Back on the mainland and back to reality… Just got around to finishing up my edits from the trip so I figured I would fill you in on some updates. The main reason for our trip was to attend a wedding on Kaua’i, and we figured we should stay an extra 3 and a half weeks for a little vacation. Especially after spending the holidays in Montana with a pretty stormy and cloudy winter, we were ready for no shoes, sun, swimming, cocktails, poke, volcanoes, hammocks, hiking, backpacking, skinny-dipping, and anything else that might sound warm.
On our first trip to Hawai’i we found out about a weird rule that Hawaiian airlines has about camp stoves; they don’t allow them. So we decided to fly into Big Island, spend a couple days, leave our stove on the Island, head to Kaua’i for 2 weeks, and then return to Big Island for 10 days where our camp stove would be waiting for us to use on our backpack trip.
Upon arrival on Big Island we headed to Captain Cook for the next couple days. The only thing we did worth mentioning is we went down to Pu’uhonua o Hōnaunau National Historic Park for the sunset where some huge waves were crashing against the shore.
Once we landed in Kaua’i we headed to the store, picked up supplies, and then drove up to Koke’e state park where we would be staying in a cabin for the next few days. Because I was a little hobbled from my knee injury, we were limited to hiking around 5 miles per day. Even still we hit the sunrise and sunset every day, took naps, hiked, and birded. Koke’e is one of our favorite spots on the island and it was awesome to be back and explore some new areas.
First Look at Waimea Canyon Morning Fog Rays (2) Lehua Sunrise Vog Sunrise from Waimea Canyon Lookout (2) Views from the Canyon Rim Trail Two Dimensions Vog Sunrise from Waimea Canyon Lookout Vog Sunrise from Waimea Canyon Lookout (4) Waimea Canyon and Waipo'o Falls Waimean Canyon Colors Waimean Canyon Sunrise at Canyon Overlook Forest Trail Koke'e Trees Waimea Canyon Voggy Sunrise Panorama Waimea Canyon Sunset from Canyon Trailhead Waipo'o Falls Brink and Waimea Canyon
From Koke’e we left the mountains and headed to the beach for some RnR. We beach camped at Anini Beach with a prime camping under a sweet hammock tree. While on north shore we met up with friends from Montana, did lots of snorkeling, went kayaking and zip lining, visited the Kilauea lighthouse the last day it was open before it closed for renovations, and spent a good amount of time in the hammock.
After our stay on the beach it was time to head to Kapa’a for the wedding. Our friends rented a big house right on the water and we spent the next few days snorkeling, drinking, and eating. The wedding was at Moloa’a Beach, where Gilligan’s Island as filmed, in front of a small group of people.
The following day was out last day on the island so we went down to dukes, rented some paddleboards, and learned how to SUP. I was starting to get the hang of it, even though it was a little rough. At lunch we took a break and had too many cocktails. Since I was a little tipsy I thought it was a good idea to wear my sunglasses out on the water, hit a wave and my glasses went into the drink. That was really the only bad thing that happened for the entire month, so I was a little bummed, only because I had to buy a temporary pair that was no good.
After saying our goodbyes we headed back to Big Island and down to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. We spent the next couple days in Kulanaokuaiki campground where we could day hike and explore some new areas of the park. We were able to hook up with a ranger from the park that was willing to offer us a shuttle on a backcountry trip, so the next day we grabbed a permit and headed out to Halape. The plan was to stay there for two nights, then head to ‘Apua for a night to break up the 12 miles back across the coast and lava fields. This was probably the coolest part of the entire trip.
We were super tired and hot when we finally made it to Halape, but it was such a cool campsite. It has a small lagoon for snorkeling and swimming in addition to a brackish pond that feels more like freshwater. It was so nice to be able to swim everyday in the backcountry, and we even snorkeled which was a backcountry first. This was the best snorkeling up to that point in the trip. Lots of cool coral, large schools of small fish, and like a 4ft trumpet fish scared the shit out of me. Or camp spot was super choice also. It had a table and chairs built out of rocks, trees for shade, and a private walkway out to the beach with some decent tide pools.
Sunrise at Halape Morning Coffee Views at Halape Halape Tidepools Spinx Moth Caterpillar Halape Campspot Brackish Ponds at Halape Relaxing in the Shade at Halape Hammock Swing at Halape Halape Sunset Stroll at Halape Sunset at Halape (2) Halape Sunset Halape Campspot (2) Campspot at Halepe (3) Sunrise from our Camp Spot Halepe
The only hiccup that we had was with our fuel can. I used the wrong top and it took me about 40 minutes of hacking away at it to get it open. Wouldn’t have ruined the trip, but having warm food and drinks is one of the small comforts in the backcountry.
Moving day we decided to get an early start to beat the heat. It was a solid plan except when we arrived at ‘Apua there was zero shade and it was crazy hot. We were able to use my hammock and tent poles to create a little shade where we grabbed a nap during the heat of the day. Once the heat broke we explored more tide pools and watched the sunset. The wind was strong that day, creating some huge waves that made for some great photos.
Backpacking to Keahou Backpacking to Keahou (2) Backpacker on the CCC wall to Keahou Corrie at Apua Point Apua Point Apua Point Afternoon Light Evening Light at Apua Point Tidal Flats (2) Evening Light at Apua Point Waves Evening Light at Apua Point Waves (2) Evening Light at Apua Point Waves (3) Evening Light at Apua Point Tidal Flats (3) Sunset at Apua Point Apua Point Campspot Sunrise on Mauna Loa From Apua Point Sea Arch Sunrise Near Apua Point Sea Arch Near Apua Point Corrie on the Lava Fields
Once we came out of the backcountry we rented a small place down in Pahoa where we would spend the last few days relaxing, and get our last of the snorkeling in. We visited the Kapoho tide pools which were amazing for snorkeling. Some of the best for clear water, little to no currents, and loads of fish. I highly recommend visiting them if you are in the area.
The last day we grabbed massages and drove back to Kona via the saddle road. We checked into Uncle Billy’s in Captain Cook, watched our last sunset of the trip from our balcony, had our last dinner and drinks, and headed to the airport the next day.
The first time I went to Hawaii we spent a lot of time camping and moving often. We were able to see a good amount of stuff, but it wasn’t very relaxing. The second time I went was for a wedding and did a little too much relaxing, to the point where I was looking for more to do. This time we dialed it in perfectly. We picked our 2 favorite islands, stay for two weeks each, and only moved every 3-5 days. It was a great combination of relaxing and adventure, and was just what the doctor ordered.
I hope everyone is well and I am looking forward to the spring and getting back on the trail in the mountains here again!