You see warm sand, turquoise water, palm trees swaying gently, right?
There is a place that matches that description EXACTLY, and it even has a direct flight from Sea-Tac.
Ah, Hawai’i. I wanted to stay forever.
Chris and I visited my sister on the Big Island, waking up to fresh papayas for breakfast and falling asleep to the chirps of coqui frogs. Stunning landscapes, and nice people too. Driving, it’s somewhat rude NOT to wave “hello” to strangers coming down the other side of the road. I loved the flowers in the ladies’ hair and the lilt of their voices. Even the airport security fellas had smiles and winks. It was impossible to be grumpy in a place that friendly.
Chickens ran freely at the side of the road. Hibiscus flowers and orchids grew wild. Below is the endangered silversword plant high up on Mauna Kea.
On the black lava Kona coast, we were amazed by the lightness of the rocks. Taking them would anger the gods, however, so we left everything as we found it. Not far from where this photo was taken is the spot where Captain Cook, who “discovered” the Hawaiian Islands for Europeans, moored his ships during his travels.
On a 4-mile hike across the Kilauea Iki crater floor, the soles of our feet were warmed by the magma deep below. The surface of the crater looks like a cracked asphalt parking lot. But ferns, and even small bushes, manage to push their way into the sun.
We summited the world’s tallest mountain by Subaru Forester — my idea of mountain climbing. Mauna Kea is even taller than Mount Everest if you measure it from its base on the ocean floor. (From sea level, Mauna Kea is 13,796 feet tall, which is just a little shorter than Mount Rainier.) The colors of this sunset make me think of a certain dress from the Oscars!
Mauna Kea is sacred to Hawaiians; it’s where their gods lived. Mauna Kea is also great for astronomers, because it’s the best place on Earth to see the stars. At the summit are 13 telescopes (including the world’s largest), representing 11 nations. Hilo was stormy and wet, but above the clounds it was perfectly clear. We spotted Venus bright in the sky, and easily found Orion’s belt.