When we decided to spend our vacation in Hawaii, the word volcano immediately motivated us. I have always been curious to have new experiences, even if they can put my physical abilities to the test. When I found myself on Big Island, I wanted to push my limits, to experience thrills. We had decided to go on this trip, so that we could have a different experience around the island.
We had a pretty good idea of the places we wanted to visit, but did not have everything planned. One of these must-see places was the Volcanoes National Park. Once on site, we have obviously traveled extensively with great interest, but I was still satiated. I wanted more.
I wanted to live the experience to the end and see the lava of an active volcano more closely. Different alternatives were available to us to live this experience, including the helicopter and the boat, but I could not make a choice.
I was not really tempted until I heard about a hiking experience to track the Kilauea volcano lava a few centimeters away. It was exactly what I was looking for without knowing it. I offer here the story of this adventure, which I took care to put on paper the same evening, so that this memory remains imperishable.
Day 1 - Hilo
We have just landed on this fascinating island of Hawaii, nicknamed Big Island. And Mother Nature has already messed up our plans, just to clarify who is ruling here. First of all, after thirty years of dripping into the sea, the Kilauea lava decided to get out of a new mouth and spread inland.
It has led to the closing of several hiking trails and roads inside the Volcanoes National Park. In addition, there is a strong tropical storm which they call hurricane here is coming down on the south coast. In short, my program for the first week at Hawai'i was tattered and replaced with a reserve plan, while I was moving through the streets of Hilo.
This pretty typical Hawaiian town of old movies is the world capital of the tsunamis, and is exactly as I imagined it. Here it is all clouds and colorful flowers, palm trees and painted wooden houses that do not exceed two floors, verandas and arcades, shops that look like old shops, buildings of the early twentieth century.
It is a continuous postcard, with characteristic corners and smiling people. All greet and chat in that informal and friendly way. In my opinion, Hilo is beautiful. From the first impact at the international airport, which is all made of straw and wood, I felt immersed in a welcoming tropical atmosphere, much more Asian than American. With a sad face, I go to the front desk of the hotel to rest for the night.
Day 2 - Kilauea Volcano
I will always remember that day when I went to meet the Kilauea volcano. It was urgent to visit the volcano region before its arrival. We could not access the Kalapana area. We have a quick breakfast in the hotel restaurant with tea, coffee, fruit, cakes, toast, and jams. Now that we have rested and eaten, we can begin the exploration and get involved with the aloha spirit.
So we took our rental car and left immediately after breakfast for the Volcanoes National Park, 45 minutes from Hilo on Highway 11. A warm, bright sun was shining as I parked in front of the Visitor Center. We improvised ourselves by registering in the morning for the Pahoa Lava Hike excursion that was to take place that evening.
Together with a very kind and smiling ranger, we have elaborated the strategy of the day. After having bought the map of the paths, we launched into the adventure. The beauty of this gigantic park is that you can freely explore independently if you follow the signs along the roads and paths.
It is beautifully organized, with well-marked paths and scenic spots. There is a series of long or short routes depending on the time available, with information panels in the main sites. It reminded me of certain nature reserves in Australia. Of course, it is by nature a dangerous and unpredictable place.
The two main asphalt roads are the Crater Rim Drive that runs along the entire Kilauea caldera. It is currently half closed from the Jaggar Museum because the active crater is the Halema'uma'u located in front. The Chain of Craters Road descends to the ocean following the lava flows that have shaped the island, passing near ancient craters, more or less active.
There was a beautiful sun, but the weather would soon get worse. We decided to walk the Chain of Craters directly up to the sea and then go back up to the park entrance, stopping at various vantage points. The idea was to take the Kilauea Iki Trail (about two and a half hours), visit the Thurston Lava Tube, continue the exploration along the Crater Rim to get to the Jaggar Museum in the evening.
We wanted to look at it from its belvedere to admire the active crater that, with the setting of the sun, shines through the lava below. With the hiking shoes, hat, sunscreen, it starts! The landscape is immediately impressive because, wherever we look, we encounter an expanse of lava. The lava rock is beautiful, full of metallic reflections and fascinating shapes that make a certain effect.
