Thursday, September 6, 2018

Hawaii Big Island Day Two - North

It's time for day two of my Big Island adventure!  This day, we ventured up north for a day full of hiking and some beaches thrown in.  We got to see some of the most famous and beautiful Hawaiian sights.  Like the other days we were on the island, the weather cooperated and we got to do so much!


Here's a look at how we spent the day:

Puako Petroglyph Archaeological District

Dan and I started our second day on the Big Island by traveling up to the resort area of the island in Waikoloa to pick up my race packet (coming to my next post!).  I heard about a short hike that we could go on, where we see one of the largest collections of petroglyphs (rock drawings, or in this case lava flow drawings).



The walk was short and easy, and it was fascinating to see all of the petroglyphs that were still in impeccable condition, despite being hundreds of years old.


Holoholokai Beach Park

After we finished up the walk, we stumbled upon the most beautiful beach area, just off the main parking lot.  There were some people getting in the water to snorkel, and it's easy to see why- the water was one of the clearest that I've seen anywhere, there were lots of beautiful fish, and there was coral galore!  This is definitely a hidden gem and ended up being our favorite beach that we saw (we went back right before we flew to Oahu!)

Hawi Town
Next, we were off for the northern coast and Hawi.  You might have heard of this little town, because it serves as the turn around point for the bike route in the Ironman Championship!  While we didn't do any biking, we enjoyed walking the streets and visiting adorable gift shops.


We also stopped for some food at a restaurant that came highly recommended to me- Bamboo!  The food was delicious (I got a tofu Cuban sandwich) and the drinks were amazing.  They make traditional tropical drinks, but add in lilikoi (passion fruit) to pretty much everything!  It takes everything up a notch, and our drinks were very refreshing.


Pololu Lookout
We continued on through the town until we reached the Pololu Lookout!  Just a heads up- this is a very popular area and hike, so it gets VERY crowded.  We went in the afternoon and had to park about a quarter mile from the trail head and overlook, so I would recommend getting an early start.


The trail is really easy to follow, and zig-zags down a steep hill to get you from the overlook, all the way down to the beach.  It was a fun hike down, with lots of photo opportunities and chances to enjoy the view.


Once we made it down, we explored the area a bit and took it all in.  It was so beautiful down there, with a beach area, a little runoff lake area, and towering mountains surrounding us.  Luckily there were lots of clouds out, so the weather felt perfect.


Such a beautiful site!  Luckily for us, in just a few days we would be able to see all of these areas from the air, which was even more breathtaking.


Fresh off the Grid Fruit Stand
There's nothing better than some refreshing fruit after a hot hike, and luckily there was a fruit stand right outside of the outlook.  Dan and I both got smoothies (which tasted amazing and fresh) and visited the horses roaming the fields before we went for our next hike!  Side note- there are so many fruit stands everywhere in Hawaii, so make sure you get as much fresh fruit as you can!


Waipio Valley Lookout

For the final hike of the day, we drove around to the other side of the valley and the Waipio Valley Overlook.  This side looked pretty similar to Pololu- just as beautiful, and we got treated to a sunset.


The beaches down there were beautiful, and features miles and miles of beautiful black sand.  This is a very popular spot for surfing, and we saw tons of families out there having a blast!  I heard there were waterfalls too, but we hiked and climbed for a while and couldn't find them unfortunately.


While it might have been fine heading down the hill, the hike back was definitely a challenge!  The road has an average grade of 25% and up to 40% in some places.  In fact, this is the steepest road of its length in the United States!  While you can drive on the road, it was highly discouraged if you're not a local because tourists have been known to get stuck and have to be towed to the top (which can be VERY expensive and clog up the narrow road). 

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