Sunday, March 11, 2012

More Hawaiian Adventures - Exploration of Western Coast

Driving in the clouds
Yesterday was another day filled with adventure. Barry and I were in temperatures that ranged from 62 to 86 degrees, and a variety of climates that were sunny, cloudy, misty and rainy. We traveled from the east side of the island to the west to achieve all of this. As usual, we began our day in Waikoloa where it was 86 and sunny. We drove through Waimea where we were in the clouds and rain into Hilo and then the rain forest and waterfalls. Yes, the waterfalls! We finally got to see them.

Inside Two Ladies Kitchen shop
We stopped in Waimea to mail postcards and get gas. I was surprised at the line for the post office. There was a line just to drive into the parking lot, so Barry dropped me off and avoided the line by getting gas. After he picked me up, we drove through the clouds and rain to Hilo. We did not take the scenic route because it was slower and not as beautiful in the clouds. We did drive it last year and enjoyed the views then because it was sunny. Instead we drove through the rolling hills covered with grazing cattle and horses.

Strawberry Mochi
Signs on Two Lady's Kitchen door
Hilo was our first stop on the Western coast. We went to my favorite place in Hilo, Two Lady's Kitchen where we purchased their wonderful mochi! This year they have a new product, grape. We bought the grape, strawberry, peach, blue sweet potato and passion fruit. I wish we had mochi in Philadelphia!! I couldn't wait to return to the car so that we could eat our strawberry mochi. It was as delicious as I remember from last year.

Waianuenue (Rainbow) Falls
After eating our mochi we headed to the waterfalls. I did not realize that it can be fun visiting waterfalls in the rain. In fact, it rained during our visit to all four falls. The first one we visited was Waianuenue, Rainbow Falls. We did not see a rainbow because there was no sun. It was still beautiful. The falls have an 80 ft cascade. We were able to walk up to the top of the falls where there were gigantic banyan trees. As we were walking around at the top of the falls we were lucky to see a beautiful green bird drinking nectar from the flowers in one of the trees. I was even more fortunate to get a picture of the bird in the tree before it flew away!! If you look hard enough you can see the bird on top of the pink flower. He is green on top with a white under belly. the bird also has a white circle around it's black eye. Hope you can find it! He is well camouflaged.
Banyan Tree

Hawaiian Bird in Tree
Our second stop was up the road to see the Pe'epe'e Falls, Boiling Pots. Once again it was raining, but this time hard enough for us to wear our raincoats. These falls are four separate streams falling into a series of circular pools. The cascading water swirls and foams in the pools giving it the name "boiling pots." Even though it was raining, clearly it was not hard enough for the water to fall hard enough for us to see it churn in the pools. It was still beautiful!
Pe'epe'e (Boiling Pots) Falls

Akaka Falls
Kahuna Falls
Our final visit was to the Akaka Falls State Park where you can see several water falls, but is famous for two specific cascades, Akaka and Kahuna. It was now pouring rain, but we were there and did not plan to return to the area again this trip, so it was one of those rain or shine moments where we went forward without the shine. The Park has a ten minute loop trail that takes you to both falls. The falls are surrounded by such green lushness. There were many beautiful flowers. I only took a few photos of the flowers because I wanted to limit the amount of rain that landed on my camera. I was not prepared for the amount of rain we received on that hike. Next time I will need to bring a waterproof case for my camera so I can take more pictures. We followed the recommendation to see the Kahuna falls first. They are located at the lower end of the trail and have a 400 foot drop. We then hiked up to the Akaka falls, the more popular one because it was crowded. Their cascade is 442 feet. I think their popularity was not the extra height, but the level of visibility. Kahuna Falls is nestled further back in the landscape and because of the 400 foot drop you can not get very close to it. Akaka is easier to see. However, our challenge there was the clouds and torrential rains. Many people were huddled in the little shelter by the falls trying to stay as dry as possible.

One of the cattle ranches in Waimea

The Hawaiian Cowboy (Paniolo)
Commemorative boot for 2008 Centennial

 After we left the falls, Barry and I decided to drive back to Waikoloa. We were soaked (well the parts that were not covered by our raincoats.) On our way there we stopped for a second time in Waimea to pick up some food for dinner. While Barry went into the supermarket I took a few minutes to take photos of two landmarks, a statue honoring Hawaiian Cowboys and the Waiomina Centennial. The first cattle arrive on the island in 1793. They were a gift for King Kamehameha I. King Kamehameha III needed to bring Mexican horseman to help subdue the wild cattle that were plundering the island. These horsemen taught native Hawaiians their skills. In 1908, four Waimean Paniolo (Ikua Purdy, Archie Ka'au'a, Jack Low and Eben Low) were the World Champion Steer Ropers in the Cheyenne Frontier Days Rodeo in Wyoming. 

Upon our return to Waikoloa we prepared our dinner, Barry had Hawaiian steak while I ate Ahi, Yellowfin tuna. I do not eat red meat or pork. I usually do not like fresh tuna, I really enjoyed the Ahi. I am glad that I tried it this year. Barry enjoyed his grass feed beef too! Once again we ended our day in the hot tub. I did not float this time because there were several other people in the tub (mini pool.) Also, I burned my thumb on the oven rack while I was cooking my fish so I had to keep my right hand out of the hot water. My thumb is feeling better with the help of Aloe and liquid Advil.

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