We got up early again on day 3 and had the same breakfast as the day before. We planned on getting an early start so we could head to a white sand beach for the morning.
Back in Blue, we drove up the road Hapuna Beach. We first went to the bay entrance and it felt like we were on private property so after a little bit of cool exploring we were back in the Jeep to get to the state park entrance.
We really beat the rush to the beach. We were one only people there for most of the morning. A nice local couple came for a swim and offered to take our picture, but other than that it was a quiet and relaxing morning.
We went for a swim and used the free beach gear that we got from Turo. The water was as warm as bath water and crystal clear. A little later in the day, we took a walk along the beach.
This beach was one of the most beautiful places we have ever been. We’re sad this was the only day we had time to enjoy it.
Near the entrance to the beach, there was a little taco stand. We decided that would be the perfect place to grab lunch before heading back to the hotel to get cleaned up.
We both opted for an order of 2 fish tacos each which turned out to be more like 2 fish burritos. They were huge! The first picture is of one order. The tacos were just ok, but they came with awesome mango salsa.
Back at the room, we showered and then we bundled up. You’re probably thinking bundled up? But you’re in Hawaii? Well, our next adventure took us from a white sand beach to the top of Mauna Kea where at any point during the year there can be snow. We have so many pictures that I’m going to randomly throw them into the post.
Hawaii Forest and Trail took us on a tour of this incredibly tall volcano. They are an awesome tour company on the Big Island. It was an amazing wedding gift from Tom’s family. Our guide Jason picked us up at the hotel in a custom off roading bus.
On our ride up the mountain, we shared stories about ourselves with other travelers and Jason told us Hawaiian History, information about the unique ecosystem, and a little folklore.
We stopped about 1/2 way up at an old abandoned sheep farm for dinner. We could already notice the change in the climate. We went from hot and sunny to about 60 degrees and rainy. It was only going to get colder.
We were given the opportunity to explore the farm while our guide set up dinner. When booking the trip we were able to order dinner from a local restaurant called Lava Java. I had the veggie curry and Tom ordered the chicken teriyaki. The food was very good. We were also given water and tea to enjoy.
This stop was to help us slowly get acclimated with the altitude. We had one other stop at the visitor center to help a bit more before we made it to the top. I was a little nervous about altitude sickness, but I was fine.
We finally made it to the top (13,803 feet) just in time for sunset. It was cold (30 degrees), windy, and the ground was made up of fine lava rocks. As we looked out at the observatories we felt like we were in Star Wars.
Here’s a quick video of our time at the top:
We spent about 30 minutes exploring the top of the volcano before heading back into the bus for stargazing.
It grew darker as we drove. It was a pure dark so black that the night sky glowed like diamonds. I wish we had pictures of this, but we did not want to ruin the experience for the other people on the tour. Any amount of light can take away from the beauty.
While stargazing we saw the Milky Way and even Saturn. Our guide Jason would point out constellations and help us with the telescope. It was so cool!
A little while later we were served brownies and hot chocolate which was a good thing because it felt like it was getting colder and colder. We actually had to take breaks on the bus to warm up.
On the way back we stopped at the visitor center to use the bathroom and do a little shopping. We were so tired and it wasn’t even 10 pm yet.
This experience is a once in a lifetime opportunity and it is worth every penny. If you find yourself on the Big Island and only do 1 thing while you are there please make it this. It was romantic and crazy and so so cool! Oh, and if you get Jason you are in really good hands. He’s awesome!
Back at the hotel we were asleep within 30 seconds excited for the next day.