Some maintain the rounded profiles of huge lava bubbles inflated by gas. Others retain the appearance of moving rivers with waves and loops. While others are sharp because they are created by crackling lava fountains. The Chain of Craters stops after 30 miles, where an old lava flow passed through it years ago. The road has been closed since then, but we continue on foot climbing these impressive formations.
At one point there is still a road sign submerged by the cast and is an image that makes the idea of what happened. It's an impressive sight, but it's not alone in this extraordinary park. Still, near the end of Chain of Craters, we look out over the ocean and observe the black lava walls.
The Kilauea volcano, with its many craters, its mouths and gurgling lava splits, over the centuries has created the south coast of the island pouring tons of new material from the depths of the planet into the sea. Huge waves and wind have then carved these soft and dark rocks forming an arc that plunges into the blue waters.
After this little hike, we took the road north, stopping to admire ancient extinct craters that, however, always have the menacing air and other spectacular solidified flows. The moment of the true trekking arrives and, fortunately, there is a bit of wind to refresh ourselves. We take the Kilauea Iki Trail and start from the Thurston Lava Tube parking lot.
This trail draws a circle that half passes through a forest of ferns, while the other half goes down under one of the old mouths of Kilauea. We walk on the solidified surface of a still hot lava lake. There is a feeling of walking on a crust full of smoking fractures, knowing that there are tons of lava below! Passing by, they look like the puffs of a giant iron and we feel the heat at a distance.
In about two and a half hours the route is completed. Following the mini guide bought at the Visitor Center, we enjoyed every glimpse thanks to the indications and the historical and geological hints that described the path in fifteen stages. Arrived at the parking lot, we allowed ourselves a little snack with biscuits and bananas. Then we continued in the Lava Tube.
Basically, it is a tunnel formed by a river of lava that rapidly solidified on the surface, while inside it still flowed smoothly. Once the internal lava flow has run out, its empty shell remains. There are several on the island, some even several kilometers long. This is short.
From the Visitor Center there are several simple paths that lead to sulphates, along fractures in the ground from which come out steam jets and cross the territory of the Nene, strange birds of these parts. We walked on these trails to pull in the evening, since we wanted to observe the Halema'uma'u crater after sunset. So, between walks, purchase of postcards and a visit to the Jaggar Museum, it's time for the real show.
We took a seat, along with many other fans, on the wall surrounding the museum. We were watching the sun below a blanket of clouds carried by the wind, an omen of the storm coming. As the sky grew darker, the base of the crater lit up pink, making the column of ashes and steam shine as it rose imposingly following the wind.
The rose turned red and the scenery changed before our eyes. What seemed like a big puff of steam in the mornings turned into something infernal in the evening. The weather forecast was clearly unfavorable and our guide advised us that it was possible to see nothing once there. Too bad it was the only day we could do the tour, after which we had to go back to Oahu Island.
We were, however, determined to try it anyway. In addition to our guide, there were five participants on this tour. We felt a certain feverishness invade us, even nervousness, under nonchalant airs and a few laughs. The excursion was to take us to an area called Pahoa. To do this, we had to cross a private property, hence the need to visit the site on a guided tour.
Were we allowed to be there? The answer did not seem obvious to state. Yes and no. Let's just say that our presence seemed tolerated. So we walked about 8 kilometers to get to the scene. The distance itself was not a challenge, but the uneven lava floor on which we had to put our feet made the hike quite sporty.
The night was falling quietly, but it did not prevent us from clearly distinguishing the ground on which we were walking. I congratulated myself on wearing sports shoes, which rarely happened to me at that time when high heels seemed a natural extension of my body.
I felt good. Drunk with adrenaline. Exalted. I was about to live a great moment, of those who are rarely experienced in a life and remembered for a long time, and I was fully aware of it. On the way, suddenly, we saw smoke from the volcano. We were there almost. I had butterflies in my stomach, red cheeks and a short breath of excitement. The further we went, the more we were able to see the lava flow coming dangerously close to the houses.
Our guide then explained that Pele, goddess of fire, dance and volcanoes, is the subject of many legends in Hawaiian culture. According to one of them, the goddess fled Tahiti after an argument with her sister Namakaokahai, goddess of the water. She then settled in Hawaii, in the crater of Kilauea volcano.
