Hello Bloglandia,

Well this is weird.

I’m writing a travel post.

After how long? After two and a half pandemic years, which is about three thousand years in what-it-feels-like time.

Now, before you start questioning your own reality, yes, I was supposed to be going to France this April.

I did not got to France this April.

Why? Because United decided to cancel my flight. Grrrr!!! Oh sure, they offered me to still fly me to France….with a lovely 7-hour layover in O’Hare.

I’ve been to O’Hare once. I do not want to go again. And especially not for seven bloody hours.

Luckily, everything was refunded, Mr Husband had a companion fare that needed to be used up on his credit card, and so we booked ourselves a trip to Hawaii.

Which is definitely not France, but I think we were desperate for a getaway at that point.

Biggie Size, Hawaiian Style

We chose to go to the Big Island since we hadn’t visited it yet, and because we’d planned to go there right when our spiky little friend started making his rounds in 2020 (we seem to be good at cancelling trips!).

We split the trip into two because, as the name implies, the Big Island is BIG. Seriously, everything seems far from everything! We ended up driving more in 12 days than we’ve driven in the past six months at home. Ugh.

Anyway, the first part of the adventure we spent over on the east side of the island, mainly to visit Volcanoes National Park, but we also popped into Hilo, and we saw some of the “new” landscape from the 2018 lava flows.

So, without further ado, here’s a little photo journey of those first few days…

Of course, it wouldn’t be a proper vacation without Finn McSpool photobombing the scenery….

Let’s try this again… This is Rainbow Falls, probably the most postcard worthy spot in Hilo. It’s name comes from the rainbows the mist normally creates, but I guess they hadn’t turned on the light show yet when we arrived…

Hilo’s not really known as a “beach” destination, but I could have spent all day swimming around the perfectly calm water at Carlsmith Beach Park.

I mean, how could you resist?

The southeast side of the Big Island is where Kilauea spewed rivers of lava in 2018 (which, yes, is a little scary).

There was evidence of the flow all over the place. You’ll be driving through a nice, lush, well-established neighborhood one minute, then all the sudden you’re driving past lava rock…where neighborhoods used to be!

One of the more dramatic sites, is at Pohoiki Beach. This used to be a boat launch area with a dock and plenty of other amenities. Now, it’s one of Hawaii’s newest black sand beaches thanks to the 2018 eruption…

From the parking lot, you can see the mounds of hardened lava…the trees give a point of reference of how tall the lava is!

And where did all that lava come from? The volcanoes at Volcano National Park…namely, this caldera…

Apparently, it filled with red, bubbly lava, then suddenly emptied, and then the destruction began.

To say it’s a little creepy to see, is putting it mildly.

From another vantage point (that you have to hike to since the 2018 eruption ruined the road for driving), you can overlook the caldera and see red lava.

There wasn’t a lot bubbling when we were there, but we did catch a few glimpses of the fiery stuff!

As you explore the park, you can stop off and see some steam vents.

You know, just in case you were in doubt of just how freaking hot the ground is just under your feet!

And you can wander through the Thurston Lava Tube… Enter if you dare!

It is lit, but not terribly well.

And let’s just say, as you keep going, you start getting a little watery in the legs wondering if you’ll ever escape alive.

Okay, or that was just me being overly dramatic…

But then you literally see the light at the end of the tunnel, and I’ve never been so glad to climb stairs in my life!

Since that wasn’t enough of a walk, it was now time to embark on the eeriest four-mile hike of my life…across a volcanic caldera.

Is this really a good idea? (You can see the path you’re meant to take running across the center of the caldera.)

A lot of people simply walk down to get a picture of the caldera from the ground, but Mr Husband wanted to to the full loop, so across we headed…

It’s crazy to see plant life popping up through some of the cracks in the lava…

it’s also crazy when you look to the edges the caldera and see steam coming from some of the cracks…did I say “hike across’? Maybe we should change that to RUN!!!

And some of the plants really add to the otherworldly feel of the place…

That’s it for now, but I’ll be back next week and we’ll see how the other half lives…the other half of the island, that is!

 Have you been to Volcanoes National Park or Hilo or Pohoiki Beach? Any thoughts on marching across a volcano’s belly? Share your thoughts in a comment!

Have a great week!

I’ll type at you again soon!!

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18 thoughts on “The Big Island, Part 1: Volcanoes, Lava, and an Eerie Hike

  1. Wonderful! I have an almost identical picture of the Thurston Lava Tube. We seriously must have been standing on the exact same spot. Fun seeing Finn McSpool too. The big island of Hawaii was the first trip our travel mascot Sock Monkey Steve ever took with us. Sorry about France, but glad you finally got to take a good trip!

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    1. It’s like you have to quickly take the picture before you enter before anyone steps in your way, so maybe that’s the one spot where you’re blocking everyone’s path…haha. Finn really wanted to go to the volcano, but it was fairly rainy that day. Plus, I’m not sure how his wooly body would have gotten on with those steam vents! Still, he did enjoy the little free zoo just outside of Hilo…maybe a bit too much.

      Steve the Sock Monkey and Finn probably have plenty of tales to tell : )

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  2. It must be a strange sensation to see such a newly formed landscape. We (or is it just me?) think of mountains and valleys as slowly being weathered and changed. Not one minute it is a marina and the next a black sand beach.

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    1. It definitely was strange, especially as it was so recent. The whole time I was wondering, “Are we sure they turned the volcano off all the way?” : ) I also can’t imagine how lucky the people must feel whose houses survived the destruction when houses just up the block got wiped out by lava.

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  3. OK so you didn’t go to France but wow you went to Hawaii! All those photos are so glorious! There were a couple photos that I just kind of stared at a while and daydreamed. I look forward to visiting Hawaii someday. That’s funny you mention that you hate the WordPress app, it’s only really good for responding to comments and reading posts. I can only blog on a laptop I can’t do it on the app!

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    1. I can’t believe with all your travels, you haven’t been to Hawaii. This was my sixth trip (first to the Big Island) because Mr Husband is a Hawaii junkie. But I’m slowly steering him to prefer European travel….mwahahahaaha!

      I did a post once using the app. Once. That was enough. Even if I make a draft on my laptop, I can’t wrangle through the weirdness of the app to finalize the post. Then again, I also hate the block editor and still stubbornly stick with the Classic Editor on the web version, so….

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      1. Well, since he’s still snoozing in bed, I’ll take it upon myself to say either Maui or Kauai. They both have great beaches. I think the snorkeling is better in Maui, there’s loads of sea turtles and good boat tours, and you can enjoy the tourist trap fun of Lahaina town. Kauai has some pretty good beaches, and if you can bear the tropical heat, has some good hikes and outdoorsy things to do. However, since Kauai is on the end on the chain, you can be hit harder if bad weather swoops in. Maui is more protected due to where it’s situated. And, you’ll be glad to know, Hawaiians really enjoy quilting, so you’re bound to find a quilt shop wherever you go!

        As for the block editor, I’ll only go kicking and screaming. If something looks weird with a post, I like being able to just pop into the html version and fixing it in about ten seconds, rather than fussing with those clunky block things.

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