Continuing the blog about Spring Break on the Big Island, Day 2
We headed across the island along Saddle Road towards Hilo – again, another surreal experience as we drove through barren lava fields. Saddle Road runs along the crest between Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa, thus creating the “saddle” namesake. Saddle Road leads to the access road for the Onizuka Center International Astronomy (which leads to the access road to the international observatories atop of Mauna Kea). The center is named for USAF Lieutenant Colonel Ellison Onizuka, who died in the Challenger explosion. Colonel Onizuka was a native of Kona. Both access roads require 4WD and the observatories require heavy clothing. The thin air is not recommended for children; tour companies will take adults to the center and observatories.
As we passed the access road, we spotted Pu’u Huluhulu (Hairy Hill), a lava cone overgrown by plant growth leaning towards the windward side. As Saddle Road descended towards Hilo, we saw a distinct change in the environment – green growth! We departed Saddle Road for Waianuenue Avenue to access the Boiling Pots and Rainbow Falls.
Boiling pots are cascading waterfalls that appear to drop into pots make of rocks. Boiling pots leads to the Rainbow Falls as the water continues to run down towards Hilo. In Hilo, we visited the Naha Stone outside the Hilo Library. Legend states that Kamehameha lifted the stone to fulfill a prophecy that the person who could lift the stone would unite the Hawaiian Islands:
We also visited the 'Imiloa Planetarium sponsored by the University of Hawaii/Hilo:
Once again, my children grew weary of Hawaiian history, so we headed back to Kona along the northern coast (Hawaii Revealed did not recommend driving along the Saddle Road at night).