Since then, locals fear her as much as they respect her. When the volcano moves and threatens the homes of the area, the owners make offerings to the goddess hoping that their property will be spared. Some even oppose the authorities diverting a lava flow to save their home, for fear of attracting the wrath of Pele.
I had the impression that night was falling all at once, without my eyes getting used to the darkness. On this black, opaque curtain, the active volcano and the lava flow were strikingly distinct. The further I went, the more I felt exaltation win me over.
My throat was tight and my heart was racing in my chest. I knew that I would soon have a landmark meeting. It was with Kilauea, the most active volcano on Earth. Under our feet, the ground creaked more and more and the heat became suffocating. We finally reached the lava flow.
Contrary to the announced weather conditions, the night was perfect to track the lava of the volcano. Even our guide could not believe it and swore he had not seen such a show in the last ten years. I do not know if that was true or if his comments were motivated by the prospect of a bigger tip at the end of the day, but he was obviously overwhelmed by the situation.
We were standing a few meters away from the lava that was advancing rapidly towards us. We felt the fire bite through our soles. I was hypnotized by this colorful show and I cannot say how long we stayed there. Ten minutes? One hour? I do not know. I was too absorbed in my contemplation of the orange liquid that was spreading in front of me.
The site was in no way secure and I am still surprised that no member of the group was injured. It would have been enough for a foot that remains stuck in a crack of anthracite soil or an accidental fall. Fortunately, nothing like it happened.
The most difficult thing was to turn back to get back to where we started. I was tired and I felt more and more weary as we moved away from the volcano, which soon turned into a vague halo of fire that I could barely see in the darkness. The dark, silent night was closing in on us. We walked in single file with our headlamps, with wooden sticks.
A light rain began to fall, finally removing the fire we had on the cheeks a few minutes earlier. I shivered, regretting not having taken a warmer jacket. We slowly dug into a narrow path at the edge of a cliff overlooking the sea. I could hear the waves shattering on the shore, but this familiar sound did not have the usual calming effect on me.
The senses awake, I was ready to jump at any time. Curious noises gradually began to emerge from the high vegetation that bordered the path to our left. It was this moment that our guide chose to tell us about the wild pigs were numerous in these places. He advised us to use our walking sticks to defend us as needed.
With each grunt, I used my lamp to light the grass rather than the path. I think I would have been ready to throw myself into the sea from the top of the cliff rather than find myself in front of a wild pig. It's absolutely not rational, I know, but I never have the good reflexes in this kind of situation. I echoed myself saying that I was safe. Seriously, I could not be better positioned.
We finally got to the car safe and sound. While I usually like to take my time to enjoy a meal, I jumped on the tacos, which I swallowed at the speed of lightning before collapsing into my bed. It was a destabilizing experience, certainly, but the memories of this evening will remain engraved in my memory forever.
Day 3 - Rainbow Falls
Today, in Hilo, everyone was waiting for this hurricane. Someone said that she had passed in the night. The fact is that the schools, the Volcanoes National Park and other activities have been suspended. We visit the surroundings of Hilo, while the sky alternated sun and rain every half hour.
Our first stop is Kaumana Cave, a lava tunnel dating back to the eruption of the Mauna Loa. We get there in fifteen minutes, taking the Saddle Road (Hwy 200) and, shortly after the signal of the number 4 mile, we find the entrance on the right. This gigantic casting causes the Thurston Lava Tube to fade because it has formed a tunnel that stretches for 25 miles and is impressive.
Legend has it that the lava flow was stopped at this point, just before entering Hilo, by Princess Ruth who stood in front of the bubbling river and begged the goddess Pele to spare the city. We only penetrated to a certain point because then the path became too risky, between spikes and surfaces made viscous by humidity.
The show, however, is remarkable. The rocks are shaped by the flow of incandescent lava. Up to a certain distance from the entrance, the roots of the trees that surround the cave hang from the ceiling. Returning to Hilo, there is a junction leading to Wailuku River State Park. Even that was closed waiting for the storm, but at the entrance we can admire the Rainbow Falls. These are graceful waterfalls surrounded by dense vegetation.
