On our third morning in Miloli’i, we woke late and enjoyed a slow morning of packing and cleaning the rental house. We had until 11:00AM for check out and were in no hurry to get anywhere fast. We had a few things on our want-to-do list, so if they happened, well GREAT! If not, life would continue. We were clearly adopting the island attitude.
We set out on Highway 11 toward the south end of Hawaii for a spot referred to as Ka Lae (South Point). I was surprised that we were able to drive right up to the parking
area with ease; I’d expected a hike over rough terrain. We watched fishermen brave the crushing waves with their heavy, large poles and noticed a few whales offshore before we headed out of the parking lot. Taking a right, we made our way to Green Sand Beach, just a short drive from Ka Lae.
I assumed that the “walk” to Green Sand
would be similar to what we’d just experienced at Ka Lae, so we grabbed my camera and a bottle of water each and set out in the direction we noticed most of the visitors walking. As we reached the first red dirt mound summit, we sighed seeing several more we’d need to traverse, but pushed on. Occasionally, a jeep or other off-road vehicle came bouncing past us carrying tourists and one or two stopped to ask if we’d like a ride. We graciously replied no and kept to our original plan. For 30 more minutes.
Then came Dave. Dave put his little truck in park and got out. He had 3 cold bottles of water in his hands and asked if we’d like a ride. We looked at our empty bottles and back at his sweating, fresh bottles of liquid refreshment and I asked, “How much?”
“Ten dollars each,” he said with determination. I thought about how much cash I had in my wallet back in the rental car and replied that I wasn’t sure what I had (because I really didn’t). He said not to worry, he’d accept whatever amount I could pay him and opened the door for me.
As we bounced along in Dave’s truck, Emma leaned to me and commented that whatever I’d read on the internet was not accurate. This would not have been an easy hike. We were all taking a liking to Dave and his little truck, obviously. Dave’s other two passengers had just arrived on the island that morning and were confused by what they were seeing offshore. “What IS that out there blowing water?” Allen, Emma and I rolled our eyes at one another and explained they were migrating humpback whales. The passengers seemed shocked, so Dave offered to take them out on his boat the following day. Of course Dave had a boat for whale watching. After riding twice with Dave (out to Green Sand and back) in his little truck that broke down several times, I couldn’t see myself on a boat with him, but I wished the passengers a good time with him at the end of our journey.
Reaching Green Sand, Dave led us down the natural rock stairway and said we would head back when we were all ready as a group. The climb down into the cinder cone, which was once an extension of Mauna Loa, wasn’t as difficult as I’d read and we marveled over the rich green colors in the sand. Green Sand Beach gets its color from olivine, a silicate with magnesium and iron. It was beautiful. Simply beautiful and very much worth the $30 I fished out of my wallet back at the rental car for Dave.
Reaching Highway 11, we took a right toward Volcano National Park where we’d be staying for the next 4 days at KMC (Kilauea Military Camp). We stopped at Punalu’u Bake Shop for delicious deli sandwiches while we waited for a rain storm to pass and bought a loaf of bread and cinnamon rolls for breakfast the next day.
Before leaving the little town of Punalu’u, we found the famous black sand beach and spent about an hour in search of the sea turtles. Several buses of tourists were in the parking lot, so we steered clear of the crowds and took advantage of the tidepooling opportunities. It was a favorite activity in Alaska and second nature to us water loving people. As we searched for sea creatures, Emma spotted a sea turtle struggling against a wave near the rocks, but we didn’t find any on the beach.
Back on Highway 11, we headed East to KMC and the National Park. Our entrance was free, with our military IDs, and we found the KMC office to check into our cabin. Entering the military building felt so familiar. Regardless of where we’ve stayed across this country, CONUS and OCONUS (continuous united states and out of continuous united states for the non-military folks), military lodging has a similar theme. Military resorts, like Hale Koa and Shades of Green, are definitely an upscale version and not included in this description, but most logding is simple. Simple, thin carpet, very firm couches, standard coffee tables, firm chairs, basic items. They’re also accompanied with an extremely basic and fair price.
Our 1 bedroom cabin was literally steps away from the active volcano, Kilauea. Unfortunately, the rain had brought fog and we were unable to see the lava show that night. It was nice and chilly, so we stopped in at the store and
purchased wood and smore’s ingredients before retiring to our cabin for the evening. It had been a memorable and adventurous day. It had also been the first day we had not heard from Jessi.
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