Roadtrip on Big Island (31jan)

This post used to contain pictures, but due to new storage limitations from WordPress, I had to fix the problem and decided to create a new blog that works as an archive for all the posts from my two years in California. This full post can be found here.

I am so broke right now, and that is thanks to Enterprise. The world’s worst car rental company. Today was all about driving around the island seeing other things than the hotel and Kailua-Kona.  But it took the rest of my money just to rent the car because stupid Enterprise wanted $300 in deposit! And after the $80 for the car I only had like $100 left… In California and on Oahu they only wanted $200. So now I can’t afford my second bag to Sweden. I asked mom to transfer some money and I really hope I will get them before my flight departs on Monday morning (that is evening time in Sweden, so it should be okay, otherwise I’m totally screwed!).

After that our day just got better. We didn’t take any insurance because the a******* at Enterprise didn’t ask about it and then just acted like b****** when they gave us the car. So I drove the whole day, and it was a long day.

Roadtrip Big Island

Ka Lae, South Point

Our first stop was at the most southern point in the United States, Ka Lae. Out there one could jump from a cliff right down in the crystal clear water. A lot of fish were swimming right there and I so wanted to do it! I really wanted to, but we didn’t really have the time since we had a lot of stops to do today. It was only 35 feet (10 meters). I probably would have survived! If I ever get the chance to cliff jump again, I will totally do it! I’m so bummed I didn’t do it, there were no rocks, just a straight cliff and really deep water. And it was hot, like 85F, so it would have been perfect with a dip in the ocean. There was also a blowhole, which is kinda like an underground cave where the water goes in and “blows” up through the ground. When the waves come in the level in the hole rises and stupid people can jump in. Right before we came there was a guy jumping in. Cliff jumping is one thing, but blowhole jumping is just stupid…

Red sand This is what I call red sand!Blowhole The blowhole.Cliff jumping I so wish this was me!South PointHanging loose at the most southern point in the United States of America!

Green sand beach

Our next stop was right around the corner, Papakolea Beach/Mahana Bay/the green sand beach. To get to the beach we had to park the car and then do a ridiculous hike. It probably would have taken us 1.5 hours.  There are people with pickup trucks there who work as shuttle. $15 roundtrip and they drive you all the way and then wait for you to take your pictures.  The ride was bumpy and dusty though. I never get carsick, but today I did and it took me several hours after to get rid of the feeling. It took 30 minutes one way. And now to the description of the beach! It isn’t as green as leaves on a tree, but it is definitely green. The closer you look the more green you see. So the sand is tiny bits of crystal. Most of them are green, some gold, some black. It was so cool!

Bumpy ride Bumpy ride Papakolea Green Sand Beach Papakolea Green Sand Beach Papakolea Green Sand Beach

Black sand beach and turtles

Our third stop was at a black sand  beach and it was way more impressive than the one on Maui. First, this was blacker! It was so dark and Nina (a girl from Maui whom we met later tonight) told me that the darker the lava rock is, the newer it is. Second, it was surrounded by palm trees (and you all know how much I love those!) and I just love the color combination of black lava rock and green. Third, and the best, was that there were turtles basking in the sun!! We saw five of them in total and they were hard to see, they were dark, the sand was dark and they totally look like rocks. I took like another million pictures of the Honu, the Hawaiian Green Sea Turtle and I will probably have a new profile picture on Facebook as soon as I get the pictures from Caroline’s camera.

Panaluu Black Sand Beach This was a very beautiful beach.Turtles at Panaluu Four turtles, a fifth out in the water and the sixth was behind me!Turtles at Panaluu Turtles at Panaluu Turtles at Panaluu

Kilauea, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

This roadtrip was so easy. We didn’t need a GPS because everything was accessed from the HWY 11. Our last stop was at the Volcanoes National Park. Kilauea is the most active of the islands five volcanoes but it is sleeping right now. The biggest is the Mauna Loa which is located just 20 miles north. There isn’t any lava in the Halema’uma’u crater, which is located in the Kilauea caldera. I had to google what the difference between crater and caldera is, and I think I understand it. A caldera is what’s left when landmasses collapse after a volcanic eruption. And the crater is where the lava is I guess. Anyway, according to Wikipedia (I know, I shouldn’t look up information there, but it’s so easy), who refers to Hawaii Volcano Observatory, says there still is lava down there, like 70-150 meters below the crater floor. And someone at Banana Bungalow told me that the lava hasn’t been visible for a while. So we didn’t see anything, but we did see steam though!

African landscape The landscape changes so much here on Big Island. One part is full of lava rocks/cliffs, one part is overgrowing rainforest, one part looks like African savannah, one part looks like forests in Germany and some part look like northern Sweden. Really cool :).European landscape

Okay, that volcano has a road on the rim, called the Crater Rim Drive, so we could drive to all the places. Our first stop up there was the Lava tube with Nahuku which means stalactites. It was like any other tunnel/cave I’ve been in. It was moist, a lot of water dripping and since it was a tourist attraction it had lights. It wasn’t too long, just a few hundred meters. When we came out of it we walked through a rainforest but it wasn’t as cool as in the movies. But it was cool with the super big ferns. I felt like a little ant walking under them.

Lava Tube Lava Tube Rainforest

Our second stop was Pu’u Pua’i. It is a big pile of solidified lava covering part of the Crater Rim Drive so it’s not possible driving all the way around. It got covered in 1959 during the 37-day eruption in Nov-Dec. During that eruption the Kilauea volcano made a 580 meter high lava fountain! It’s so crazy it’s hard to believe. It’s also very fascinating googling and reading on the signs about all these things.