We had lunch in the center and in the meantime a new downpour hit the city. An hour later it was clear again, so we left north. At a certain point on State Road 19, about a quarter of an hour outside the city, we find the sign indicating "Scenic Drive". It is a scenic road of only four miles, but really spectacular. The road goes into the rainforest up to the ocean.
About halfway, there is the Onomea Trail, which descends from the cliff to two small black beaches through a lush and flower-filled forest. We followed the path (which can only be traveled on foot) which, from the beaches, goes up to a botanical garden, which was closed for the storm!
At the end of the scenic road, there is a small bar with a view of the ocean and great prices where we stopped for a snack. After returning to Hilo, we take a shower and walk out for a beer. It was almost five o'clock. It was sunny and hot, but I put the umbrella in my bag.
Within half an hour, in fact, the sky became black and, while the surfers were preparing for the storm wearing the wetsuits, shopkeepers closed early and set sandbags in front of the doors. At the first drops, we took refuge in the brewery and, as the rain became more intense, we also stayed for dinner. So much rain and not even a thunder, then, an hour later, everything was already past, again.
On the roof I still hear a shower and I hear some thunder. The climate of Big Island is crazy, but it must be taken with serenity. As I said, here is the nature that commands. We must learn to follow the rhythms with a smile, without complaining, but finding the positive side. We thank the wonders that it gives us and accept what we cannot understand.
Day 4 - Mauna Ulu
The hurricane, now downgraded to tropical storm, strike this morning with a heavy downpour that forced us to delay the second visit to Volcanoes NP. The breakfast buffet is spectacular with tea and coffee along with various types of cakes, fresh fruit, the typical sweet rice with bananas, toasted bread, jams and, of course, peanut butter. At 7.30 we are always among the first to fill our dishes.
While waiting for the weather to improve, we did our laundry and jump to the supermarket. When I come back home, I only want to eat vegetables because I find it hard to find fresh ones here. I always find it extra-fried or drowned in strange sauces. I miss salads and tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers, onions and zucchini. Apart from the question of food, however, I continue to love Big Island madly because today has given us another unforgettable day.
At the first glimpse of the sun, we took our car and we ran to the park of the volcanoes. Now we move between Hilo and the Puna District with ease and we reached the goal in a short time. The storm, continuing to sob. It allowed us to make a great part of the journey under an intense blue sky turning on all the colors of nature and sprinkled light rain when it was too hot.
The island, this time, has collaborated, but we still burn every strip of skin because, expecting bad weather, we left the sunscreen in the room. It does not matter as it was worth it! Once again, the paths we followed led us through incredible landscapes. Here time seems to have stopped suddenly, blocking the lava in motion like in a photograph.
Today we followed the Mauna Ulu Eruption Trail, stopping at the numbered points in the excellent guide bought at the Visitor Center. This route tells the story of one of the most spectacular eruptions of Kilauea from the crater Pu'u Huluhulu to the lava shield Mauna Ulu. The guide told us about it by accompanying us through the dramatic scenes of creation and destruction that paraded around us as we walked.
The lava stones, as I said, are beautiful. We seem to walk on a stretch of sparkling jewels. Then we turn and see huge and frightening masses crystallized in the act of exploding, dripping, flowing and devouring the landscape. In the area of the Pu'u Huluhulu crater forests were incinerated and trees turned into black stone sculptures with higher lava cascades and wide than those of Niagara. All this has left visible traces along the path.
The path led us from the frightening fractures next to the old road, through a forest of petrified trees to the top of the Pu'u Huluhulu from which we see the shield of the Mauna Ulu, a mountain created by the accumulation of lava erupted from the crater.
The landscape changes every kilometer and everything is interesting and beautiful because it infuses the feeling of being walking on something alive. In this place I really feel the planet that completes its cycle of destruction and creation. At any time it could open a new fracture, sprouting a lava fountain, activating a new or old crater. Everything is possible and this is why it is so exciting to witness these phenomena.
