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Hilo, Hawaii – Day 6 and Day 7

Day 6 – 23rd January, Saturday

Checking out of Mauna Lani Bay

Packed and bid goodbye to the 5-star luxury life.

Next stop: Road trip around Big Island!IMG_3289First stop: Renting a car!

Everything went smoothly and we were on our way to Hilo at 11:15am. There were 2 ways to Hilo town – through Wimea or the Daniel K. Inouye Highway.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetWe decided to take the Daniel K. Inouye Highway (because it was shorter in terms of distance), through Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea.

IMG_3297The drive was also quite scenic as the highway is in between Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea (there is a viewing point where you can see yourself in between!). These are 2 of the 5 volcanoes that make up the island of Hawai’i.

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*Did you know: Hawaii is pronounced and written as Hawai’i*

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As we could not check-in to our hotel yet, we drove straight to Rainbow Falls.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetThe Wailuku River plunges 80ft in front of a natural lava cave to create the falls.

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Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetToo pretty.

IMG_3318Jump shot on the trails along the waterfall.

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IMG_3328Just a really nice looking tree. 😀

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetIce Cream at Rainbow Falls on a rainbow table.

IMG_3338Hey there.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetWe stopped for lunch in Hilo town at this place called Bear’s Cafe. Highly recommended! Good homemade FRESH food at VERY reasonable prices! The tuna wrap was SO GOOD!

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetAngus beef burger at $6.95?! Trust me, you cannot get this price anywhere else!

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetTahitian Vanilla and Green Tea.

Around 3pm, we checked into our hotel – Hilo Reeds Bay. We spent the rest of the day exploring Hilo town.

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Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetPINEAPPLES!

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetGiant avocados.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetTropical fruits!

Bought some fresh fruits at the market, snacks and drinks for our trip the next day!

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Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetI’m such a sucker for animal biscuits!

In the evening, I went for a nice cool walk along Banyan Drive (the road just outside our hotel).

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetSaw this little shop that had ICE CREAM! When it comes to ice cream, you can never have too many. Quick blueberry muffin and ice cream stop before strolling back to the hotel.


Day 7 – 24th January, Sunday

I woke up before the sun was up to put in a semi-long run along the Hamakua coast. Will blog about it in detail in another post!

I was feeling very sleep deprived before my run but I knew that I would feel so much better after! And I did!

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetRoad trippin’, Maui style (although we were on Big Island)!

Came back to the hotel and it was time to get ready for our journey up North! We wanted to get an early start to cover whatever we had planned.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetGreen apples wherever I’m at!

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetBear’s cafe was so good, we had to go back! Had the Salmon wrap this time. We also packed coffee from Shark’s cafe for the road.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetStopped for this view!

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First stop: Akaka Falls

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Akaka Falls was named after chief ‘Akaka-o-ka-ni’au-pi’o-i-ka-wao. There are many ancient stories (like all the other places) associated with this waterfall.

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It was a 700m loop trail to see Kahuna Falls and Akaka Falls.IMG_4407

Recorded it with the FR 235. 😀 You can see the waterfall!

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetAkaka Falls is the highest free-falling waterfall in Hawai’i. Kolekole stream drops 442ft from the gulch.

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Kahuna Falls is a cascading waterfall and plunges 300ft into Kolekole stream. Kolekole stream cuts a deep and narrow gorge into the ash and basalt of Mauna Kea.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetAfter Akaka Falls, we drove 45mins up North to Waipi’o Valley – the valley of the Kings. It is actually privately owned and they plant a lot of taro, rice and sugar!

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IMG_3502 We might have joked about it.

We were not allowed into the valley due to a dengue outbreak! The valley was huge but we could only see part of it. You can Google to see the full valley. Pretty spectacular!

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetOn the way back, we stopped at Honokaa for coffee and ice cream. It was a Sunday, so majority of the shops were closed!

IMG_3548Spotted a painted church on the way back!

IMG_3550Just a quaint little Catholic church with colourful murals and stained glass windows.

We drove straight back to our hotel – Hilo Reeds Bay. We pumped petrol and bought some snacks along the way. We still had daylight and time to kill so we took a drive ALL THE WAY down South (highway 130) to check out the black sand beach.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetWell, it WAS black but definitely not a sand beach anymore. It was just hardened lava forming a cliff. Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetThe island’s landscape is ever changing.

