At the risk of starting to sound like a Christmas Carol, on the third day in Hawaii, we headed over to the Hilo side of the island for a day of ziplining. We’ve done this once before, but it was several years ago on Kauai. A lot of new companies have popped up in the intervening years, with longer and longer lines. This trip, we decided to go with The Umauma Experience, largely due to the ability to zip over the Umauma waterfall.
There were only two other people in our group, so we got through the course relatively quickly, with minimal time spent waiting for our turn. We had a great time, and saw lots of beautiful scenery.
Since we got through the ziplining earlier than expected, we decided to drive the rest of the way down to Hilo and check out a couple of waterfalls. We had seen these sites before, but it was during a drought on the island, so the water wasn’t flowing particularly well. Driving up the road, we stopped at Rainbow Falls, climbing up to the top where I took a moment to rest my feet in the swirling water.
Finally, we drove up to Wai’ale Falls for a quick look. The last time we were here, we hiked up to the top of those falls for a picnic lunch. We didn’t have the same amount of time on this visit, but it was certainly nice to see the waterfall flowing more vigorously.
We ended the day driving back to Kona via a route we’ve never been able to take before: The Saddle Road! This road used to be verboten, a hastily constructed military road that would null and void any rental car contract with so much as a longing glance in its direction. Well the Saddle Road of yesteryear is no more and in its place is probably the nicest highway in Hawaii. The road’s route takes it over the middle of the upper half of Hawaii, right between Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa.
It was the end of the day, so this was mainly a fact-finding mission for us to see how the road was. Since we didn’t know in advance of our trip that the road has had such a total makeover, we didn’t pre-plan for any of the nighttime observatory activities, so this may need to be a part of the island we explore next time. For now, here’s one shot of the sun going down as we were making the descent on the western side.