Having a bed for the night you would have thought after camping with no pillow I would have had the best sleep, well I didn't. Hilo is on the rainy side of the island and with a window left open it is loud and to top it off in the morning several really noisy lorries went past. 
trek america hawaii

In the morning a few of us decided to go get breakfast and opted for Bears Coffee. A little cafe just round the corner from the hostel. The food in Hilo is amazing and bears coffee didn't disappoint. I had homemade waffles with whipped cream, papaya and banana with an iced coffee. It was filling and delicious. 

Once breakfast was over we decided to walk down to a little farmers market, I love the idea of farmers markets buying local produce and supporting the community. This one didn't quite meet my expectations but there was lots of fruits and vegetables on sale that I have never heard of before. Along with the typical touristy souvenirs you find. I would have loved to have stayed a little longer in Hilo to have a look around some of the shops but we had to get going before most of them opened. 

When we were packing the van, there was a homeless man with the most adorable pup. It makes me sad but also makes me question where homeless people find dogs? But the guy was nice and I also really wanted to steal the pup. 

There is a legend behind Akaka falls although I am told there are several different versions of the legend, the one I heard involves a warrior called Akaka who cherished both his wife and dog, however he was unfaithful and had two lovers who were said to be goddess' Lehua and Maile, when his wife would go to visit her family he would visit one of his lovers. One time his wife returned unexpectedly and calls out for him, he hears and feeling bad he begins to walk back to their home. On the way Akaka falls into a pool at the bottom of the waterfall and is transformed into a stone. His dog torn between fear and loyalty hesitates to jump in, the dog is then transformed into a stone at the top of the waterfall. His wife seeing all this tries to save Akaka but can't and is transformed into a stone near the edge of the falls. The two lovers wept so hard they turned into two small waterfalls along the gulch. I have no idea where these legends come from but I find them fascinating. 
trek america hawaii

trek america hawaii
The falls follow a short hike around the waterfalls, the first fall you will see if you turn right at the start of the trail is the Kahuna Falls which is 100ft, continuing on you come to Akaka Falls which plummets at 442 feet into a gorge. The falls and the hike are beautiful, there was such a lush rainforest and the most spectacular plants and flowers seeing these plants instantly made me think of Jurassic Park, this is how I originally envisioned most of Hawaii to look.

As most of you know may know I did the Southern Sun tour with trek america last year, that tour in comparison felt more action packed to this one even though you spent a lot of time in the van, the van was fun because it helped the group bond. However since we didn't spend a lot of time in the van on this one it also meant instead of services stations we got to visit small towns and see how the locals live. Today we visited Honomu town, a quaint little town full of rustic looking shops, full of trinkets and other wonders. There was this great antique glass shop filled to the brim with knick-knacks, retro clothing and other treasures to be discovered. 

trek america hawaii
For lunch we stop of at this really great beach park, our tour guide had also picked up some new fruit from the farmers market to try which were described as custard apples with a sticky sweet centre. What I loved about this beach park is that there was the family there, having a BBQ with their kids playing in the water and I can only imagine how fun that would be, to have this as your weekend all the time. Growing up in England I feel that is something I really didn't have. It was beautiful place with a stream leading down into the ocean. 

We was meant to be doing an optional activity today of some water activities but due to the rain and the water levels rising it got cancelled. It was slightly disappointing but also not the end of the world. Instead our guide took us on to the Onomea trail. The trail took us to this secluded beach where I took of my shoes and went paddling in a little pool, it was here that I somewhat started to feel like an explorer. We climbed up this hill and whilst most of the group went to sit by the sea I decided to go venturing into the rainforest behind me and I did all of that with my shoes still of, thankfully my feet weren't ripped about. I love the ocean but my heart belongs to forests; I could have spent hours getting lost in there the only thing missing animals to discover. 


The tour included a trip to the botanical gardens which began with (you guessed it) another waterfall; I can't complain though, waterfalls are so beautiful! Next up we did a maze and our tour guide turned it into a little competition; whoever got out first wins a prize! So me and this guy are ready to run into this maze, which was pretty small and you can see people standing up in it, and I was thinking to myself 'yeah I've got this, I know the maze trick' (placing my hand against the wall.) We were both running around like crazy whilst others took it slow, a few hedge jumped but everyone made it out apart from me and two other people, the three of us united to try and get out to no avail, we ended up going back to the beginning feeling like complete failures. It was a lot of fun though. 

The plants were spectacular, my favourite was the eucalyptus tree which honestly looks like someone has painted it, really strange and unusual. I ended up working around by myself for a while and I enjoyed the alone time. I also stumbled across some coconut trees with lots of coconuts on the floor so I ran under these so quickly in fear of one of them falling onto my head. I wish we had more time to look around the whole of the gardens but Hawaii itself is full of so many beautiful plants and trees wherever you look.

Our campsite for the night was the laupahoehoe beach park, the name might sound familiar in 1946 on the 1st April a tsunami hit here. At the time there was a school house which ended up getting swept away killing 24 people, 21 of those being school children, it was so haunting and sad to think about. Hawaii now has alarms that ring out in event of a tsunami. The camp grounds were really nice but again pretty basic with outdoor showers and restrooms with a toilet and sink but you can't really moan when you are camped right next to the ocean. It was my groups turn to cook dinner again tonight and we made a stir fry with tofu for the veggies, afterwards a few of us stayed in making friendship bracelets and chatting away. Starting to feel pretty sleepy I decided to head to bed at around ten pm so I grabbed my wash stuff from the tent and cautiously walked over to the restroom, I had been warned that there was frogs or toads all over the walls; I have a massive fear of them but thankfully I didn't encounter any. Whilst I was brushing my teeth the tsunami alarm went off, it was loud and I was like what the hell. I looked outside to see everyone running, I panicked and grabbed my stuff and ran over to everyone else. By this time the alarms had turned off and even though we could hear the crashing of the waves we had no idea what was going on, we stood around for a couple of minutes watching everybody else leave the campground which made me feel more eager to get out of there. Our guide decided it was best to leave until we knew for sure what was happening so we all hopped into the van to find out. Thankfully it turned out to be a false alarm but honestly I have never been so scared in my life, some nice locals told us it was a malfunction and the had been in contact with the police. It is a scary realisation that the people of Hawaii live with this factor, with the chance of this happening every day. We ventured back to camp, feeling nervous about falling to sleep which wasn't helped by the rain that had begun to fall.

To read about the rest of my Hawaiian adventure click here and if you want like to donate to my fund my travel for Costa Rica to work with animals click here
  1. That waterfall looks so beautiful; Hawaii is definitely on my bucket list now.


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