10 December 2006
Living on a Kona coffee farm in Hawaii isn't all work, we do take time off
occasionally. The weather is almost always great for outdoor
activities and being surrounded by ocean, we tend to end up at the
beach fairly often. We also like to go exploring with our GPS and
look for geocaches.
Most geocaches on the island are simple park-n-grabs with the container
hidden under a pile of lava rocks. They're still fun because of
all the new places they take us to. It's great to have an excuse
to hike across lava rock, climb a hill or explore a tropical forest
that we never would have found otherwise.
The most difficult geocache on the island is hidden in the skylight of
a huge lava tube. Just getting there is a challenge because it
requires a long, difficult trek across sharp lava rock with no trail to
follow. The grass is deep enough that you have to feel your way
for each step. Wearing gloves is a good idea because falling down
is nearly inevitable. The lava tube isn't any less treacherous.
You can't tell from the picture but the lava tube is several hundred yards
long if not longer. There are goat bones scattered all around the
floor. It's a pretty deep hole but goats are excellent climbers
so it's difficult to tell if they fell in and got stuck or purposely
went there to find a quiet place to die.
Another of our favorite geocaches is a freshwater pond that is no more
than 50 feet from the ocean. Not many tourists are willing to
make the long hike required to get there so it's a fairly secluded
swimming hole. It's deep enough in spots to jump in as long as
you don't miss and land on the sharp rocks that line the bottom.
For anybody willing to make the hike, this is an excellent place for a
swim and a picnic lunch.
Most of our exploring is done while geocaching but not always.
For our Thanksgiving Day hike we decided to see how far up the Hualalai
volcano we could get. We made it to the first big crater which is
at 6000 feet. It's an impressive crater. While standing on
the edge looking in, we were discussing the big cracks all around the
rim and trying to decide how long they had been there. Some
looked older but some looked quite recent. It wasn't until later
that night that we learned there had been a 5.2 earthquake just that
morning. We hadn't felt the quake because we had been driving on
the bumpy dirt road on our way to the volcano. It's possible that
some of those cracks we were standing on were brand new.
Being surrounded by ocean also provides plenty of places to go
fishing. With such clear water it's fun to watch all the fish
swim after the bait. Occasionally a turtle will join the frenzy
too. The turtles are slow enough that it's easy to move the line
out of their way. Snagging a turtle wouldn't be good.
Besides, there are plenty of colorful tropical fish that are more fun
to catch. If you really wanted to catch a turtle (which would be
illegal) all you'd have to do is walk down the beach and pick one up.
Swimming, hiking, fishing and exploring are all lots of fun but by far
the best part about living in Hawaii is all the visitors we get.
Taking a day off from farm chores is way more fun when there's good
company to go play with us.