I am very happy to have entered the kingdom of the Hawaiian goddess Pele who lives in the volcano. I am happy that Mother Nature gave me this sunny day and clouds to visit one of the most beautiful parks I have ever seen.
At the end of the day, we stopped to drink tea and coffee in the only lodge inside the park, provided at the Visitor Center. We enjoyed the steaming drinks while outside the sky was still filled with dark clouds and the temperature dropped rapidly. We enjoyed them, especially because we enjoyed them sitting in an elegant room overlooking the Kilauea caldera.
In the hostel we meet many people. The exchange of advice has always been part of our way of traveling, but in Maui we have for the first time rented an apartment. We will have to look elsewhere for someone to interact to discover the secrets of another island, albeit much smaller than this.
Day 5 - Mauna Kea
In the early hours we have the morning breakfast on the terrace with views of the valley and the sea. Located close to the city on top of a hill, the views are magnificent. Here we go! We take the car to the destination of the day.
We decided to go see the sunset from the top of the Mauna Kea volcano, a legend in Hawaii. We do not want to suffer to arrive just in time. So we go on the Saddle Road. This is a fairly new route, but full of slopes. Driving this road is fun, always with green fields on both sides.
Finally we arrive at the Visitor Center of the volcano. The Mauna Kea, with its 4,207 meters altitude, is the highest peak in Hawaii. If we measure from its real base, submerged under the waters of the Pacific, we would reach 10,203 meters, becoming the highest mountain in the world!
There we find a lot of information, a room to watch audiovisual content and many maps of the area. When we ask the ranger to climb up the summit, he tells us that it is no longer possible. We have once again calculated the hours wrong! Then it is mandatory to go down, as the summit is full of astronomical observatories around the world.
The large telescopes and the light of the cars could disturb the investigations. In addition, the contract of our rental car, despite being a 4x4, stipulates that we cannot go on certain roads of the island, such as the rise to this volcano.
Let's not think anymore, we're on the car, gas thoroughly and up! The sea of clouds over Big Island accompanied us during the climb to Mauna Kea. The first half of the road is sand with stones, without any protection. It is to say, that as we climb, the slope towards the free fall begins to make an impression.
The sun begins to hide and we do not do anything other than to put the total traction of the car and drive the fastest we can. We still do not know how we drove along that road with the car making zigzag and the precipice within walking distance of the wheels.
It was to be the spirit of the volcano, the incredible vision that caused us the evening light on the clouds, or the lack of oxygen in our brain. The fact is that we reached the top as possessed, with adrenaline in top! And there was, in front of us, one of the visions we will always remember of Hawaii.
There is the clouds beneath us, the sun letting out the last rays of the day, and an intense orange color that enveloped the entire summit. We had achieved it! Of course, climbing more than 4,000 meters quickly started to affect us.
We went up and down to see the show from all points of view, and although our legs responded well, it seemed we had done a marathon. The breathing was fast and heavy. It was hard for us to breathe, and some dizziness affected us. We were suffering from bad height? Besides, there was a terrible cold!
We stayed up there, enjoying the show, until the rangers warned us that it was necessary to leave the summit. The imposing telescopes that surrounded us, surely began their work to sweep the universe. There are 12 different countries, including two of the largest optical telescopes in the world.
We start the descent, much slower towards the Visitor Center. We stop at halfway to see the magnificent starry sky that surrounds us. The Mauna Kea is an ideal place for astronomical observations. Its peak, very accessible by road, is more than 40% of the atmosphere, which allows more than 300 clean and clear nights a year.
We had a good time watching distant stars and the moon. We take more than 2 hours to reach our Bed and Breakfast. It's more than 10 at night, but we do it with a permanent smile. What show we have lived. Wonderful! We are tiresome, and we are grateful for the anticipation of buying some dinner previously. It's hard to remember some Hawaiian names, but Mauna Kea, the white mountain has been recorded forever in our brains.
Now I go to bed because tomorrow the alarm is at 5.30 and for this last night the clouds have disappeared and the stars are lit. Now it's time to leave for a new adventure, flying on the island of Maui. Goodnight, Big Island.
