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United States of America (USA)

USA is an awesome place to explore.  Lacking much of the known history that Europe has, United States has a diversity of natural landscape that is hard to beat.  From red rock canyons to massive granite rock formations, to volcanoes, to rocky columns and towers, to amazing waterfalls, to fossil beds and amazing coastlines, United States has something for every nature lover, and every so often, a few things for a history lover.  Here are our recent explorations by state:

Red Road to Puna (Kalapana-Kapoho Road)

The Road to Puna

The Road to Puna (also known as Kalapana-Kapoho Road) is lined with many tree canopies. The windy road made its way mostly along the coast, with frequent views of waves crashing along the shore.

Kohala Coast - Northwestern Big Island

Spencer Beach to Hapuna Beach via Ala Kahakai Trail

The Ala Kahakai Trail is an old trail from the time of the Hawaiian Kings connecting the Kings' roads and fisherman's trails. Currently, only small portions are maintained and signed as hiking trails. From Spencer Beach to Hapuna Beach is a 5-6 mile return hike with fairly minimal elevation gain with occasional short climbs onto lava rocks. Spencer Beach at the north end looked to be a local beach, with many local campers.

Hilo Beaches

Carlsmith Beach is a beautiful beach with many coconut tree islets just off shore. The beach is surrounded by turquoise waters, too choppy for my snorkeling tastes unfortunately, though many other visitors felt very comfortable swimming. There were sharp black lava rocks to walk on (bring water shoes) and white sand-bottomed coves. Carlsmith Beach is probably the most beautiful beach we went to in our attempt to turtle-spot, though we did not spot any here. Parking here was limited and the beach was busy, but for good reason. 

 

Northern Big Island Hikes -Pololu Valley and Waipio Valley

Pololu Valley Hike

This was a very interesting hike which took us through a variety of different landscapes. The 5 mile hike with 1000 foot elevation gain started with a black sand beach after an initial downhill switchback, meadows growing on sand dunes and a very humid jungle of Pandanus and mango trees. Our trail was adorned with giant ferns as we trudged along the mud.