For the first week of our honeymoon, Jon and I adventured around the Big Island of Hawai'i, stargazing at the summit of Mauna Kea, hiking to craters at Kahaulea in Volcanoes National Park to see the Koa'e Kea (an endangered cliff-dwelling bird), visiting an organic coffee farm at Kealakekua, and watching the sunset at Lapakahi State Historical Park. We were fascinated by the stunning grandeur, strange weather, and incredible climate variation of this little lava island. Stay tuned for part 2 of our honeymoon on Oahu!
Where there's smoke, there's a lake of molten lava!
Hiking to the craters with Ranger Dean.
We were able to go off-trail, see the Koa'e Kea, and learn about native plants, thanks to this special hike given as part of National Park Week.
This golden fiberglass is Pele's Hair: thin strands of basaltic glass formed by the wind stretching and carrying molten lava.
This lava rock is LIGHT! It is full of air and feels like styrofoam.
Examining this rock through a scope is incredible--it reveals millions of rainbow-colored hexagonal structures, like iridescent honeycombs.
Almost to the crater.....
Crater #1! It's scary standing at the edge--you can't tell from here, but it goes about 400-500 feet down into the ground.
You can see where a lava flow once poured into the chasm.
Incredible rocks everywhere--the top one reminds me of the cosmos.
Don't worry, I left the stones where they belong. I don't want to invoke Pele's Curse!
Hiking back from the craters.
This incredible plant is named 'ohi'a lehua. It can grow in between the cracks in lava rock, and, in case of volcanic gases, it can close its stoma to keep sulfur dioxide out.
Kahaulea has been continuously active, spewing lava and gases, since spring 2008, which was actually when I was last in Hawaii.
Mauna Loa at dusk....
...Mauna Loa at dawn!
We found this giant avocado lying below an avocado tree at Greenwell Farms. Finders keepers, right?
Are those koi I see in that pond...?
KOI KOI KOI
The plant on the right reminds me of braille.
Coffee 'cherries' (the fruit around a coffee bean) at OHCF.
Big big monkeypod tree.
Drying cacao beans! They reek when they're fermenting, but at the drying stage they smell delicious.
Sweaty fern selfie.
Sunset at Lapakahi.
The Fairmont Orchid was amazing. Such a calm, pretty resort with a gorgeous setting and the BEST staff. I'd love to return someday.
On the way up to the summit of Mauna Kea, we stopped at an abandoned goat farm.
Those are honeybees on the right. Buzz buzz.
At this elevation on the windward side of Mauna Kea, you're perpetually in a cloud.
Almost to the top! Wave 'hi' to Mauna Loa in the distance.
The actual summit, pictured here, is a historic and religiously significant site for native Hawaiians. Hiking to it is forbidden.
There's a timelapse of the sunset over Mauna Kea at the end of this post.
So many stars!!!
Our one and only "fancy" dinner, at Brown's Beach House. :)
The view from our table wasn't bad either! ;)
Late night ping pong tourney. I think Jon won? We were both drinking and not keeping score, haha.
Below is a timelapse I shot of the sunset at the summit of Mauna Kea!