Since Tuesday's beach activity was limited to public access - including various feral cats trying to be caught by the locals - we decided to venture out onto a four wheeling accessible road to hike through miles of lava fields to (finally) arrive at my slice of paradise! The day started out fine until I realized I hadn't brought my camera.
(how can there possibly be a beach at the end of this road???),
the wild billy goats
(with the females of the group each being chased by 8 or 9 males - sheesh),
the top of a bikini left behind on the trail
(who leaves their top behind?),
the abandoned wooden resort buildings from the 50s
(can you say From Here To Eternity?),
and finally the 3 crescent shaped beaches laid out in all their beautiful salty pale blue glory
(the internet pictures didn't do them justice and I don't think my camera would have either!).
Yes, as I mentioned before, I was like a little child at Christmas! My running/hiking shoes were immediately flung onto the beach, my socks were pulled off inside out and tossed next to the shoes, and Bill and I took.off.running. We were giddy. We were mesmerized. We were like little kids at Christmas! I asked Bill as we were running if he thought I had thrown my shoes far enough away from the surf... He didn't seem to think there was a problem so I believed him and kept running to explore those glorious sandy beaches. Exhileration was the word of the day.
After we decided to return to our friends, who had stayed at the first beach, we were caught up in the beauty and the delicious smell that the ocean provided for us. No cares in the world at this point, only feelings of regret that:
a.) we had no camera,
b.) we had no water or food, and
c.) we had no swimsuits or towels.
Dang blast it.
As we approached where our shoes and socks were laying, I noticed that my shoes had gotten closer to the water's edge. Upon further examination, I realized that I only had one sock and that one of my shoes was filled with sand and sea water. Oh.My.Gosh. How lucky was I that my shoe had not been taken out to sea along with its sock?!? I was so thankful that I had both shoes to put back on to hike across those miles of lava and rough road. I'm not sure what we would have done had I lost my shoe and sock. It would have been a nightmare indeed to walk back those 2 miles with one shoe on...Yikes. Bill's back would have been awfully sore from carrying me piggy-back!
Later that day Bill and I ventured on a little field trip to the highest point on the island: Mauna Kea. We filled up a grocery sack with yummy junk food and drove the windy, foggy, narrow road up to the visitors' center. I never thought I would have to wear a sweatshirt in Hawaii, experience freezing toes on the side of a volcano, or feel the sweet relief of hot cocoa in July!
In order to ascend to the top of the mountain, you had to have a 4-wheel drive vehicle or pay big bucks to ride in one of the rigged up vans that were stationed at the visitors' center. We opted to stay at the 9,000 feet above sea level visitors' center, certain we would have become ice cubes with our lack of winter woolies. We truly enjoyed all the wind, all the driving on Mario Kart roads, all the clouds that surrounded us below, and the sunset as it went behind this 13,497 foot high sacred mountain. The history, the lore, the sacredness, and the beauty were highlights of our trip!