Our third stop in the National Park was the steam vents. It was a place among the drive with simply explained, a lot of steam coming out of the ground. It was really cool, but it smelled like a rotten egg fart out there. And it was hot. I got burned twice on my legs when the wind took the steam in my direction.

Steam vents Steam vents

Our fourth and last stop along the drive was the Jaggar Museum and the Hawaii Volcano Observatory. There we learned that this volcano only was 4000 feet. It is a little confusing what we actually saw. Well, what we saw was a big desolate area (Kilauea caldera) with a steaming crater (Halema’uma’u). That crater was a big lake of lava until 1924 when it exploded and doubled the size of the crater. So no lava today but that was probably good. What if there would have been an eruption and I would have been stuck on Hawaii? Oh no! Horrible thought :).

Halema'uma'u Crater

I drove all the way back to Kailua-Kona and stopped at Pineapple Park hostel where Nina from Banana Bungalow on Maui stayed. We picked her and three of her guy friends up and drove to a nice burger restaurant. It was a real restaurant with good burgers! On the way back to the hotel I got a little lost, no, not lost, but I took an involuntarily detour which resulted in a funny sign which said: Entering Banana Virus Quarantine Area. Haha! I didn’t enter though, I found the right way back to HWY 11. I wonder what was going on there!

Back at the hotel I booked my shuttle for Sunday and now I only have like 400SEK, which isn’t even $100. Stupid Enterprise… And then I grabbed my computer and spent a few hours in the bar updating my blog. I couldn’t post this though because I didn’t have all the photos. And I think my readers will have plenty to read anyway.

It was awesome taking a long shower and to get rid of the dust layer. And then I couldn’t stop reading about volcanoes on Wikipedia and now it’s almost 2am… I’m on vacation though, so it’s fine!

This day turned out to be really nice, even if I’m moneyless. Tomorrow’s our last day on Hawaii and we are just gonna relax by the pool, working on our tan one last time. And since the Wi-Fi at the bar (which is right next to the pool) is working I will probably continue to read about volcanoes. I don’t know the history about Haleakala on Maui yet :).

2014-02-01, 01:41

Haleakala Crater hike

This post used to contain pictures, but due to new storage limitations from WordPress, I had to fix the problem and decided to create a new blog that works as an archive for all the posts from my two years in California. This full post can be found here.

Wow, another amazing day is over and this time my whole body is so sore! A 12 mile hike is nothing to play with. And just so you know, 12 miles is approximately 20 kilometers. We started by driving up the big volcano, driving past the clouds by 4,000 feet up to an elevation of 10,000 feet (3000m). It was crazy being that far above the clouds! So the hike went like this. We started at 10,000 feet elevation. Hiked down into the crater to 7,000 feet, then through the crater and then up to an elevation of 8,000 feet where we got in the car and drove up to 10,000 feet again to watch the sunset above the clouds.

The first four miles were downhill 3,000 feet. And that was actually hard. It wasn’t super steep, but it was all sand so it was hard to walk. The second four miles was at the bottom of the crater and that landscape was otherworldly. It seriously looked like Mars!! All red and black sand, and big lava rocks everywhere. So amazingly cool! The last four miles were uphill and I thought they were gonna kill me. Our guide said that the “small” and flat uphill in the crater was just the warmup for the last four miles. That hill killed my calves so bad so I was afraid I wouldn’t make the last bit, but it was no problem at all. That last part was uphill all the time up the crater’s side but it was rocky and it was more climbing than walking. So I did fine! But at the end, the last 0.7 miles I saw the parked cars way up there and that’s when my thighs really started hurting! So typical, right at the end they start to give up. But I made it! And when I came up I totally fell down on the asphalt. The world were spinning around so bad. I did a little stretching and then waited in the car for the rest of the group to finish the hike.

When everyone was done we drove up to the top again to watch the sunset. It was ridiculously cold! I had one tank top (which I was hiking in and that was perfect, it was warm with a breeze, perfect hiking weather), one long sleeved t-shirt and two hoodies. I was like a Michelin man. I had Capri tights on and a towel wrapped around my legs up there and I wasn’t very cold actually. It wasn’t super cold, but maybe 7C? Sometimes there is snow up there because it’s so cold. And it makes sense with the high altitude.

To watch the sunset above the clouds was an experience! It looked like a big snow landscape. There are always clouds over the Hawaii islands and it got more during the evening. So we saw the sun disappear behind the clouds instead of the water. It was cool! But I was so happy when it was completely set so we could go back to the warm van and go back to the hostel.

Back at the hostel I sat in the hot tub for so long. Maybe 1.5 hours? It wasn’t as warm as two days ago when I almost fainted after, but today it was perfect and all the muscles were softening. It was awesome! A big party even if most of us were exhausted from the hike.

The hollows of my knees hurt so bad right now and I can imagine my butt and thighs are gonna hurt tomorrow. It’s a good thing the tour tomorrow starts at 1pm and is just gonna be a beach party with beach volleyball among other things. Now I really need to get to sleep, I’m sooo tired… like all the other days, except more tonight…

Our tour guides Our awesome tour guides, Marcos and Kaitlin.At the same height as the clouds At the same level as the clouds at 6,000 feet elevation. Me, Caroline and our roommate Sabrina.Haleakala Crater The Haleakala crater from above. Silversword plants The protected “Silversword plant” that only blooms once and then dies.Haleakala Crater Haleakala Crater Haleakala Crater, the world's end The world’s end!Haleakala Crater Lots of lava rocks!Haleakala Crater, up the mountain The last four miles started here! Still in a good mood :).Haleakala Crater The sunset from above the clouds :).
Haleakala CraterThe crazy road down the crater!