Friday, March 2, 2012

Thursday: Pololu Valley Beach

On the way to the black sand beach, we stopped in a little hippie town for some coconut water. It blew my previous coconut water love out of the water. It's true: fresh is best! They had harvested and filtered it that morning and I was a happy camper.

After a few more minutes of driving, we reached our destination.

On the Big Island of Hawaii, you can follow Highway 270 until it eventually dead ends at a lookout point over Pololu Valley.

If you take a steep 20 minute hike down the switchbacks there, you will reach a stunning black sand beach nestled in a valley that contains lush pastures, pine trees, and palm trees in close proximity.

A stream flows from the beach back toward the pastures.

Standing there juxtaposes the valley one one side and the rugged beach on the other. This is not a snorkeling beach. The wind whips around the steep cliffs and the waves crash ashore incessantly. But it's desolate and wild and stunning.

You came upon me wave on wave

The black sand is basalt created by lava flowing into the ocean centuries ago and shattering as the hot lava hit the cool water. Time and surf have worn the sand down to a very fine grit.

I can see why ancient Hawaiians lived here until the threat of tsunamis drove them out.

I'd live here if I could. Am I sounding like a broken record yet?

We could've spent all day on the beach, but our growling stomachs inspired the hike out. It was too late to eat at Merriman's in Waimea, so instead we went back the way we came and stopped at Bamboo in Hawi. We were so hungry and this food tasted so good.

This was another town that felt like stepping back a generation in time, so we spend a little while browsing the shops and eating ice cream.

Tahitian vanilla and Kona chocolate chip
Worn out but extremely satisfied, we headed back to the hotel. The day ended with a casual, delicious dinner at Eddie Aikau-- a restaurant named after Hawaii's first lifeguard.

This was the one night we didn't see the sun set, but the day was certainly filled with plenty of natural Hawaiian beauty.

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