Thursday, August 29, 2013

Day trip: Akaka Falls.

The Big Island is such a unique place with so many different environments and natural wonders. There are active volcanoes, snow capped mountains, lush rain forests, volcanic desserts, black sand beaches, waterfalls, rolling green name it, you can most likely find it in Hawaii.

(I know the correct spelling of Hawaii is Hawai'i but I just can't bring myself to spell it that way. Watch the South Park episode about Hawaii and you'll understand. I don't want to be a jack ass "local" or anything...)

The last couple times we visited we had a baby with us (10 month old Finn and before that 15 month of Liam) so I'd kind of forgotten how much fun it could be to explore. But now that they're bigger, we're really enjoying some of the amazing stuff this island has to offer.

First up? Akaka Falls!

The drive from the south Kohala Coast where we stay to the northwestern Hamakua Coast where the falls are located took about an hour and a half but it was so beautiful, we hardly minded it a bit. We drove from our resort oasis through volcanic dessert, rolling grass ranch land, dense rain forest and the rocky shore. We even made a great discovery along the way - Kolekole State Park - which was so much fun, I'll have to post about it separately.

When we got to Akaka and realized most of the hike to the falls was stairs, I wasn't sure how far we'd get. It's not far - less than half a mile round trip - but Finn has gotten pretty used to having his stroller near by. We bring it when we walk to the beach and even though he is perfectly capable of running the entire way, he usually hops up for a ride at some point.

But our little guy totally knocked our socks off. Not only did he make it the whole way down to the falls, he also made it back...with gusto!

He hardly ever even asked for help. And when he did? There was plenty of positive encouragement to get him through.

And when that didn't work? He caught a ride...
The hike/walk was insanely beautiful. I'd never seen orchids growing wild before and they pretty much blew my mind. 

We raced each other and walked backwards up the stairs and goofed off and before we knew it, we were at the falls.  

Pretty awesome. I mean, like, 450 feet of pure whoa

After the hike we stopped at a little roadside stand to rehydrate with some fresh coconut water (i.e. a coconut with a straw). We also tried raw sugar cane, met the friendliest dog in the world, took some hula girl pics with our favorite stufties and hung out with some peacocks and chickens.

Akaka Falls was a great day trip (especially considering we spent most of the day at Kolekole State Park...) and I'd definitely recommend it to anyone visiting the Big Island. And if you need a place to stay, our condo is beyond paradise...let me know if you're interested in renting! 

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