We went down to see the lava fields. It was windy. I think the walk to the umbilical cord petroglyphs (less than 2kms, return) was more of a workout than a 45 minute spin class.
I was sore the next day.
The contrast of the island’s soft sandy beaches, tropical vegetation— even spam (which should come in WASABI flavor, like the macadamia nuts) was wonderfully met by these petrified fields.
I am enamoured of Big Island. 11 of the World’s 13 climate zones are found here. You can be swimming one minute, in ski gloves the next. If you do undertake such a trip, (to Mauna Loa observatory) I recommend getting a pizza in Waimea before the drive up to the top. And some cold beers too, Longboards I think they’re called, to catch the stars Hawaii style. You’ll see The Southern Cross at certain times of the year. The only state in the US where it can be seen. (Also, the only US state with a Union Jack on the flag). This is where Captain Cook was killed. This is where macadamia nuts (indigenous to Australia) also thrive. This is one of the most isolated archipelagos, and as such the iconic palm tree was introduced here by Polynesians (see the debate on how long a coconut can stay afloat for in the open sea and still germinate. Fascinating stuff).
You can get here for $250 from Sydney if you find the right flight! And then $1 to NYC if you’ve accrued enough miles beforehand with an airline that starts with U, ends in nited.