Hawaii’s Volcanoes

When most people think of Hawai’i, they think of paradise. With its lush green islands, dramatic waterfalls, and gorgeous beaches, it’s easy to see why. But what many people don’t know is that Hawai’i is also home to some of the most active volcanoes in the world! So if you’re looking for an adventure, then a trip to Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park on the Big Island is a must.

Volcanoes National Park is about a 45-minute drive south of Hio, and about a two and a half hour drive from Kailua Kona. There are many things to do at Volcanoes National Park — from overlooking the Halema’uma’u Crater which lives on the Kilauea volcano, to hiking lava tubes, to taking a scenic drive through the park, and more! I would definitely recommend coming here to experience being close to one of the worlds most active volcanoes. Check out this YouTube video by GoTraveler — it gives an in-depth look at the two “super volcanoes” on the Big Island — Mauna Loa and Kilauea:

Seeing the glow of the lava lake in the Halemaʻ’umaʻ’u crater after sunset is one of the most popular things to do in the park. Kilauea volcano actually began erupting in late September of last year (2021) in this crater. Take a look at this clip posted by Hawaii Volcanoes National Park’s Twitter during the recent months of its eruption:

I’m sure some of you have heard about it in the news — but there was a massive Kilauea eruption in May of 2018, resulting in lava flows that covered over 13 miles of land — destroying homes and roads along the way. Here’s a YouTube video explaining the eruption from beginning to end:

As you can imagine, it was a frightening time for the residents of Hawai’i. I was in college at the time, so I was away from home and in Arizona. I remember hearing about the eruption for the first time and getting so worried. I followed reports from Hawai’i News Now and KHON2 News every day, while speaking to my family about what it was like back home. The eruption was not close to Hilo where my family was, but it did affect a lot of lives. I remember listening to this podcast below for the first time during this event. It includes information and news about what was happening at the time:

Sedona Day Trip

Hi! My friends and I decided to plan a day trip to Sedona — about 45 minutes to an hour from where we live in Flagstaff. Today was a celebration of my friend Kailey — who is the girl in the pink dress in this video. Her birthday was two weeks ago, but she spent her actual birthday in California with childhood friends, so we couldn’t be with her then.

I decided to do kind of like a “day in the life of” video, where I bring you along with me throughout the day by recording videos of everything I’ve done or experienced.

I started out my day making coffee and ordering breakfast. I took my dogs on a walk, and came back home to get ready for the day trip! We headed to a winery in Page Springs first, where we tried a bunch of different types of wine, had a charcuterie board and roamed around the vineyard while taking photos along the way – a lot of them. The staff were so friendly and knowledgeable — feel free to check out the Page Spring Cellars website! We ended the night by grabbing dinner at a place called “Javelina Cantina” in Sedona. I ordered the steak fajitas and it was SO good.

This video shows most my day out of town, and I added some music to tie it all together! I will probably add some narration in the near future and also add some details about the trip like exact locations and times, so stay tuned!

In this video are myself and my friends Kailey, Alana, Audrey, Wilbur & Conor

Akaka Falls: 442-foot Waterfall Just North of Hilo

‘Akaka (pronounced ah-kah-kah) Falls is a publicly accessible State Park about 11 miles north of Hilo (about a 20-25 minute drive) that features a scenic half-mile hiking trail through lush tropical vegetation and one of the Big Island’s most popular waterfalls.

This photo was taken at the park’s trailhead, where you’ll take a right to start the hike. The trail is paved the whole way, so it’s an easy walk, however there are stairs in some spots – mostly going down – and tiny portions of the walk are uphill, so it is not wheelchair accessible. Although the trail is a short loop, there are so many photo ops along the way. You’ll pass little streams and luscious greenery, like you’re in a rainforest. There’s also two waterfalls to stop and view along the way.

The first is Kahuna Falls, about a third of the way into the trail. Here’s me, posing with my starbucks coffee (these photos were taken in 2019 — which was the last time I’ve been home, sadly).

Kahuna Falls is about 100-feet tall. You can see the sliver of water above the corner of the fence in this picture. There isn’t the clearest view of this waterfall, but it is worth the time to stop and check out because of the beautiful nature that it overlooks. Trust me when I say that it’s a way better sight in person — this just isn’t the best photo angle.

The second waterfall is ‘Akaka Falls. This is the infamous waterfall that visitors come to this park to see. This gorgeous waterfall is about three-fourths of the way into the trail. There’s some downwards steps leading to the lookout, and this is the view as you’re coming down those stairs:

Some people like to skip the whole trail and head straight to this waterfall, so if that’s the case with you, you’ll just make a left at the trailhead instead of a right, but who would want to miss all the scenery and views!? This image below is not mine, but I feel like it perfectly captures the beauty of this 442-foot waterfall, with a better camera than my iPhone.

S. Tunli. (2015). “Hawaii The big Island Akaka Falls.” Commons.wikimedia.org

If you’re visiting the Big Island, ‘Akaka Falls is a must-see attraction. The vegetation is a classic representation of the north-east area of the Island. It’s unique, compared to the rest of the island and it definitely beats a city view — in my opinion. Under Division of State Parks on the Hawai’i.gov website, there is more information on this park like available facilities, directions, and current updates on it’s accessibility. There’s a $10 parking fee if you park in the parking lot, however there’s a street leading up to the lot that you can park on the side of if you want to spare the fee. It’s obviously popular with tourists, so there’s hardly ever a low-traffic day, but I’d recommend going earlier in the day rather than later. There’s also a $5 entrance fee at the trailhead for non-residents, but it’s worth it, and hey — maybe you’ll find a local along the way who can take your pictures!