Our trip has sadly come to an end; after driving through Hilo and across the Saddle Road, we flew out of Kona and arrived at LAX at 11pm last night. It was an amazingly fun two weeks of manta rays, sea turtles, rainforests, and volcanoes.
Two days ago we made a visit to the impressive Punalu’u Black Sand Beach, luckily arriving early in the day before we had to heed any warnings about the sand notoriously being so hot that it causes first-degree burns. From there we headed to the southernmost part of the island, which is also the southernmost point in the United States, and home to strikingly pretty coastline, a huge number of horses and cows, and one particularly ornery donkey.
Our final event of the day was a late-night return trip to the Kilauea crater. We were initially turned away before the trailhead by a ranger due to crowds, but that detour turned into an opportunity to visit the Volcano House for a cocktail and viewing of the volcano from a different vantage. We returned to the trailhead about two hours later at around 9pm to hike out to the lava lake overlook, and took a few million photos of erupting lava under the full moon.