Hawaiian Vacation: October 2013

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Tuesday, October 8 - Day 2 on the Big Island

Day three started with a visit to Green Flash Coffee Shop where Neil got a French toast breakfast sandwich and a cup of 100% Kona coffee, while Ginger greatly enjoyed her croissant breakfast sandwich and chocolate milk.

View photos from the morning (7 images)

Then it was on to South Point.
Did you know... the southernmost point of the United States is on Hawaii and not in the Florida Keys? Of course we had to go there. Being on the tip of an island in the middle of the Pacific, we about got blown over as there is of course nothing to block the wind for miles and miles. We snapped some pictures, Neil took a selfie, and then we were on our way.

View photos from South Point (22 images)

Our next stop was to hike to the Green Sand Beach. We understood the hike to be about 2 miles and set out on our own, ignoring the shady characters offering to drive us there in beat up SUVs for a negotiable cash price. This grueling, yes, grueling, hike took at least an hour each way from parking lot to beach. You must traverse rugged terrain, and while going along the shoreline is pretty, it's maddeningly tiring. Your reward is getting to see the green sand. If you plan to hike, take lots of water, lots and lots. Just so you know, if you put in your mind that the sand is green, then yes, it looks kind of green. We thought it looked brown, actually, but whatever. Not ready to completely exhaust ourselves with a hike back and being without any beverages, we decided to take up a ride back with some other travelers in a rickety pick up belonging to one of the aforementioned shady characters. (Here is where cash came in handy.)

View photos from the hike to the green sand beach (30 images)

We continued our drive around the southern part of the island and stopped for picnic lunch at Whittington Park. This was actually one of the nicer park areas and even had a super cool tree to examine while eating at the picnic tables.

Moving forward we went to Hilo where Neil again was able to get his coffee fix, and from there headed out to Rainbow Falls. The falls is just about 20 yards from the parking lot, and we were glad for it! It was a quick stop (compared to the previous locations), but beautiful, and we got some good photos of the falls and surrounding area. There is a trail that leads up to the top of the falls -- we got a couple pictures of a huge tree (with Ginger standing if front for scale) before Neil climbed over some boulders tot he top of the falls for a nice bview.

View photos from Rainbow Falls (19 images)

Then it was back in the car to Akaka Falls. Unfortunately we were low on gas, and not knowing exactly how long it would take to reach Akaka Falls, we had to backtrack the 11 or so miles we'd gone to get gas back in Hilo. We were also concerned because it was already getting dark, but we figured better safe than sorry. Thankfully we were able to get to the falls with enough daylight left for some stunning photo ops.

View photos from Akaka Falls (22 images)

We were quite a ways from Kona at this point, on the other side of the island, and headed up Highway 19 toward the North side of the island to make our way back. Why not a straight shot across? A mountain is in the way, the 13,796-foot Mauna Kea. Some fantastic scenery on our drive, though -- this is the windward, green, lush, wet side of the island, with deep gorges and towering cliffs, and we had just enough daylight left to take it all in. By the time we reached Waimea, it was dark and we were ready for dinner. We stopped at Jade Palace Chinese restaurant -- the food was pretty good, but you had to pay extra for rice! What kind of Chinese restaurant charges extra for rice to go with your entree? This one.

Finally, we headed back to our hotel and called it a day.

View other photos from the day (7 images)