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Big Island

July 15, 2009

Fourth of July weekend, parents in town, three day weekend. We jetted over to the Big Island, our collective first visit. Now the Big Island is, as per its namesake… big. We knew it would be impossible to digest in 2.5 days, and so we picked Hilo as our base, opting against the Disney-esque resorts of the Kona side for something a little more authentically Hawaiian.

Stepping off the plane the senses are immediately assaulted, with peaceful violence, by lushness. Hilo is one of the wettest places on the planet, and the foliage bears witness to this fact. We picked up our gas-guzzling, planet-destroyin’ SUV, and headed for the Dolphin Bay Hotel. This modest little row of condos lies just outside downtown Hilo, and though overpriced, is an enjoyable stay. The owner, John, doubles as a font of local knowledge, and is an invaluable resource. He is also the curator of a small jungle garden at the rear of the property, featuring a grove of banana trees that provides part of the fresh fruit breakfast every morning.


Our next stop was the legendary Ken’s House of Pancakes where I ordered one of the more disgusting culinary creations known to man. (That’s a stack of fried eggs, bacon, ham and pancakes.)


We then paid our respects to Pele, the volcano goddess.


Hiked the Desolation Trail.


And explored the lava tubes.


On Saturday morning we hit the farmer’s market.


Then drove down to Ahanalui, a natural hot spring fed by crashing ocean waves.


Instead of fireworks, we watched lava flow into the ocean at dusk.


The final morning before our flight we walked around Hilo, bought some sweets at the iresistable Sugar Coast Candy, and had easily our best meal of the trip at Cafe Pesto.

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