This whole trip was super relaxed. After a morning of sitting by the pool and swimming and tanning, we would have lunch at the house and get ready for some activities for the afternoon. Two activities I did on the first day with my family on The Big Island (my birthday!) was drive out to the southernmost point in the entire United States. A green sand beach is nearby, but hard to get to, so we skipped it. It’s a very bad dirt road for the last bit, passed some retired wind turbines and then a steep walk down to the cliffs where people have built very high diving platforms. It’s pretty crazy and can best be described in pictures.
My dad has a Seniors pass to the National Parks system, so it was free to get our car into the park on our late afternoon drive home. The semi active volcano had started erupting just 2 days before I arrived, so I was excited! Most of the rim of the crater was blocked off and since we arrived so late in the day, we just stopped at the outdoor visitor center (which had an awesome drinking water spout to fill your bottle up, I approve!) before driving on to the crater outlook (kind of boring) and then driving on to the Jagger Center, which has the active volcano look out. There was steam coming out of the crater when we arrived and we wondered around the extremely informative center. Even though the crater was more active then it had been lately, lava still was not visible from the ground, but “glow” was. “Glow” can only be seen at night and it’s the lavas reflection in the steam that is rising. I really wanted to stay until dark to see it, so we camped out in the car for about an hour to wait until the sun set. TIP: you can’t really tell when you are driving up, but the crater is pretty high up and at least in the late afternoon, it was really cold in the park and we were not prepared when we left the house earlier that day. It was so cold that being in the car was fine, but even running out and seeing the glow, my sister and mother could only stand it for a few minutes to take a peak and then run back to the car. I lasted a bit more time to take some pictures with different settings and then running back to the warmth of the car.
Moral: Unfortunately, we didn’t have more time to spend in the park, but all I really wanted to see was lava and that was complete! And I am a total sucker for geographical points in countries. Highest points, lowest points, farthest east/west/north/south. And none of this continental bullshit. I want the real thing! I love Hawaii because you always get the real thing in both geography and lava. You can not get either anywhere else.