Lanai: Trip 2 – Day 2

On our second day, we got up and had breakfast and coffee at the hotel and took full advantage of the big rocking chairs looking out over the front lawn. After breakfast, we packed up the Jeep for our adventures that day.

First stop was the Munro Trail. We didn’t do the whole thing, only the first couple of miles. We found a really cool swing and stopped at a lookout that had some lovely views of Maui and Molokai!

The next stop was Garden of the Gods. The trail there was insanely muddy with tons of potholes due to the amount of rain Hawaii saw in the early Spring. It made for quite the adventure!

After taking in the view for a bit, we kept going down to Polihua Beach. The last time Josh and I were here, it was SO windy we couldn’t even enjoy it. Luckily, this time it was perfect. We sat for a long time and just enjoyed the empty beach and sunshine!

After plenty of sun, it was time to head back! It took us a little over an hour without any stops due to the rough terrain.

Once we got back, we wandered around Lanai City for a bit and relaxed before dinner at Lanai City Bar & Grille. Dinner was at our hotel, so quite convenient! We sat outside and listened to live music for a couple hours to end our night!

Lanai: Trip 2 – Day 1

In April, we took a long weekend trip to Lanai with my mom and Tom. Josh and I left early in the morning on Friday so we could go visit the Lanai Cat Sanctuary, which we missed on our first trip. We picked up our jeep and went to Blue Ginger Cafe in Lanai City for breakfast. After that, we drove back towards the airport to go visit the kitties! We spent three hours (and I could have spent more) feeding them treats, playing with them, and giving them attention. The facility and staff were wonderful and I love their mission. We also sponsored a cat for a year (her name is Ava and she’s pictured below). She’s 11 and SO sweet! Can’t wait to go back!

After we pulled ourselves away from the kitties, we checked in to Hotel Lanai and changed to go pick up Linda and Tom from the airport. After picking them up, we walked around Lanai City for a bit before heading to dinner at One Forty at The Four Seasons at Manele Bay. The dinner setting was beautiful and the food was delicious!

The Big Island: Trip 4 – Day 3

Saturday we woke up and had coffee on our lanai before embarking on a long haul to the Hilo side of the island for a packed day. We drove through the middle of the island and stopped at Kaumana caves first.

After exploring the caves, we drove a few minutes down the road to Rainbow Falls. We spent some time enjoying the falls and the banyan trees.

After exploring, we decided it was time for breakfast at Ken’s House of Pancakes. The goal was to eat enough so we could make it through the day to our late dinner after our hike. We definitely achieved that goal!

After breakfast, we drove through the Puna area and stopped at MacKenzie State Park and to watch some turtles.

We finally pulled ourselves away from the turtles so we could meet up for our lava hike at Kalapana Cultural Tours! Josh and I went with this company before and they are so wonderful. The hike was different than a few years ago (as expected) and we started by riding bikes a couple miles down a gravel road and then hiked the remainder of the way to the surface flow. We lucked out as there were quite a few breakouts. After that, we hiked back to the ocean entry to check that out before hopping on our bikes for the ride back.

After our hike, we were all pretty hungry and ready to relax. We drove back to Hilo and stopped at Pineapples for dinner before driving back to the other side of the island. It was perfect after our long day — good food, good drinks and open air seating!

After dinner, we drove back and completely crashed after much needed hot showers…very excited to sleep in the next day!

 

The Big Island: Trip 4 – Day 1 & Day 2

In the beginning of September, Josh, my mom, Tom and I all took a much needed vacation to The Big Island for a whole WEEK. This is the first trip to another island that lasted longer than a few days for Josh and I…which was wonderful!

Josh and I met them at the airport and we all flew to Kona together. We checked into our hotel in Waikoloa (which was lovely) and then headed to Lava Lava Beach Club for drinks, dinner and a beautiful sunset.

The next day, we didn’t have a ton planned (on purpose) so we could relax and explore where we were staying. We had coffee on our lanai and then my mom and I went on a walk to explore. It was a gorgeous day and we had the walk along the beach mostly to ourselves. After that, we ran to the grocery, took a nap and then got dressed for dinner at Roy’s. Linda had two restaurants that she wanted to eat at and this was one of them. The food did not disappoint and we lucked out with a corner table surrounded by water!

