We woke up early, took our time with coffee in our cabin and made our way to Hilo. The drive from Kalapana where we were staying near the Volcano to Hilo would take us about an hour. I was feeling a little low on energy and had a headache which I read online could be caused by vog which is volcanic ash mixed with smog. This was something the area we were staying in was very susceptible to since we were so close to the volcano - so a day far away from it and out in the fresh air was sure to do me some good!
Our first stop was Rainbow Falls, where the water flows freely just over some caves in the cliff. There was a small walk to the top of the falls and at the top was a forest filled with some of the biggest Banyan trees I've ever seen. They were incredible. I walked down towards the largest tree we could see in the forest and felt so tiny standing next to it.
We took the scenic route to our next destination, driving through some beautiful tropical rainforest areas. I remember watching in awe out the window at the vines hanging low from the branches of the giant trees. We stopped off on the side of the road to look at the cliff scenery, the ocean angry against the rock formations that still stood, drove past the Hawaii Tropical Botanic Gardens and stopped on a bridge where you could see a waterfall if you peered off the edge.
The jungle broke and we drove through an uphill road with towering corn pastures on either side, the sun beating down on the windshield. The end of this road turned into a carpark surrounded by trees - almost like a jungle oasis in the middle of a barren field. We reached Akaka Falls and I could hear them in the distance. The hike to the falls was wonderful. It was an easy trail through the vividly green jungle. We crossed a river and the first stop was a lookout to a waterfall in the distance that you honestly couldn't see because of all the overgrown trees. We continued, climbing up stairs and eventually reaching the top of the trees when a metal barrier and walkway full of stairs down started to pave the way for us. At the end of the stairs we reached Akaka Falls and they took my breath away. This is probably one of the most beautiful waterfalls I've ever seen in my life. I loved the way the cliff surrounding it was covered in moss, and the trail of water made it's way down to the ground covered in large rocks and a small cave.
By the time we were finished with Akaka Falls, we were a long way from home - almost all the way on the other side of the island. I wanted to buy some flowers from a roadside stall that I kept seeing while we were here of fresh poppies, but by the time we were driving past the man was already gone. We reached our house at night time, the geckos scurrying away quickly as we walked up the steps to unlock our front door and then reappearing by poking their heads out of random gaps in the veranda rooftop to watch what we were doing. With a head full of sunshine, we layed down only to do it all over again tomorrow.