Day 6 - Maui
Just 30 minutes of flight separate Hilo from Kahului, but moving from Big Island to Maui is like changing the planet. As soon as we landed, we found the car we had booked in the parking lot. It will seem incredible, but the first thing we noticed is that here is much more traffic, and queues at intersections. I even heard a honking sound, I swear.
Where is the spirit of Aloha? Where is the paradise the leaflets are talking about? What's so beautiful in Maui? I was beginning to regret having left Big Island on this island so touristic and crowded when we stopped at Ho'okipa.
Ho'okipa is a magical place where one remains hypnotized and one forgets the remains of the island. We arrived in the late afternoon, when the light begins to fall. The surfers were in the water, ready to be captured by the waves, while three large green turtles were swimming around the cliff, on the far right of the beach. Ho'okipa is definitely the essence of Maui.
This small island, however, also has something else to offer from a naturalistic point of view. Formed a million years ago over the hot spot where Big Island now stands, Maui then moved north with all the Pacific plate. To testify its volcanic origin, remain the black cliffs and the gigantic crater of Mount Haleakala, the largest extinct volcano in the world. I do not know if we can get up there these days.
We were ready to immerse ourselves in the beach life of this famous tropical paradise. We headed to Kanaha Beach, the most suitable place to do Hawaiian windsurfing that until now I only saw in the videos. I limited myself to swimming in the warm waters of the bay!
We opted for a less demanding trip and take the road to Hana. The village of Hana is located on the east coast and the highway that connects it to Kahului is called Hana Highway. Going through it all, we see beaches and then we go into what everyone calls a beautiful wilderness.
The jungle that covers Maui's rainy east coast is famous for being the backdrop to the filming of Jurassic Park with its giant ferns and waterfalls. In fact, the road is very beautiful and, stopping from time to time, we admire several waterfalls and views of landscapes where it would not be unusual to meet a tyrannosaurus. We travel the entire Hana Highway on a typically tropical day that alternated hot sun with sudden downpours.
It was an interesting and entertaining day, but after seeing Borneo, hearing the tourists defining the road to Hana, a real jungle experience seemed a little exaggerated. Of course, we cross a very beautiful and sometimes wild landscape, but the real jungle is something else. Here the asphalt is perfect, and the signage too apprehensive.
Every now and then there is a bar or a souvenir shop. We never have the feeling of being outside the world as have happened in other places. Returning home tonight, the top of the Haleakala volcano was cleared of the usual clouds. So we stopped on the road to photograph it and, coincidentally, there was Ho'okipa behind us. This is Love! Maui is called the island of love, basically because newlyweds flock here to celebrate their honeymoon.
We had dinner in the room as I like it with pizza on the bed in front of the TV in a very american style! And we have decided that on the last full day on these islands, we want to see one of the most fantastic shows that can be seen. It is the sunrise from the Haleakala volcano. We keep aside water, ready to eat breakfast and lunch, and we went to bed early.
We knew that the road from Wailea to the summit of Haleakala would be long and, the early morning, painful. However, there were unforeseen events that we had not counted on. The new tenants of the apartment next to ours arrived at midnight, very excited, talking loudly among themselves. There are noises of suitcases, closets, opening the tap as if there were no water in that part of the globe. You get an idea. It was 12 o'clock at night.
Day 7 - Haleakala
At 3 in the morning the alarm went off. Waking up at 3 am on holiday seems crazy and sounds so bad. With all the pain in my heart, I got up to take a shower. As advised, I dressed in all possible layers of clothing. As we read that there was a truck that sold fresh coffee on the road that goes up to the park, we did not prepare any hot drink. We do not find any coffee stand. And in the park they do not sell any food or drink.
At 3.30 in the morning we headed to the national park. We cross 1.5 hours of route until arriving at our destiny. As we proceeded along the road that zigzags up to the entrance door, the temperature started to drop and the car's air conditioning do not start. In the end, we had to climb the Haleakala with the windows half open.
Here perhaps the owner of the hotel has exaggerated the schedule. We were among the first 10 cars to arrive. It was all dark and there was no clear trace of dawn! It was extremely cold. As we had already noticed in big island here too the Japanese were wearing ski suits.
