Sunday, August 12, 2012

Craters, Crepes, and Canyons

Day 3 (Sunday): We hit the Kilauea-Iki trail first thing this morning because it was really popular yesterday, especially in the afternoon. Drew was a little wary of it, as it descends to the crater floor, crosses the crater, then ascends back up at a crazy-steep angle. About four miles in all. But now, back in the room, sweaty and hot, he has declared it his favorite hike ever.

The trail goes to the bottom of this crater and back out and up the other side.

We walked across a volcano crater! A steaming volcano crater! It was awesome and due to our incredibly wise early-morning start, we practically had the place to ourselves.

This is the best lava! Wait! THIS is the best lava!

I have to refrain myself from photographing every interesting piece of lava I come across. I'm starting to imagine trying to show them to friends. "Hey, where are you going? This one is different! It's all wiggly the way it flowed! Wait, look at this one! It's got a fern growing out of it! Life finds a way! Wait for the one with a tree hole in the middle!"

Life finds a way!

The crater is still steaming in spots. Like this one.
We finished in good time, and we are back on the road, this time to Hilo and points north.

According to our guidebook, the best bets for lunch in Hilo were Ken's, a local favorite pancake joint, a pizza spot on a street we couldn't identify, or, of all things, a creperie. We tried Ken's first but the parking lot was jammed, so we decided that crepes sounded better than whatever a harried overworked wait staff at a pancake joint could offer, and we were super right. HUGE crepes full of chicken or shrimp and cheese and veggies. Crepes in Hawaii. Who knew? I'll try to keep food reports to a minimum, but terrific crepes in Hilo? Worth reporting.

We spent the afternoon chasing sights on the east coast north of Hilo. After finding and viewing Rainbow Falls, our zeal to chase other east coast waterfalls was dampened as we realized that as Pacific Northwesterners, you can't really impress us with waterfalls. With those off the must-see menu, it simplified the sight-seeing list to coastal jungle roads and beaches.

Rainbow Falls outside of Hilo
We turned around at Waipi'o Valley, the wild, deep, nearly vertical-walled canyon that once hosted chiefs and taro plantations until a tsunami scoured it all out and left it for decades until the survivalist hippies moved in. Now it's not a good idea to enter without an invitation. It's still pretty from above. We took pictures and headed for Hilo.

Waipi'o Valley from a safe distance

At Hilo, we bought cake and wine for dinner and headed for our jungle home. (Kids, don't try this diet at home.)

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad


hedera said...

Now, I can't prove this because I can't find the travel diary from 1991, but I'm fairly sure that when we were in Hawaii we took a terrifying jeep ride down into Waipi'o Valley and actually drove around on the flat.

piglet said...

That sounds about right. We watched for a while as four-wheelers took turns heading down or up the one-way track into the valley. As old hats at logging roads, we kinda wanted to give it a try, but not in our rental car (despite the old joke: what's the difference between a 4WD and a rental car? A rental car can go ANYWHERE).