Tuesday, February 19, 2008

The Big Island!

Armed with our two kids, two car seats, two baby backpacks, and one suitcase (for all of us!) we flew to the Big Island of Hawaii for the four-day weekend. We had a fabulous time hiking the volcanoes and seeing beautiful waterfalls. We took literally hundreds of pictures so I've tried to limit this but there's still a lot... you might want to go get a drink because you might be here for awhile! :)

The Halemaumau Crater:
It's 11 miles to drive around this crater that's still fuming sulfur gas and steam. We couldn't get over how big it was... hard to believe hot lava was erupting out of this whole area! The smaller crater was emmiting dangerous levels of gases so we weren't allowed to go down into it but normally you can hike the whole area. Steam vents: rainwater seeps into the ground and creates steam when it reaches the hot core. They told us it was only one mile down! Woah!
Devestation Trail:

This little hike was through a rainforest to show you the destruction of the volcano. It was gorgeous and then... ...nothing! This lava flow happened about 60 years ago and the vegetation is just now starting to come back.

The trail ended overlooking Kilauea Iki crater... In 1959, it spewed a fountain of lava in the air 1900 feet for 36 days straight!
You can see a few people walking down there.
The next day, we hiked down into it.

Kilauea Iki Crater: Natalie not so sure about this place.Much better! :)Taking a "Where in the World is Motor Trend" pic. Maybe he'll make the magazine!We got so many looks and smiles because of the kids. :)

Thurston Lava Tube: Such a pretty place.
Natalie and Blake chatting through our picture. :)There are tons of tubes underground that the lava would flow through--this one was made into a tunnel that you can actually walk through to the other side.
Back at home for a quick PB&J lunch. :)
The volcano is currently erupting from a place outside of the park and only visible by air. We were disappointed not to get to see it but we took an incredible drive down the mountain to see all the hardened lava from over the years. It was amazing! The lava would just destroy everything in it's path and then it over time, it hardens, forms new land and then eventually new vegetation starts to grow.
"Pahoehoe"-- made from fast moving lava that curls as it flows
"Aa" lava-- caused by lava that moves slowly, pulling apart as it flows. You can see how much there is. This whole part of the island is still covered in it!
You can see both kinds here-- we're slanted because it was on top of our car. :)
The edge of the island. The lava flows into the water and when it gets to0 heavy, it breaks off causing steep cliffs. The acreage for the island is constantly changing!
Black sand beach. Not too appealing, huh?

Southernmost Point:

This is the southernmost point of the United States. The next landfall is Antarctica, 7500 miles away!
We saw a whale breaching right when we got there!!

Beautiful Waterfalls: Rainbow Falls... can you see it? Boiling Pots Waterfalls
Taking over our roles: driver and navigator :)
So pretty! We are so blessed to live in such a paradise!
Hiking down to Akaka Falls through a rainforest.
It's a 442 foot drop!!
Other Misc. Pictures:

Our cabin actually had electric heat and a fireplace! It was cold because we were at 4000 feet. We saw this sign for free firewood one night and so Brian loaded up the trunk. We later found out why it was free... it was terrible wood and would not burn at all! He tried so hard but we just ended up with lots of smoke. We were disappointed to say the least. :)One night we drove up the Kona coast looking for a good restaurant for dinner. There were only small little towns along the way and it was getting later and later with no prospects. We got turned away at one place because they were full, at another because we didn't have reservations.... and look where we ended up! McDonalds! We were starving so it never tasted so good! :) Blake in a mountain of pillows.
Snow capped Mauna Kea. So amazing to see snow in Hawaii!!
Our cute little cabin. Time to go back home to our island.


Katherine said...

oh my gosh you guys. So beautiful. Mom is still trying to see if we can work the miles so I can come over spring break. That would be amazing. I love the picture of Natalie driving and blake looking at directions. I miss them!!!!! I miss all of you. Hope you have a good day!

The Stallings Family said...

I want to come for a visit!!! I absolutely love the pictures. It would be so nice right about now. We have had horrible weather here. Today we woke up to a sheet of sleet all over the roads. No school today. Last week we had horrible ice storms and school was closed for three days. No snow, just ice around here. It has been so miserable. The poor kids are going stir crazy and so am I!! Gotta love Fort Lost in the Woods!! We were so ready to get out of the house this past weekend, we went to Walmart. WoooHOO!!! I would have rather gone to a waterfall and volcano instead. :( Maybe one day, if you guys don't mind that is, we will come for a visit. We love and miss you all.

The Stallings Family said...

I like your new look!! :)

Randy & Laura said...

Wow, what a fun trip. :) Natalie looks so much like her momma, so cute! It's so nice to see that you can actually get out & about with 2 little ones... we are feeling a little cooped up at the moment because Mandy is too little to do most of the things we want to do right now. She'll be bigger before we know it, I'm sure, then we'll be wishing we could go back to just cuddling on the couch all day. :) Love you!

Jason & Erin said...

Beautiful pictures! Looks like a lot of fun. Is that Hilo that you were on? We landed there when we visited Hawaii but didn't have time to see the sights. Looks like we could have seen a lot! Thanks for sharing!

Diane said...

These pics make me want to hop on a plane NOW!!! Hannah was peering over my shoulder looking at the incredible pics. I asked her if she remembered you Jen (by the way you look beautiful and so much the same). Her response cracked me up. "Of course, she helped paint my closet." I have no idea if that is true, but Hannah does have a much sharper memory than me. She, however, looks NOTHING like she did six years ago!!!

Vicki & Bruce said...

You'd make a great tour guide, Jen! How did you remember all those details about the volcanoes? Very interesting trip for all of us to a place we may never view in person! Thanks for the tour! You're such a cute family!

The Stallings Family said...

I never had any problems with my background. I did get to see your first one (at least I think it was your first one,lol) The one with the sunset and palm trees. It didn't look like it was messing up. I don't know. I only did one look and liked it. :) I do like the guessing of what background you will have next! That's a good idea too. :) Hope you guys had plenty of sunshine for all of us this week. We had another wintery mix. Mostly sleet again....joy,joy. I will trade you?!? Love all the pics. I make Billy see them too, in hopes to get him to really want Hawaii too.

The Hillmans said...

Wow, looks and sounds like you guys had an awesome time. Thanks for blazing a trail to the big island for us. We'll get your notes for dos and don'ts for when we take our trip over there.

Becky Holliday said...

Brian and Jen, I love to check your pictures!!! Looks like you're having fun. I hope to see you again soon. :)

Suzanne said...

Jen! Mad props for taking such a trip with two munchkins. Looks like you had a blast! Haha.

Christy said...

Beautiful!! One of my best friends from high school now lives on the big island and she lives about 5 minutes from the are with the lava park that you guys were at! I have lots of pictures of Melissa there!!

Beautiful pictures, Jen! The kids are so absolutely beautiful!!

Linda said...

Jen...of all the pictures and beauty you shared, I was most taken by how GREAT you look!!!!