WAIMEA, HAWAII — We both felt lazy today, so we didn’t do much in terms of excitement. After another great breakfast at the Hilo Bay Hale B&B, we stuck around and chatted with the owner Matthew about travel, conservation, his farm.
Once we finally left town, we headed for the Waipi’o overlook. We had originally planned to hike into the valley, but several of our hosts have said that the people living at the bottom preferred to be left alone by the tourist hordes. When we got to the overlook, there were some interpretive plaques strongly discouraging people from hiking down (“it’s not safe,” “hikers must yield to cars,” “make sure you can handle it” (it is 2000 ft vertically, after all), and there also was a guard at the beginning of the road into the valley. Someone with an all-wheel drive car wanted to drive down, but the guard would not let him. To drive down, you need 4×4!
The overlook was nice, but I guess I got jaded by all the images I’ve seen of valleys in Hawaii (mostly Kauai) and other places we had visited in Hawaii, so we took a few pictures and moved on.
To get to the overlook, you have to drive through the city of Honoka’a, which looks like a healthy small town if ever I saw one in the U.S: Clean downtown with shops, all the basics covered (hardware store, EMT, school, grocery store). It looked like a nice place to live. On our way back, we stopped at the local farmer’s market, and Beth bought some Macademia nut ice-cream.
Our host in Hilo had reminded us of a hike along the backside of the Waipi’o valley starting from White Road in Waimea, so we headed there next. By the time we got there, fog started to roll in and it looked like it might rain. At the end of the road, there was a closed gate with “No trespassing” and “danger” signs. We asked a neighbor we saw in his drive-way, and he said all the cars parked there belonged to people who were hiking that trail. So we forged ahead.
After about 30 minutes, the rain started and we were walking in the fog. A family from Michigan (who by chance have a German friend called “Thorsten”, no relation) was hiking back out and said the trail was getting really slippery and they would try again the next day. So we headed back as well and spent the afternoon at Samuel Spencer Beach Park.
Still not being very motivated, we hung out and Torsten took a nap. We did notice a group of six small kids playing seemingly unsupervised on the beach and in the water. It was refreshing to see that kids could be kids and that helicopter parenting seems not to have taken hold in this park (on this island?) yet.
On our way back to the car, we finally saw a Ne-ne, a distant descendant of the Canada Goose, which a long time ago got blown off course by hurricanes and landed in Hawaii. Since then, the birds have adapted to the island and developed a distinct look. This one apparently has evolved one step further, as it was begging for food.
We rounded out our day with another fabulous meal at the Big Island Brewhaus, where Beth had her new favorite IPA and a marinated steak with lilikoi roasted garlic butter and mushrooms, sweet onions and fries, and Torsten had the Green Chili Burger. Another good find food wise — We’re batting almost 1.0 for food on this trip so far.