day 08 – hawaii volcanoes national park to isaac hale beach


waking early inside, we finally had a chance to shower before we left(inside). the solar showers that we’ve had prior to this have just been too cold to do that when we leave at sunrise. we picked up a few pair of aqua shoes from the military camp general store for later today. when we were back in kona, we attempted to swim with our sandals on, but it was too cumbersome.

our day was optionally 60 miles. it would be 42 miles to the side road, then we would have to either rent mountain bikes or hike for two miles each way. we could leave our bicycles and gear with the person renting the mountain bikes if we rented from him. if we did all of those things, we could possibly see the lava flowing into the ocean. we didn’t. we took the other option, about 42 miles. taking this option was a good choice. there were tide pools and a warming pond that was naturally heated by the volcano. it was all downhill today.

we began the descent down the side of the volcano in the rain. it was cold, though we didn’t get the worst of it. people behind us had complained about sleet stinging them on their legs, arms and face. coasting down at about 25 mph was nice, aside from the sidewinds blowing us either direction. about seven miles down the rain took a break. the same time the rain stopped, we started smelling orchids. there was an orchid farm that was near the road, offering free smells for about a mile. fourteen miles in we were still coasting steadily and the rain picked up again. we had hopes of arriving to the destination somewhat dry. it was beginning to look like that wasn’t going to happen.

on the side roads near hawaiian acres, we met a guy that was jogging. he was from south africa and told us about how he had lived all over the world and had moved here to get away from certain noise that interfered with his pyramids. i wasn’t sure what he was talking about. he took our photo and then a few other cyclists from the tour stopped and started talking with him. industrial mining engineer meet geologists. sera & jaik exit stage right.

we stopped in pahoa at sirius coffee for a break. we sat outside and sipped warm coffee, admiring the road splash all over our legs. rain was slowing and the clouds were beginning to separate. the coffee shop was near a small restaurant that a couple of others had stopped at. we saw a few others pass by, they were heading towards the long route. another couple from the tour stopped and got coffee at sirius while we were finishing our cups. we decided to take the somewhat clear sky as a sign to get out and ride before storms started again.

along route 132 we saw the sign for lava tree state monument and thought it would be a great stop. sure enough, it didn’t disappoint. the trees in the lava tree park were just as it sounds: various trees had been covered in several feet of lava, but ended up creating molds of lava around their trunks rather than burning and being enveloped. they appeared to be large lava spikes coming from the ground. we stayed for just a few moments before getting back to it.

the stretch from lava tree state monument to isaac hale beach park was a tropical wonderland. a large variety of trees were scattered across the horizon with the ocean in the background. koa, monkeypod, palms, banyans and many others provided shelter along the road to the point that we didn’t realize that it was raining until after they had cleared. we continued to the beach park where it looked like it would be raining for a bit. the new weather app that i had purchased said the rain would stop in fifteen minutes and the sky would clear. it didn’t look like it would happen, but sure enough, the sun broke through and everything started drying out. we setup camp while others started arriving.

after we ate lunch we rode a few miles east to the neighborhood where the tidepools were. we locked up our bikes to each other, put on our aqua shoes and started snorkelling. the first tide pool was filled with a few fish, the second was about 35 feet deep and had much more in it. i don’t think i mentioned that i am scuba certified. i have a nice mask that won’t work though. the lower trim would rest right on my moustache, which won’t seal properly. while we were preparing for the hawaii tour, i had done some research on what mask would work great. goggles were the response from everyone. i had ordered us both a set of nice goggles to make sure we didn’t miss the opportunity. so, snorkelling with the goggles is different, there’s more pressure in certain areas. from a cycling accident a few years ago, i’ve got a shattered orbital floor on my right eye. i didn’t take into consideration that diving would create too much pressure on the goggles, pushing on my sinus and old injury. a few times i dove down to the bottom of the tide pools. each time, i felt the pressure of the goggles pushing hard against the shattered floor. it did get irritated, but not instantly.

after spending around an hour in the tide pools, we started making our way back. the tide pools are east of isaac hale beach park, through the kii lava flow of 1955. it looks much older, but i really don’t know how to date lava flows(i’m sure it’d be hot!). the lava flow is only about a mile wide in this area, and it’s a tropical canopy before and after. the warming pond is just west of the lava flow. it doesn’t look like much from the road, just a small beach area. the water flows in from the ocean through a small opening. the water is heated by the lava below the floor of the warming pond. we relaxed in here for another hour, swimming around and getting a cool rain from above.

after getting back to camp, we explored around isaac hale beach a bit. we found some beautiful views and fern tiki carvings. it was getting close to dinner time and that our long day of activities was coming to a close. during dinner the feral cats of the park continually tried to find food to scavenge. the sound of the ocean waves made it incredibly easy to sleep.


photo credit goes to the noise-evading former industrial mining engineer south african pyramid guy.


resting outside of sirius coffee.


just look at that road spray.


a few lava coated trees in lava tree state monument.


caverns inside the lava tree state monument.


caverns inside the lava tree state monument.


sera coasting on the way to isaac hale beach park.


just look at that canopy.


predicted rain for fifteen more minutes.


fifteen minutes later, the rain and clouds start to disappear.


setup while it’s dry-ish.


the road between camp and the other road to the tide pools has been washed out a few times.


kii lava flow of 1955.


tide pools here we come.


tiki carvings on the beach at isaac hale beach.


coastal views at isaac hale beach park.


coastal views at isaac hale beach park.


coastal views at isaac hale beach park.


sera wearing my hoodie at the end of the pier next to the boat launch in isaac hale beach park.


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