 

 

Kauai: Trip 3 – Day 2

Day two started out with all of us being just a bit sore (maybe not so much Kyle) but the rest of us were feeling it. We made coffee and breakfast and then set out to explore! Our day consisted of checking out the the rocks at the end of the beach that had all sorts of things growing on them, walking the beach and visiting the caves at the end, lounging around camp (including in our tents when it decided to start raining) and then enjoying another beautiful sunset on the beach after it rained. We finished the evening by enjoying the stars. They were absolutely breathtaking. We also made friends with a black kitten. It took everything I had to not take him home with me. ❤

Hawaii Cat

After a long day, Nola has made it to Hawaii! Special thanks to my Mom and Tom for taking care of her for the last few months. She started her day at 5:00 AM ET in Indiana, had a nice two hour layover in Denver, landed in Hawaii at 2:50 PM HST, went through her quarantine inspection and arrived home about two hours later. She’s checking out her new view and settling in.

Gunstock Ranch

Today, we went on a field trip to Gunstock Ranch on the North Shore for fall break. We had a blast hiking, watching the kids swim and leading them around on the horses!

Kauai: Trip 2 – Day 2

On Sunday, Josh and I got up super early to hike to Hanakapi’ai Falls. The hike is about eight miles round trip and we wanted to have enough time to come back and shower before we checked out. We were both really excited to be back on the Kalalau trail for the first time since our “first date”. We had MUCH better weather this time…no rain at all! The first two miles of the trail, we had already hiked when we hiked to Kalalau beach last year. The views of the Na Pali coast are stunning even a half mile in.

We made it to Hanakapi’ai Beach in about an hour. It was amazing to see the beach as it was completely covered by the ocean in the winter when we hiked last year. It was practically empty when we got there.

After we crossed the river, we veered to the left instead of the right to hike to Hanakapi’ai Falls. The hike itself wasn’t too bad…we crossed the river about three more times on our way to the falls and it took us about an hour and a half to get there. The waterfall itself was absolutely amazing. The most beautiful waterfall we have hiked to yet (and we’ve hiked to A LOT). It was HUGE! Definitely worth waking up early for! We spent about 15 minutes at the falls and then started on our way back. Most people hike there to swim and enjoy the pool, but we didn’t have time to stay that long. Maybe next time!

After we finished our hike, we headed back to the hotel to quickly shower and change. We were both starving, so we visited Kauai pasta. It was so delicious, but we were so hungry I completely forgot to take pictures of our amazing food! After stuffing ourselves, we headed north again to visit the Kilauea lighthouse. We visited this last year, but it was under renovation. I wanted to go back and see it now that all the renovations were completed. Surrounding the lighthouse is a bird sanctuary. It’s absolutely stunning with water on all three sides of the lighthouse and beautiful birds flying all around!

After that, we headed to the airport to catch an earlier flight than planned. We were exhausted and ready to come home!

The Big Island: Trip 1 – Day 3

The third day started out with another amazing breakfast and oddly enough no rain! We had pancakes, fruit, toast, coffee and juice. The other two cats also studied us during breakfast, attempting to decide if they should bother with us.

 

After breakfast, we packed up and headed to the easternmost part of the island. Since the winds come from this direction, scientists use this “untouched air” as a benchmark to compare to air in other areas around the world. The lava on this side of the island was also incredibly difficult to walk through!

 

After we stopped for a bit, we headed down a 4WD road to Champagne Pond. We took the road for about a mile along some very bumpy lava and ended up at the pond. The pond is a calm, protected ocean inlet that is completely clear. You could see to the bottom…and it was heated! It was about 90 degrees. When I got in, four little yellow and black striped fish surrounded my legs (of course). So I immediately got out and let Josh entertain the fish while I took pictures.

 

Unfortunately, after our visit to the pond, we got a call telling us our Lava Hike was canceled due to weather. We were both pretty bummed as we had been looking forward to it all day. But we decided to grab some lunch in Pahoa and head back to the Volcanoes National Park to see Chain of Craters Road in the daylight. We had lunch at Kaleo’s and it was just as good as the dinner we had there the night before!

 

Back we went to the park for our third and final time for this trip. It was definitely a good decision to go back. Chain of Craters Road was beautiful during the daylight (pictures below). At the end, you can hike to the current lava flow. Had we known this, we would have planned a bit better and hiked there ourselves. But it takes about 3 1/2 hours to get there and back and we were running out of daylight…so we made the safe decision to come back and do it on another trip (even though we both were DYING to go).

 

We headed back up Chain of Craters Road and out of the park towards the Puna area to check out Kehena black sand beach. It was actually kind of hard to find. It was created by the 1955 lava flow and then it sank three feet all at once in 1975 because of an earthquake. We ended up there during high surf and it was ridiculous. The waves were HUGE and covered almost the entire beach when the tide came in. It was beautiful!

 

After visiting the beach, we headed to the Kalapana Cafe for dinner (Josh) and ice cream (me). Yes…I had ice cream for dinner and it was amazing! We headed back to the B&B to pack up as we had an early morning with a lava boat tour!