WHEN THIS VIEW IS JUST A FEW FEET FROM THE PARKING LOT...

September 26, 2015

 

 

I think it's safe to say that I now have enough #waterfallwednesday photos to last me a few months...

 

This morning we grabbed breakfast at Kilauea Lodge, and after downing the last sip of my intoxicatingly delicious Kona coffee, we returned to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park (HVNP) to explore the Thurston lava tube. If you're interested in learning more about this section of the park, be sure to check the bulletin boards at the Kilauea Visitor Center and Jaggar Museum every day after 9am to view the schedule for the free ranger-guided "Above and Below" hikes.

 

So, where to next? Find more waterfalls, of course! We stopped by Rainbow Falls (pictured above) in Wailuku River State Park first, which is literally steps from the parking lot. While there were a ton of tourists swarming the area, you still feel like you could look up at any moment and see a pterodactyl circling overhead. There were a handful of people lounging around at the top of the falls, but keep in mind swimming is not advised.

 

Akaka Falls State Park was next on the list, and thanks to the recent storms the waterfall was raging. The force of the water produced a massive cloud of mist, and the fragrance from flowers along the path made my walk even more memorable. The mosquitoes weren't that bad today, but when I went to Akaka a few years ago I remember being eaten alive. You don't need DEET, but a spritz of organic insect repellent around the ankles will make all the difference...

 

Akaka Falls SP is just 15 miles from Hilo, so choosing a lunch spot was the next task. Based on the reviews, Cafe Pesto seemed like a solid choice, and we were not disappointed. After a nap and a sunset photo session, we returned to the lodge for our farewell dinner. I've been eating so much seafood on this trip I took a break and ordered chicken, and it was exceptional. We all split a few deserts, and though none of us ordered it, apparently the restaurant is famous for their lilikoi margaritas. I guess I'll just have to come back for that...

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