Tuesday, July 30, 2013

hawaii: pololu valley lookout & akaka falls

The VIEWS! Oh my word...everything we saw was just incredible!

We rented a car during the week so we got to do a lot of independent exploring {riding on an excursion bus with 5 other stranger couples just wasn't in the cards for us this trip :)} The Big Island really isn't that big - we explored the north end one day and the south end another day.

The Pololu Valley and Akaka Falls are on the north end, which is where we went first. 

It was all SO green - a big change from the black lava rock we'd been surrounded by at our hotel! We weren't sure there was even any green in Hawaii!

I'll admit that I didn't do much planning for this trip. Ryan spent his breakfast time looking up places to go and then we just went - ha! Not how we usually vacation, but it worked for us this time :) 

The Pololu Valley lookout was amazing!   
It doesn't even look real! 
Nice face Ryan :) And no, it didn't smell funny.

We were at the top of the lookout and the black sand was at the bottom. 

Now I bet your thinking to yourself..."Good thing they have their car so they can drive down" or even "That had to have been a lot of steps!"


We got to climb down the super steep mountain hill. There were "steps," only they were made of various shaped, ankle spraining rocks. So glad I wore my sneakers! We saw some people coming up in flip flops and I felt so bad for them! 

Really though, it wasn't that bad....I just missed the Ryan memo that said "we're going a mile straight down rough terrain and then back up so be prepared." All I heard was "you might want to bring sneakers."


I love him.
Pit stop on the way down! This is probably as close as I came to the edge - there was no railing at all and basically a cliff. I kept imagining myself tripping on one of those roots and getting launched threw the cliff brush and onto the black sands.
 View opposite the ocean - mountains for miles.  Gorgeous!

When we got to the bottom I kissed the ground and then we found this awesome log swing!  
 Ryan was super impressed and fascinated with the black sand...I was not. It just didn't do too much for me. I grabbed a few rock "souvenirs" and was ready to tackle the hike back to the car :) 

This is Erin's "ready to leave" face. Haha But in all sincerity, I'm SO glad we got to experience this! It was definitely something I'll never forget!
And back up....
{did you notice Ryan carrying the camera?? I wasn't kidding about tripping and getting launched over the cliff -- I didn't want the camera to go down too! This was taken with my iPhone.}
We were sweating bullets from the hike back up and anxious to get to our next stop. The drive was gorgeous, but I'd be lying if I didn't say I was little disappointed we didn't see a smoothie or shaved ice hut along the way. I looked hard ;-)

It was about an hour drive to get to Akaka Falls State Park - we arrived a few minutes before they closed. That always feels good! 

There was a trail that went in a semi-circle through the woods with close views of the falls. Since we arrived at closing there wasn't anyone there! It was also just starting to sprinkle, but I didn't mind because I was all sweaty and nasty from our previous hike {see above}.
 We took the best selfie we could and then Ryan said "good thing it's not raining."

Then, God giggled and it started pouring....we started running. We sprinted for 1 mile on the trail, up steps, over bridges, and through the parking lot to our car. I could hardly run I was laughing so hard {and it was a serious work out -- I couldn't breath!} -- I felt like a young girl on a date and it was magical. Wet underwear in the car wasn't as magical, but definitely memorable! 
We were about 2 hours from our hotel at this point, soaked and hungry. We ended up at a mall where I got a dry shirt {look for Brave the Run later} and ate at Panda Express. We were starving and I'm pretty sure that was the best Chinese food I'd ever eaten. HA! 

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