Around the darkest days of the year we got a wild hair (hare?) to visit Hawaii.
There were strawberries at the Waimea (Big Island) Farmers' Market.
Not to mention bananas, papaya, rambutan, oranges and lillikoi (passionfruit).
It was Mid-January.
We saw honu (turtles) and whales.
I practiced Tunisian Crochet on the beach.
We smiled A LOT.
Then we got in our little rental car and drove around the north side of the island to Pahoa. On the way we saw Akaka Falls where someone had left a little yarn bomb friendship ring on the rail.
One of the highlights of the whole trip was seeing brand brand new bits of Earth's crust. Excitingly, it is headed right for the little town of Pahoa where our friends live. No big rush or danger, but it may well cut off the highway in a while, and after that, only Pele knows which way she will flow, or if she will stop and simply head elsewhere.
While we were in the area we went to the Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden.
There are a lot of invasive plants and species thriving in Hawaii, and most of the botanic garden was non-native, but it was a pleasant way to spend a few hours.
Two cuties pies were spotted amongst the ferns and bromeliads.
After Hilo/Pahoa we kept going south on the ring road to visit the center of Pele's domain at Volcanoes National Park. On the way we saw where she had obliterated a favorite black sand surfing beach and an entire semi-occupied subdivision in the 1980s and 1990s (maybe you watched this on a National Geographic special) and replaced it with fresh pahoehoe and a new mini-black-sand beach.
On to Volcano!
Volcanoes National Park is not overly huge, but there is plenty for a few days.
The next day we drove down the chain of Craters Road.
We stopped at a Lava tube within a native Ohia Tree forest.
We leaned that the fluffy stuff from new fern fronds was used for nice soft bandages and such.
We saw pictographs, which are largely associated with blessings of new babies.
We saw every shape of lava imaginable.
Best of all, we saw Nene which are an endangered native goose.
We continued to continue southward. Stopping at yet another black sand beach (yes, the sand gets really really hot), I watched a sea turtle haul itself out to bask (I think I stayed 30 feet away like the sign said, so the zoomed in photo may be a little pixelated). Then we drove out a tiny one lane road to South Point.
Southernmost point in the U.S.
Next stop, Tahiti.
Our last few days were spent south of Kailua-Kona at a nice B&B, Kawa'aloa Plantation. We chilled out, watched geckos check out my collection of new Tunisian Crochet, gecko colored dishrags, and watched sunsets before heading back home to good old dark Eugene.
It was just what the doctor ordered.
To be taken annually for best results.