Aloha, E Komo Mai!

While all the Hawaiian islands are beautiful, the Big Island holds a special place in our lives. Not just because we live here, but because this is the place that calls to our hearts when we travel abroad, this is the place that feels like home – even before it was our home, this is the place that fills my night time dreams and waking moments with thoughts and visions so beautiful and astonishing that words can sometimes fail me. This blog serves two purposes. One, to share our Inn with you. The Palms Cliff House Inn has been a living dream for more than ten years now, and honestly, we still love being innkeepers! So this blog is a place to share our Innformation and InnNews with you.

Second, This blog is a great place for us to share our Big Island with you. Yes, I could have started a separate blog for that, but frankly, I’m an innkeeper first and time is precious, fleeting, and not in abundance. My desire to share our experiences living and playing here on the Big Island is a priority so, my blog will serve double duty.

I hope you will find information about our Inn and our Big Island that will be both useful and surprising. My goal is to enhance your experience during your visit by sharing with you what our Inn and our Big Island have to offer. Let your adventure begin!

-InnGirl

Lake Wai'au

Lake Waiau is a high-elevation lake located at 13,020 feet (3970 m) above sea level on Mauna Kea, on the island of Hawai'i. It is the seventh highest lake in the USA, and one of very few lakes at all in the state of Hawai'i. It is relatively small, only about 100 m across, and varies in size as the water level rises and falls. This photo was taken when the water was very low, you can nee the water line on the opposite shore.  The name means "swirling water" in Hawaiian, though it is usually rather placid. Legend has it that a mo'o lives in the lake and occasionally you can see it swim across the surface. I myself have seen something move across the lake, but as there are no fish in the lake, I guess it was the mo'o.

According to Hawaiian mythology, Lake Wai'au is bottomless and is the portal for spirits to travel to and from the spirit world. In ancient time, a chief would throw the umbilical cord of their first son, as soon as it fell off the infant, into the lake. It was to reserve the place for the child's afterlife as a chief. Rituals are still performed occasionally in present days.

My elders have told me that when they were growing up their fathers would go up to lake Wai'au and fill a water gourd with water from the lake. When someone in the home became sick they would drink some of the water and get better. They also said the water was always very cold, even on the hottest days, if you drank from the gourd it was always cold.

Lake Waiau is a sacred site. Visitors should not disturb, enter or drink the water of the lake.

 

Hiking Kilauea Iki Trail

Located in Volcano National Park, the Kilauea Iki Trail is both popular and worthwhile. John and I hiked this trail for the first time this past Tuesday and looking back I have to ask myself “What took me so long!”

I’d put this hike at the top of my list for Big Island Hikes. Why? Because you will not only hike along a crater rim, and gaze at spectacular vistas and descend onto the floor of the crater to see the scale of volcanic power up close and personal; but you will also be treated to wonderful walks through old growth ‘Ohi’a forests filled with native I’iwi and ‘Apapane birds that will serenade you with their lovely native songs.

   To begin the hike you will park at the Kilauea Iki Overlook. The Trail starts off to the right (you will be traveling counter clockwise). I recommend hiking the trail as suggested in the trail guide (available for purchase – $2.00 at the visitor’s center). While you are on this hike you will see many people headed toward you – they are folks who have started at Thurston’s lava tube and headed down for a quick jaunt to the crater floor. Few of them will actually do the entire hike. Also of note is that the climb out of the Kilauea Iki Crater is much easier if your hike the trail as the guide suggests.

I should take a moment here to advise that you wear hiking boots, not tennis shoes, crocks, or flip-flops (yes we saw all the above and it was obvious their owners were walking in pain) . Also, I drank 48 oz of water on this hike and was still really thirsty once we got back to the car. So wear a light pack and carry lots of water. We also ate our lunch on the trail – it was plenty cool enough and relaxing. The entire hike took us 2 hours and 50 minutes (including a good 20 min. lunch break). I would rate the trail as moderately difficult, only because walking on crumbly lava requires your attention and where there are steps on the trail down into the crater they are in poor condition, so again, you must pay attention to where you are stepping. Having said all that, as you can see I am not in the best physical condition and I completed the hike with energy to spare.

I recommend using the hiking guide, please purchase a guide at the visitor center as the $2.00 helps support the park and will provide you with information about the 15 points of interest along the trail. There are quite a few opportunities to catch a glimpse of the venting gasses over at Halema’uma’u crater. Amazingly the steam rising from the Kilauea Iki crater floor is steam caused by rainfall and not escaping poisonous gasses. You still need to use care when looking into the steam vents as the steam is very, very hot.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The forest is so beautiful it is difficult not to stop every ten feet to take a photo! But it is a wonderful opportunity to see many of Hawaii’s native species in their native habitat. Don’t forget to look up ans see if you can see any of the native birds. You will hear them, they will sing to you for most of the hike.

Once down on the crater floor I was surprised at how cool it was. there was a strong breeze blowing through the crater so we never felt hot, except when visiting a steam vent of course. In the photo above, the tiny specks in the center of the photo are other hikers. Kind of gives you some perspective of just how big the crater is.

Once across, it is back up into the forest. The shade feels wonderful after the sun in the crater (oh yea, take a hat!) but it is slower climbing out. Take your time and and enjoy the forest again. This forest is a bit different from the first one you waled through. It is younger and thus has fewer native species (meaning more invasive non-native plants) It is still quite pretty though.

 

 

I hope we have inspired you to take this hike when you visit Volcano National Park. There are so many hikes in the park that are worthwhile, but this is a favorite of mine. I hope you will enjoy it as well. -InnGirl