IMG_3557We were told that we could see the lava flow through the highway but it no longer exists (it was just months ago).

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetThere was nothing much to see there. If you ever come to Big Island, you can give this one a miss.

It was around 5-ish. On the way back, we stopped at Walmart to pick up some food and drinks for our journey to the Volcano Park the next day.

We were cracking our heads on what to eat for dinner and then we came across Ken’s House of Pancakes that was opened 24 hours!

IMG_3564The place was packed! It was a typical American Diner with HUGE hamburgers, sandwiches and PANCAKES! There was something called the Sumo and trust me, the pancakes were bigger than my face.

That’s the end of Day 6 and 7.

Next up, VOLCANO PARK! The highlight of my trip!

Stay tuned!

xoxo

The Grand Canyon: Part II: Sunrise

The alarm buzzed at 4.30am. It was way too early for me or any other normal human being for that matter. It was -10 degrees C outside and the bed seemed like the strongest magnet. The only thing that managed to pull me out of bed was that image of the sun rising before the Canyon. And I knew that I had to see it with my own eyes.

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We left our lodge at 5.15am. We had already decided the night before to head to Hopi Point, one of the two best places to catch the sunrise (the other is Yaki point). Even though we had a car, we had to use their shuttle services as cars were only allowed up to a certain point.

The problem was that while we knew the shuttle bus comes every 15 minutes, we didn’t know how long it would take to get to Hopi Point. So, we had to catch the earliest bus in order to get there before 6.46am (time of sunrise).

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We wasted quite a bit of time looking for the bus stop (there was nobody around, perhaps it was too early).

Finally, after quite a bit of walking, I saw a flickering light in the distance, about 1KM away. I jumped and started running towards it, before fully processing what I had seen. As I approached the light, true enough, it was the bus! I started sprinting because it was already close to 6am. I didn’t come all the way to miss the sunrise. When I made it to the door of the bus, it closed before me but I managed to wave frantically at the driver (my parents thanked me for my legs -Haha!). He was a nice man who was very welcoming. My family was not even within sight at that time but he waited patiently. Luckily, there was only one other couple on the bus. I wouldn’t want a bus load of death stares (for holding them up) that early in the morning.

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The bus ride lasted 10 minutes. We got off at Hopi Point. It was pitched black and there was no one in sight. The lady at the lobby was right about how you would see 12 people during sunrise and 1,200 people during sunset.

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Waiting impatiently.

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The Canyon’s depth, only one can imagine.

The wind was howling and there was no windshield. The thought of having to wait exactly 36 minutes for the sun to rise sent chills down my spine, literally. The bitter, bone-piercing cold was almost unbearable. I couldn’t feel my fingers or my toes.

I killed time and kept warm by doing multiple sets of jump squats, jump lunges and mini sprints up and down along the canyon edge. It worked though, for awhile.

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Thankfully at 6.46am sharp, the sun peeked over the horizon.

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I watched as the fiery ball of flame rose slowly, lighting up the dull morning sky. *Cue The Lion King’s theme song* BAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!

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With each passing minute, the colours of the Canyon wall changed from rocky-brown to a harmonious combination of red, yellow and orange. The sight of the Canyon grew more vivid as streaks of light continued to illuminate every corner of the Canyon wall.

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Sunrise jumpshot!

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It was so beautiful. I was so taken by the sunrise that the cold didn’t bother me anymore. We waited a little longer for the sun to climb higher into the sky. As the grey sky began to fade, the blue sky took over slowly, glazed with hues of red and orange.

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Excuse me while I run to keep warm.

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After shivering in the cold for over an hour, we were famished. We fueled up at Bright Angel Lodge before driving back to Yavapai Lodge.

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Buttermilk pancakes!

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Protein!

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And more protein!

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Somewhere along Bright Angel Trail.

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The stance.

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The jump! Truly the BEST birthday gift that nature had to offer. Everything else from here would be “MEHHHHHHHHH!”. This should make everyone’s bucket list.

With every sunrise comes a SUNSET

NEXT UP!

…..wait for it….