My Hawaiian Adventure!
If you are anything like me and live in a colder climate, the winter months bring thoughts of sunshine and warmth. In fact, right around mid February, that is ALL I can think of! “Is Summer here yet?” or “maybe I can sneak away somewhere tropical!” Well, this winter was no different and I somehow found myself booking flights to the Big Island of Hawaii.
The adventure was incredible, the sun was hot and the scenery was magical. For those of you who have never been to the Big Island of Hawaii I will explain a little. After I landed in Kona on the west side of the Island, my friends and I rented a Jeep. I highly recommend a 4X4 as there are some awesome spots you can only get to with an off-road style vehicle. We proceeded to drive the coast southbound to the town of Volcano. Staying at a quaint Bed and Breakfast I woke up to the sound of more birds than I could begin to identify and then the familiar sound of crowing Roosters in the coop below. After some amazing Kona Coffee (and let me state: I don’t drink coffee, however the local Kona coffee was so amazing I was drawn in immediately by the aroma and the comments from my friends, and decided to pour myself a cup.) But as I was saying… we then headed to Volcano National Park and got out some morning caffeine energy by jogging the rainforest paths, (okay I jogged and they took the short cut). Then we drove for miles across old lava flow where you could see nothing but charred barren ground. Later we headed up the East Coast of the Island and took a Helicopter ride in Hilo over an active lava flow. It was incredible to see hot, molten lava oozing out of the earth and the destruction that only Mother Nature can create. Heading as far north as we could drive on our little “goat trail” we found Waipi’o Valley. Its stunning vistas captivated me as soon as we arrived. That afternoon was spent exploring the shoreline and meeting a small herd of horses wandering the same beach. I spent some time sitting in the trees allowing a mare and her young foal to approach me. The picture above is of a young, bay filly that took the most interest in my presence.
One of my favourite things about the Big Island in Hawaii was how many different landscapes there are in just a few hours of driving. We drove the entire Island in a few days and went from humid tropical rainforest, to miles of lava rock, through endless lush, green acres of cattle, horses and goats grazing, to desert with cacti, and then snow capped mountains and sandy ocean beaches. Yes, it was all there and I explored each and every one.
My favourite area was Waimea. For those of you familiar with this area you might have guessed the same. Waimea is a ranching town based around the Parker Ranch, which was the largest Herford Ranch in the entire world! In the last few years the Parker Ranch has had to sell off a lot of their grazing land and so they have since downsized their herd to about 30,000 head – That is still A LOT of cows if you ask me! The area is beautiful with lush, green, rolling hills and snow capped mountains gracing the horizon. I did also love the beaches. Each morning I found myself snorkeling, paddle boarding or trying my hand at surfing! Paddle boarding quickly became my favourite morning activity. I loved heading out from shore and scanning the horizon for the sight of whales. Yes, I was lucky enough to see a couple Blue Whales while I was drifting.
The wildlife was quite spectacular as well. More birds than you can imagine, hundreds of tropical fish simply a few feet from shore, majestic Sea Turtles sun bathing or floating along beside the snorkelers, and colourful Geckos and other lizards. I’m sure some of you will be happy to know there are no snakes on the Island either! I saw quite a few sneaky Mongooses around, so maybe that has something to do with the absence of snakes.
All in all, my trip was everything I wanted it to be. Full of adventure, animals, amazing sights and of course the warm rays of the sunshine!