So it's official. I am now officially old... which is actually totally fine by me. I had way more fun in my 20's than I did in my teens, and I had way more fun in my late 20's than I did in my early 20's, so I'm just going to go ahead and assume that my 30's will be off the freaking hook.Thanks to frequent flyer miles, we headed to Hawaii in March for my birthday, and stayed with one of our best friend from Buena Vista, who now lives on the big island. I've been to the big island before but haven't spent a ton of time there until now. We totally fell in love with it! Nowhere near as touristy as the other islands, and everything is so green and rural - there are tons of big plantations and family farms. The whole island (Hilo included) is so laid-back, friendly, slow-paced, and quiet. I loved it!
Yep, this is still Hawaii... the view from the Keck Observatory on the top of Mauna Kea!
Hiking Hi'ilawe Falls in the Waipi'o Valley:
Now, the really awesome bit. Here's what we did for the actual day of my birthday:
1) The night before, try to sleep a little bit. Not very successful.
2) Get up around 1:30 / 2 am
3) Drive a few hours towards Hilo
4) Park and start hiking another few hours across crazy sharp lava flows in the dark
5) Find the point where lava is still actively flowing into the ocean
6) Sit and wait for the sun to come up
7) Drink champagne
8) Hike back, find a greasy breakfast joint, drive back, pass out around 1/2pm.
Please ignore the cheesy white shoes. I didn't bring anything other than sandals, not realizing we were going to be doing so much epicness - so, on the drive down to Volcano, I stopped and bought the cheapest pair of closed-toed shoes I could find. $4.99 at WalMart, baby! Glad I did - that lava was SHARP. One of the craziest parts of this whole hike was feeling the ground beneath my feet start to get warmer as we got closer to the active lava. I knew we were getting really close when we could see steam coming up from these huge fissures in the ground. Nope, my shoes didn't melt, but for a while I was sure they were going to.
Pretty epic, if I do say so myself :)