My 2011 Trip to Hilo, Hawaii
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God blessed me in February of 2011 by allowing me to once again visit Hawaii. I first went to the island of Oahu. The next day I headed over to Hilo on the Big Island and saw some amazing sights.
Here's a photo of the famous Rainbow Falls in Hilo. It hadn't been raining much, so the fall was flowing significantly less than usual when it rains really good.
I went on Saturday to see Akaka Falls, about 20-miles north of Hilo, which is pictured below.
I drove down to Volcanoes National Park Friday night and saw the following glowing lava at sunset. My Olympus digital camera takes great daytime photos, but isn't too great at night in limited light. Still, you can see the glow of the lava. You can't actually see the lava from the park. A picture does no justice compared to actually being there. It is fascinating to say the least. The weather was cool this particular night, about 65 degrees. I drove for about an hour south of Hilo, down highway 11, to get to the Volcanoes National Park.
I actually walked on solidified lava during the daytime...
Here's a dried lava swirl. Pretty neat stuff...
Here's some broken lava so you can see the thickness and what's underneath. The entire mass of the Big Island is an active volcano, but not a violent volcano like Mt. Saint Helens. There are gas vents blowing steam from many locations on island. Interestingly, the steam smells sweet like antifreeze. There are warning signs not to breath the toxic vapors.
There are active lava flows here and there, but not as much as people are led to believe. The spectacular images that you see in photos only occur for a few hours ever 20-years or so; but when they do occur, entire roads are covered with lava (as seen in the 2nd photo below). Lava flows are better seen at night.
Below: A road covered with dried lava. This particular stretch of road has become quite famous in Hawaii because of the lava flow that closed it off. You can see people in the background standing on the lava taking photos.
Below is an underground tube formed by flowing lava. This is one of the attractions at the Volcanoes National Park on the Big Island in Hawaii. There are lava tours available where they'll take you closer to the lava, but I didn't take any tours because there is so much to see and I was only there for 3-days. I saw a lot, but only scratched the surface of things to see. The lava tube below is about 1/4 of a mile in length, cold and damp. You walk down a long descending path of stairs and walkways to get to it.
I took the photo below from where the Volcanoes National Park road dead-ends, because it's covered with lava (the photo I showed you earlier). The water in Hawaii is gorgeous blue. I've never seen water so blue anywhere else. The black rocks below are lava.
If you look closely at the photo above you'll see some palm trees in the background. below is a close-up of this little oasis of palm trees in the lava.
The beautiful coastline photo I took earlier has unstable rocks, which may collapse at any time, and there are several warning signs like this below. Look how blue the water is...
One of the most beautiful sites that I saw on the Big island was the black sands beach of Punalu'u about 50 miles south of Hilo. I drove for nearly 50 miles and never saw as much as a home or a gas station. It looks like a nuclear bomb went off, from all the volcanic devastation. Everything looks dead as can be. I wasn't sure where I was driving too, but didn't want to always wonder what I would have found if I hadn't kept going. Kind of like life in a lot of ways. So I determined to keep driving until I found something to say I drove to, and I found a beautiful site indeed.
The photo below doesn't do enough justice to the absolute gorgeous beauty of the jet black sand, because the photo was taken closer to sunset with the sun low in the sky. My camera doesn't take good night photos. Still, you can see the awesome black sand. The photo makes the sand look grainy, but it's not. The sand is not super fine, but it's pleasantly fine; not course enough to irritate the skin as does course sand. There are signs telling tourists not to ride the turtles. I didn't see any turtles at the time I was there, but I hear they come regularly on shore.
Below I visited Hilo Ukuleles and Guitars. I set my camera on a garbage container to take a timed photo. It came out fairly well I think. I bought some guitar picks and a really great hat (not the one I'm wearing in this photo). It was nice being at Hilo music after reading about it for years on the internet. I also took a photo inside, pictured 2nd photo down...
My 2011 Visit to Oahu, Hawaii