In June I was able to knock one of the bucket list and travel to Hawaii! I went with Caroline and her family and it definitely lived up to the hype. We visited the Island of Hawaii a.k.a. "The Big Island" which really is....BIG, twice the size of the other Hawaiian Islands combined! Eight of the world’s 13 climate zones exist there, encompassing Martian-like lava deserts, emerald jungle, paradisaical valleys that front black-, white- and even green-sand beaches, snowcapped mountains, coral forests and an enchanting population of locals.
We were there for 9 glorious days and I'd like to think we got to experience a little bit of everything. For the first 5 days we stayed at a house right on the beach in Puako Bay which is located on the north-west side of the island. This is also the leeward side of the island, so it very dry. The landscape consists of lava rock plains with tall grass that looks like something out of Africa leading up to large volcanic mountains that you might see in the Pacific Northwest. We filled our days here with swimming, snorkeling, SUP'ing, and hiking before heading over to the south-east side of the island.
The windward side of the island is more of what people envision when they think of Hawaii; super lush, green and humid. The reason we made the trip from our beach side paradise of Puako Bay was Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park. Established in 1916 this park encompasses two active volcanoes: Kīlauea, one of the world's most active volcanoes, and Mauna Loa, the world's most massive subaerial volcano. The cool and damp weather was strong contrast to the west side of the island but the past and present volcanic activity was unlike anything I've seen. We spent most of our time here hiking inside the park witnessing the incredible volcanic power that has transformed the landscape.
Hawaii meet and exceeded my expectations, the amount of beauty and adventure that can be had there is astounding. I plan to make it to the other islands at some point but I feel like I've only scratched the surface of what the Big Island has to offer.