The Difference between Vacation and Adventure
Day 2: Hilo to Laupahoehoe Point
The reaction I received when telling those at home that we were renting a VW Bus, circumnavigating the Big Island and camping was well received and even encouraged. There were a few, who were probably more honest and with a well-meaning laugh, wondered what kind of vacation was this going to be?
|Laupahoehoe, Our Camper
From our Hilo motel we were picked-up by the well-baked son of the “Happy Camper” VW bus rental company. And by well-baked, I do not mean he had a great tan. I am finding that Boulder and Hilo have a lot in common. We discovered from “MJ” that his mother and step father bought this company a few years back and resurectited it from recession plunder. They were some of the nicest people. You got the feeling that they really wanted you to have a great experience. They even lent us a grocery-getter while the bus was being prepped. They also have a "grocery" shelf, where previous campers left remaining/unused food stuff for future campers. And upon our departure, “MJ” even gave me a hug...
Hilo, itself reminds me of a smaller, less arid version of San Diego. Probably due to the post WWII influx of military. It’s well commericalized with Walmart, Target and Safeway. We found a Natural Food Grocer as well and stocked up on Rudi’s and Celestial Seasonings. Not becuase we had a hankering for Boulder, but becuase it was the cheapest stuff in the store. I cannot say enough how friendly the people of Hilo are, so long as you are travelling at Island Time. Even in “the city” nothing moves fast.
Our next stop was Honoli’i Beach Park. This is considered some of the best surfing and boogie-boarding on the island. The park itself is improved but also abused by locals. Lots of broken glass and smooth lava rocks. Our daughters found a “lovely” collection of green, white and brown rounded glass pebbles. Shoes are recommended to avoid cutting your feet. Also, the surf is hard and not for the faint-hearted.
Another 3 miles up the road we stopped at Onomea Bay. Here you make a decision - pay 15 bucks/person for the Botanical Garden or hike down to the public estuary. We choose the latter due to our late start and unknown camping situation. Again rough surf was the norm but it also featured a beautiful jetty and crashing waves. We had the entire area to ourselves and played around for 15-20 minutes. The paved ~200 ft. hike back up offered learning moments, as we discussed the tropical rainforest environment.
Thus far, I have really enjoyed Hawaii The Big Island Revealed as a guide book. They give lots of off-the-beaten path tips; which, as you know, we like to do things differently. Along route to a campsite are various waterfalls you can trek back to and also see from the road. Park carefully and get out of the way of traffic, ‘nough said tourist.
|Laupahoehoe Point Beach Park
Finally we came to our stop for the night, Laupahoehoe Point Beach Park. This is the area of the Big Island which has bore the largest brunt of tsunami force. There are constant reminders everywhere about past and future dangers. This area is not for swimming, the constant force of the waves batter the shoreline and makes one reflect on the preciousness of life. 1946 April Fools Day Tsunami
|Remains of 1946 Tsunami
Camper in background
We planned our trip with the idea we would travel the windy/rainy side of the island first. Get it over with before we were ready to kill each other from cramped quarters. So far, I have been surprisingly satisfied with our arrangements. It is much nicer having an enclosed space to “live” in, block the wind and weather and pop the girls up into the bunk. It affords a nice work space for SPF application and the execution of my favorite dance the luagage shuffle. Plus, camping in Hawaii means that the 3am pee-pee call does not require Uggs and long-johns; always a bonus compared to mountain camping.
Did I mention how nice the locals are? A young tattooed couple with pit bull in-tow came over and offered the keiki’s (kids) their unused kites to enjoy the perfect wind conditions. So much for first impressions.
So, to those who find this trip contrary to the notions of a vacation, I offer that a vacation can be acheived by your state of mind at any time, but an adventure is what memories are made of.