent and colorful along the trail but we enjoyed walking around the vents and occasionally stopping at certain points. We noticed the sky having a pinkish hue and quickened our pace to get back to the main crater to see the sunset. It turns out it wasn't quite what we were hoping for but we enjoyed watching the sky change colors and the sunset casting the lava glow in the sky. All in all it was a long but exciting day full of dirt, lava and steam.
Pretty colors to close out the day
On the long drive back all we wanted was some McDonald's after a full day of hiking. We found on in Hilo on the way back around the island but apparently every single person in Hawaii goes to get fast food on a Friday night. When we pulled up the drive-through was wrapped around the building. We figured it would be quicker just to go inside but no, there was a line equally as long in there. Mind you, this is at 9:30pm! It's probably this way because everything else on the island closes at 8.
After our failure at McDonald's we decided to go to the Taco Bell that was a short walk down the parking lot. Rose has never had Taco Bell (which I find ridiculous) so I was excited to show her how delicious and horrible Taco Bell can be. As we got closer we realized that it had the same amount of people as the McDonald's! Fast food must be the thing to get in Hawaii late at night.
We decided to hold out for another hour and a half to get to the McDonald's in the little town just out from the house. And that is the story of how we ended up eating McDonald's in Hawaii at 11pm on Friday night. I was so hungry by that point that I ate two double quarter pounder meals fries and all! I think that was a new record for me. Exciting stuff. We finally made it home around midnight to get ready for tomorrow's adventure.
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He likes pizza.