After a long day of traveling and too short of a night’s sleep we woke up in Pahoa on the Big Island, our home for the next five days. Most people choose to stay in bigger cities (‘bigger’ is relative because all cities are pretty small on Big Island) like Hilo or Kona, but I loved the area we chose. Pahoa is a small town where the sound of coqui frogs will lull you to sleep and you have no need for an alarm clock because the roosters will wake you up in the morning. Pahoa might not have the draw of big attractions, fancy restaurants, or the best sandy beaches, but there are certain hidden gems well worth some dedicated time. We headed to Lava Tree State Park [Pahoa-Pohoiki Road (Highway 132), 2.7 miles southeast of Pahoa] to take our first nature walk and it began to drizzle.
We parked in the lot and it began to pour. No worries though, this meticulously maintained and free to visit park is the perfect place to take a walk in the rain. Just to the left of the bathroom facilities was a gazebo. We flipped our hoods up and scurried along the paved path under the cover to watch the rain. We watched a rooster scraping around, unperturbed by the shower. It slowed down and stopped after a few minutes and we were on our way. Everything smelt wonderful post-rain, flowers, Hawaii. The .7 mile paved loop had grip even though it was just soaked. We stopped to look at the colorful and informative signage along the way, and the sun came out.
Before long we saw the odd sculptures described cropping up everywhere! The lava tree molds stood sinister and tall against the lush green background.
The fertile nature of the lava revealed new trees growing out of cracks on certain tree molds. We marveled at the unique shape of each, wondering what kind of tree it could have been hundreds of years ago. Mingled among the tree molds were a myriad of exotic looking flowers and fungi.
In addition to the wonderful sights and smells the world was full of sound. Mongoose rustling about in the brush, birds and coqui chirping, and the soft wind shaking up the leaves in the trees.
A remarkable and relaxing walk around the Lava Tree loop was an ideal introduction into Hawaiian life.