Wednesday was another early day for us. We got up and got ready and drove the long and winding road to Hilo to visit cousins and stand on an erupting volcano. Or something like that. We did stop at Tex to get malasadas because, let's face it, any opportunity for that is to be taken advantage of.
Here we are in front of random bushes somewhere around Lilioukulani Gardens. I have no idea if I spelled that right. Anyway, they are beautiful Japanese gardens. We came here last time and wandered around for a while. This time we had a picnic before heading to Volcanoes National Park.
This is Coconut Island, which is aptly named for the coconut trees all over the place. I didn't take a picture of it this time, but the trees are marked with the water level from a Tsunami that was here in the 1960's. Pretty scary that it could get that high.
Doesn't Dave look just like a tourist in this picture? He was smitten with all of the huge old trees on the island. Mostly because we won't live long enough to see the trees in our neighborhood grow even close to this big!
We even match! That wasn't planned. Here we are with Hilo in the distance. We definitely need to be tan with no hope of getting there.
The Ohi'a Lehua tree is my favorite on the Big Island and only grows in Volcanoes National Park, because it only grows near a volcano. Interesting, no? Here is the story behind it. Trust me - it's awesome.
Here we are again - smiling with an active volcano roaring in the background. I bet there were more pictures of us taken together on this trip than when we got married. Usually I am the one behind the camera.
This is my cute "niece", Abby. In our family all kids are nieces and nephews whether they are the kids of cousins or siblings. That's just how we roll.
My nephew Aiden. He's about 25 days younger than Clara, and such a funny little guy.
Jackson the almost 12 year old. I can't believe he is almost 12. I am struggling with that because I remember so vividly when he was born. AND he was four years old when I got married.
Brina-Boo. She is a few months older than Josh, but seems so much more mature. They are coming to Utah for a few months next year and I can't wait to get them together with Josh and Clara to play.
After we said our goodbyes, Dave and I headed to What's Shakin' Smoothies for dinner, and then stopped at Akaka Falls to say hello to some waterfalls.
This is Akaka Falls - a 440 foot drop. It's really quite cool and very loud after a rainstorm, which is what we had just finished. While we were at What's Shakin' Smoothies it was a downpour so I figured the falls would be awesome. They did not disappoint! Last time I was there, the path leading to Kahuna Falls from Akaka was closed for renovation, but this time it was open so we decided to do the circle. I will never regret that decision!
This is Kahuna Falls, but more importantly - the greenery. Holy COW. And it was teeming with wildlife that was yelling at us from all sides. I will post a video of it - it was so loud and green and wet and we basically had the place to ourselves - which was a bit creepy and weird, but still cool.
This scene was other worldly. I wish you could see it better, but these trees were dripping with white flowers. If you click on it, the bigger image might show them. It was absolutely beautiful.
The rest of the afternoon/evening was a bit nuts. Marlane and Russ were scheduled to arrive that night around the same time as Renae and Matt. The missed their connecting flight from San Francisco to Kona, and ended up having to fly from San Francisco to Vegas to Honolulu and finally to Kona, arriving at 9:30am with no luggage. Dave and I drove to the airport to see if their bags had made it, but no luck. We met Matt and Renae at the car rental spot and drove back to the condo and came up with a strategy for the next day. We knew Marlane and Russ would be exhausted from flying all night. This was the list we came up with:
Renae's dress/shoes for Marlane
The adventure continues tomorrow...