25th Anniversary Vacation – Hawai’i: pt 4

(continued from here)
While at Kailua-Kona, one of my big plans was to take a tour to the summit of Mauna Kea to be among the observatories at sunset, and to spend some time viewing the stars while up there. Unfortunately, the night I had reserved months in advance was one of the few nights during the year that is cancelled due to bad weather. I had even been taking altitude medication in preparation for it. As Mo consoled me at the time, “Well, we’ll just have to come back again!”

We left Kona and drove along the northern half of the Hawai’i Belt Road, skirting around with Mauna Kea on our right the whole way. While we did stop at the Gemini Observatory operations building (in Hilo), that was as close as I got to that dream.

mauna kea
snow covered Mauna Kea peak


The drive along the north/east side of the big island took us through areas very reminiscent of our time in Santa Fe, with dry scrub and even some cactus, yet not too much further along we found ourselves in lush green areas, like at Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden, where we stopped and took a scenic stroll along the sloping trails, or at scenic Akaka Falls State Park.

akaka
picturesque Akaka Falls

We hung out in Hilo before heading to the airport to catch our flight, and while walking along the beach there (the only real sandy beach we saw while on the big island) we watched people carried one after another boat into the water in preparation to do some rowing. They looked they could have been rowers from UH Hilo.

rowers
rowers congregating at Hilo beach

Upon returning to O’ahu for our last two nights, we took up residence at Hilton Hawaiian Village. Mo was impressed with our upgrades, and my manta became “stick with me!”

diamond head 2
back to the familiar view of Diamond Head in the distance

We had talked about renting a car our last day, but instead lounged around and enjoyed ourselves by just relaxing. It was a great way to complete a “mental defrag” before our return to the real world again.


Epilogue:
It only seems right that I get this account of our trip finally completed in time for our actual anniversary day. Happy 25th, hon!🙂
engagement

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