Hawaii: Part 2

Wednesday, D and I decided to do a little driving tour, so we headed back up the east coast to just north of Hilo to take in a botanical garden.  There are several in the area - this part of Hawaii gets a lot of rainfall and it's definitely more tropical feeling than the Kona side of the coast, so a great place for tropical plants.  We opted for the one without the ziplines and Segway rides; just the plants for me, please.  This garden was originally an estate that has been donated into a trust and it's absolutely GORGEOUS.  It houses all kinds of trees, but also literally thousands of plants, nicely laid out and marked well.  You can spend as much time as you want wandering down the gorge to the ocean, and then back again.

From exotic plants like this hanging from vines....


To some gorgeous waterfalls from multiple little creeks on the property.....


To oddities like these dwarf ornamental pineapple plants.....


We really enjoyed our several hours here.  We finished off the day in Hilo to pick up a few supplies for dinner (it's hard to beat freshly caught seafood right off the boat!), and walked around the downtown marina and park there before heading back to the house.

Thursday, we decided to head off to see the volcano.  We had kind of a circuitous route since the access road that is within a mile of our rental house had been taken over by an eruption in the last 10 years that consumed a lot of real estate including the highway, although there is no lava currently flowing into the sea for viewing in any location.  We trundled out to Volcanos National Park, where you can view the volcanic caldera and see multiple steam vents as well.



We then opted to take the long and winding drive down to the sea (where it was about 30 degrees warmer than it had been up at the summit), so we could hike out and see the petroglyphs. 


There are tons of these scattered throughout areas of the park, but this particular viewing area let you walk through them on a boardwalk so they wouldn't be damaged, and let you see the designs up close.  I really enjoyed this portion of the trip - extremely interesting and filled with history!

Friday was kind of an "in car" day, as we had an evening (9:00 p.m.) flight out of Kona but had to check out of the house around 10:00 a.m.  So we took our time driving back across the island, stopped for lunch, and then drove around Kona and saw the downtown/resort areas of it.  After a LONG commute back, we landed in ABQ around 11:30 a.m. on Saturday and headed home.

We really had a great vacation.  Just the right mix of relaxation and entertainment, lots of nice downtime to spend together, and a great way to celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary as well!  We both are planning for it NOT to take another 10 years before we do something like this again.

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