We began Day Three loading up on free bottled water and apples.  Actually, Fancy and Big Kahuna hit the breakfast buffet, truly the champion eaters of the trip. Finally after many hours spent pensively scouring the guide book, The Big Kahuna deemed it a “travel day”. We had a waterfall to see, but not before we climbed to an altitude of heaven. The island, as Fancy explained, is a volcano, and all the hills are where lava lines got pent up, resulting in “lava zits”. Fancy explained the whole thing, as we stopped to pee in the brittle shrubs, check out the view, and shake off the rolling hill nausea. Extra Fancy and I were particularly intolerant to the lurching curves and stomach pitching hills. Kynalu slept, or pulled his hair over his face for most of the drive. Fancy manned the radio dial, which is a huge effort, as Hawaiian radio is for people stuck on an island.

We got to a bridge near Hilo and parked the car. I grabbed the Lava God from Manhattan, sensing that his new home might be close by. Big Kahuna led us into a crack in the jungle, right next to the bridge. The trail was only visible for a few feet before the jungle ate it back up. You’d be grabbing a tree to pull yourself onto a slippery rock. Then over a wee ravine and back into the root systems and mud. It was my “through the looking glass” moment of the day.

We were looking for a cliff dive and walked onto this scene. Now, looking at the photo it seems unreal, but we were there. This is Wai’Ale Falls and the Waianuenue River. We rock hopped and ass slid our way up river, passing the falls to a series of isolated pools. The water was cold, compared to the Pacific, as it was snow run-off, flowing from higher elevation. As we passed the falls it started to rain a little, adding a misty layer of awesome.

We were all climbing in sneakers, except for Kynalu, resplendent in denim, boots and a cardigan. It’s hard not to appreciate his hardcore wearing of inappropriate clothes. So what it’s a wet tropical paradise? So? I had my own issues, climbing with a Lava God is kind of a hassle, so I ventured out to find his home. I scuttled over a couple mounds of lava, and tried to get away from the attraction of the falls. I found a perfect lava island home and left my friend in the rain, surrounded by orchids, and jungle, and mist.

He’s perfectly camouflaged by the lava.

Once I had two hands, it was on. I was a bipedal beast, enjoying the river, like countless beasts before me. There were orchids everywhere, growing out of the lava. We made our way to a set of big pools before the big falls.Fancy and I invented a game, called getting whirlpooled. We both tried to cross the current to get to the other side and both got ejected back to our start points. You’re getting beat up, hitting rocks underwater, but it’s so fun that you happily do it again.

On the trail back, I had some heights issues, but happily found my way back to the trail and safety. Fancy noticed this little guy, I finally met a “rock lobster”.

Then Extra Fancy found this natural chair.

Then we found Tim Burton’s favorite plants.

We stepped out of the jungle and back on the road.

Looking around on the bridge, I found this offering to The Gods.

Then I looked down river. We’d have been fine either way, as usual.

We piled our muddy shoes in the back of the truck and headed to an epic feast at the food bar of Island Naturals in Hilo. We ladies bought oils that smell like vacation, and snacks for the ride home, but this day would not quit. Back in the car, we spotted a gem of a sign in front of a Church. It read: “We’re not Dairy Queen, but we have great Sundays.” Best Day Ever and it was only 2PM.

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