Tuesday, June 19, 2007


I just returned from 9 days on the big island of Hawaii and 12 days on Kauai. The three best things I did on the trip:
  1. Snorkelling for the first time. Apparently, I hyperventilate while underwater, but once I calmed down, the coral reef and colorful fish were amazing! Sorry, no underwater photos.
  2. Lava.. I usually think of national parks as overly-cautious places where they terrify you into thinking that the natural world is the most dangerous place to be (if you want to go for a 15-minute hike, you must bring bear spray, snake-bit kit, a gallon of water, emergency flares...) but Volcano National Park actually encourages you to walk through active volcanic craters, rift zones and lava flows. Sure, the really dangerous stuff are off limits, like lava benches that collapse into the sea. However, they still have their hangups at Volcano NP. Rangers told us it would be a 5-mile hike over aa (rough black lava rock) and pahoehoe (smooth black lava rock) to view flowing lava. Locals told us how to get to the same flow from outside the park with a much shorter walk.
  3. Backpacking the Na Pali Coast to Kalalau. Of course I enjoy any backpacking trip with friends... but there is just something special about hiking to a place where you can wear just a bikini and a sarong for five days while collecting mangoes to eat everyday.

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