This post is nearing a month overdue. There were so many pictures to sort through, it took me some time to select and edit them all. Finally, here is a review of our week long adventure in Hawaii.
The last week of January Kyle and I dropped our girls off to stay with my parents and then we headed out on a week long Hawaiian adventure with Kyle's parents and sister Brittany. Kyle's dad had an optometry conference to attend on the big island, and his parents invited us to come along. A trip to Hawaii mid-winter, how do you refuse that?!
This was my first visit to the islands, and my longest plane flight. I guess I don't get out much, or at least don't travel much beyond the west coast. The others had all been before, in fact Kyle lived there for a couple of years (on Oahu) when he was about Hailey's age.
We stayed on the Kona side of the big island, where the lava rock dominates, but the weather is still fantastic. I think the biggest happy point of the trip (besides no work, no cleaning, and no children) was the food. We dined on potato/mac salad, hamburgers, and ice cream all week long. And we loved it. We also went to a Luau where we were able to sample all sorts of Hawaiian foods (including the famous Kahlua pig) and sip on fruity drinks.
We hit up a small farmers market in town where Kyle stumbled upon rambutan (pictured above), a favorite fruit from Kyle's mission to the Philippines. He has described this fruit to me before, with it's hairy-like outside, but grape-like inside. So of course we bought some. I loved it! I really wish we could have taken some home with us, but Hawaii has strict laws on the import and export of fruits and flowers. Bummer.
We spent the first few days hanging out at the resort, watching the dolphins play, and relaxing by the ocean fed lagoon. Kyle and his dad snorkeled and caught sight of all sorts of tropical fish and sea turtles. We all tried our hand at paddle boarding, which gave the rest of us a chance to catch sight of some of the fish and turtles as well. Paddle boarding was surprisingly easier than it looked, which was good- I didn't want to get dunked. Mostly we relaxed in the sun reading books and snacking on food. That sunbathing felt nice, until I burnt my chest, on the first day in the sun. I may or may not have missed sun screening my entire chest. And then I spent the rest of the week extra lathering up trying to protect it from getting worse. Later on the week everyone else followed suit and ended up with some sort of burn. We're not used to so much sun mid-winter!
Kyle and I checking out our awesome sunburns. Kyle's isn't as easy to spot in the picture, but it was there pretty good.
Towards the mid to end of the week we set out to explore the island. We found a small black sand beach and got adventurous hiking over lava rock. We weren't planning on hiking, so not all of us were dressed for the occasion. I made the trek in flip flops and a dress. Maybe not the best shoes for the job, but it was still fun to get out and explore. The view of the ocean we discovered on our hike was pretty awesome. We were able to see whales in the distance breaching and shooting water from their spouts.
The big island is the youngest island, which made for some interesting and diverse scenery. The Kona side is lava rock everywhere. It really isn't the picturesque Hawaii you think of. Still neat, but not as pretty.
As we made our way around the island it began to green up. Up north was grassy and ranch land. Did you know one of the largest cattle ranches in the nation is on the big island of Hawaii? I had no idea, I definitely don't think cows when I think Hawaii. Although, now I might. :)
The East side of the island is more of the lush green we imagine Hawaii to be. It is full of trees, flowers and waterfalls. I loved seeing the diversity of the island, seeing it in all stages of it's development.
We took one day to drive around to the East coast to see some waterfalls and check out the volcano. We hiked to Akaka Falls, which was a spectacular 400 ft drop.
On to the volcano we went. Kyle and I were really interested in seeing this. As we neared Kilauea we passed by Kurtistown, which of course necessitated a photo op. Kyle's dad's name is Kurtis, with a K and all.
We went to the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park to see what we could of active Kilauea. Unfortunately the current lava flow was outside of the park and inaccessible. Sad day. We really wanted to see some lava! It turned out ok, we didn't leave disappointed. We walked through the Thurston Lava Tube, a tube formed from lava that once flowed in the area. We joked that it's real origination was from large worms, like the movie Tremors.
After the lava tube we took the Kilauea Iki trail and hiked down into a large crater inside Kilauea. The hike was 400 ft down and 400 ft up. But it was awesome! 60 years ago the crater held a lake of lava. Now cooled and hard we were able to trek clear across the crater. It was neat to see the beginning of vegetation popping up among the desolation. There were also a few active steam vents giving some small evidence of the activity of the volcano. This was one of the highlights of the trip. It was fun to get out and hike for a few hours and see a part of nature you don't find in Utah.
We finished off the week with a day at the beach. Good sand beaches are harder to come across on Hawaii Island. We found one with some good waves for boogie boarding and playing in the surf. Kyle had a blast. So much fun he broke both boogie boards. Whoops! At least we were at the end of our trip and wouldn't be needing them any longer anyway. Kyle got me out into the ocean to play in the waves, which was super fun, except for the salt water that sneaked its way into my nose and mouth. We attempted to jump over the waves as they rolled in. Kyle was better at it than me, I found myself constantly getting swept closer to shore. Honestly, it was fun to feel the water pull me in. At the same time it was humbling and a little scary to see just how powerful the ocean can be.
After an entire week the sun finally set on our vacation and it was time to head back to reality. Getting back to motherhood and real life took a few days (or a week) to get used to again. Admittedly, the girls may have watched an extra amount of videos that week while I tried to catch up on my sleep in the mornings.
My parents were so nice to watch the girls for us. 8 days of parenting small children again is no easy task, especially when you've been out of practice for 15 years or so. Sounds like the girls had fun playing at the park, the children's museum, jumping at Kangaroo Zoo, and even going to the circus. While we were spoiled in Hawaii they were spoiled by Papa and Rara, which is totally ok with me.