Once paid the entry ticket to the park, there were still 30 minutes of road to the summit. The speed limit is 50 km/h, to respect the fauna that lives in this area and avoid accidents. We were going 25 km/h or less because the fog did not allow us to see anything two feet from our noses.
They say that the road is very beautiful up there. Unfortunately, I cannot confirm it, although I believe it. We passed several parking areas. We parked in the visitor center of Haleakala at 5.00 in the morning. A storm of water and wind put the finishing touch to the dense fog that covered everything around us.
Because of the cold, the fuel level decreases more than normal. When we got out of the vehicle, we almost die frozen. Well, I may be exaggerating. There was a group of people next to a guide standing guard in the best oriented viewpoint of the parking lot.
It was more than an hour before the sun came out and the little I could understand of their body language is that this was the last place they wanted to be. We find people covered with blankets of hotels, and some clueless who have not come prepared with flip-flops and short sleeves trying to withstand low temperatures.
We went back to the car, covered ourselves with the comforter and shivered for half an hour. At 5.30 we decided to head for our destination to the viewpoint at the end of Pa Kaoao Trail. We fought against the wind and the rain as we advanced. When we arrived at the viewpoint, we verified that we were the first.
There were 50 minutes left before dawn. We placed the tripod in what we assumed was the best place. We try to protect ourselves from the storm, without much success. 15 minutes before the scheduled time for the sun to rise, some more tourists arrived.
We took positions next to the tripod, which had fallen a couple of times because of the wind. The camera got fogged up. The video player got wet every time I took it out. Our fingers froze. The fog did not dissipate. There was more and more light, but the sun never came out there.
So we went back to the car with our tails between our legs. We covered ourselves with the quilt, turned on the heating and had a little breakfast. How we miss a hot coffee! We waited almost an hour inside the vehicle. The fog was still where it was.
We had planned to cover the first part of the Keonehe'ehe'e Trail and reach the Ka Lu'u o'ka O'o volcano. However, at the visitor's center they told us that there were no forecasts that the storm would subside during the day. We were advised against traveling on any path in those conditions. Until we left the park, the fog did not dissipate. We find a partridge in the parking area of the viewpoint.
And, what happens in Hawaii when it stops raining? There is a rainbow so perfect that it almost closed the circle before our eyes. When we decide to leave the Haleakala National Park, it's only 9 in the morning. We still have the whole day!
We go through the villages of Pukalani and Makawao. The latter reminds us a bit at the American Far West. We even went to a store where cowboy hats come. But our destiny is the village of Paia, where we stop to have a good breakfast and get strength. We decided to buy a souvenir.
We returned home and enjoyed a hot tea. And then a very smoky American coffee. We gave away a day of beach and snorkeling south of Maui. We decide to leave the road to stop on a small beach. Luck is on our side! We know it's not a surfing season, and that's why we did not find many surfers. And fate makes Papalaua Beach an authentic surfers with those who, despite not finding good waves, need to slip with their tables on the sea.
From Turtle Beach, going through Ka'anapali and the entire north coast, we had the opportunity to snorkel in beautiful beaches. There are Balloon fish, butterfly, nemos, giant tortoises but the best was yet to come. One of the times we submerged ourselves in the ocean we began to hear strange noises.
Whales! We were listening to whales! The sound was so powerful that we could barely hear anything else under the water, which we assumed was not far away. It is difficult to explain in words what I felt, because I felt an emotion from the first instant in which the waves brought their song closer to us. Tears sprang from my eyes and mingled with the salt water that surrounded us in what was one of the happiest moments of my life.
When we decide that we already have enough, the traffic queue has disappeared, and we can go back to Lahaina. After the last bath in the pool of the hotel, we dressed to the maximum elegance to finish the route to Hawaii as we like by choosing a good restaurant.
In this case, it is located in the same hotel where we stayed. A magnificent porch in the colonial style building is the ideal place for the last Hawaiian dinner. Oh! a bit expensive, but we enjoy a lot. The night arrives, but we do not want to go to the room. We know that this arrives at the end.
We refuse to leave such a special destination, although we must prepare suitcases. But we do it with a huge smile. Everything has come out wonderful, and this destination has liked us much more than we thought. Mahalo Hawaii!