Soldier to Soldier Hawaii

America’s wettest city: Hilo – Big Island, HAWAII (+ Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea)

Umbrella? – Check. – Raincoat? – Check. When you’re going for a drive around the Big Island, even though it’s sunny here, it’s certainly raining somewhere.

[music] Hello from the Big Island of Hawaii. Today we’re going from Kona to Hilo, the largest city on the island. Another black sand beach here. [music] Where’s the music? [laughs] Just starting our drive here towards the eastern side of the island.

We’re going to Hilo and we’re going to stop in a few interesting places along the way. This scene is so impressive, lava rocks everywhere you look. Wow.

And you see the path from the volcano to the ocean. [music] This road here is called Saddle Road, and it’s the fastest way to go from Kailua-Kona to Hilo, and vice versa.

– The fastest way around the island. -No, not around the island. Not around the island. This is the fastest way to go from east coast to west coast. What is interesting is that this was once considered among the most dangerous paved roads in the entire state of Hawaii.

That’s because there was poor maintenance, a lot of single lane bridges, kind of like the road to Hana, but with poor maintenance.

The rental car companies even forbid you to drive here. And look at it now. We just passed a broken car here on the road. If that happens, it’s going to be a hassle, because there are no services – right?

– on this road… Nothing along the road. -You call Hilo.

They bring another car [laughs] This is Mauna Loa, the largest volcano in the entire world. the largest because it’s massive. Look at this, all this, one single mountain. [music] This is Mauna Kea. – ♪ Mauna Kea ♪ ♪ Mauna Kea, Mauna Kea, Mauna Kea ♪ -It’s ‘Mauna’ that you pronounce.

– ♪ Mona Lisa ♪ [laughs] We’re going up Mauna Kea. This is the highest point in the state of Hawaii. It’s a dormant volcano, a million years old. [clicks] What happened? Oh, the bag opened.

[laughs] This bag opened on its own. It’s the low pressure as we go up.

How crazy, totally crazy! You can go all the way to the top, almost 14,000 feet. But today, we won’t.

If you want to go all the way to the summit, you should definitely check in advance the conditions of the road, if the road is open or not. We already know that the road is closed because of the weather, so we’ll go as high as we can. As we saw from the plane, both mountains are covered with snow Also to reach the summit, you must be in a 4×4 vehicle, because the road is not paved after a certain point. I think we should have a view from here, but it’s fully covered by clouds. If you’re certain you want to go up to the summit, and you have the appropriate vehicle, you should spend at least half an hour here at the Visitor Information Center, just to get acclimatized.

Altitude sickness is a real problem here. You’d be at almost 14,000 feet up there.

Temperatures can be below 10 degrees Fahrenheit, but with the wind, it may feel like minus 40 up there. Also the UV light will be very intense. Less oxygen than at sea level Altitude sickness causes severe headaches, drowsiness, vomiting, and other very serious things that could be life-threatening.

If you want to go up hiking, you can do that. You need to register here. It says there that we can’t go up. The road is closed because of snow Can you believe? Snow in Hawaii?

– You’re kidding me? No. – Yeah. – I think you’re lying. – No, no.

– There is no snow in Hawaii. – Of course there is. – No, there isn’t. – It’s totally covered. – There is beach and sand.

– The road is covered with snow. – There’s beach and sand. -In Hawaii! Snow! – Can we go skiing?

– Here? – Yeah.

– No! – Skiing in Hawaii. [laughs] – No, not so much.

[music] You know something very interesting? This is the tallest mountain in the world if you take into comparison the height since the beginning of the mountain, since the base below the ocean level. Mount Everest has all the fame, but it’s above sea level. This one starts way below, all the way down there in the ocean. Mount Everest is 29,000 feet tall.

This one is 33,500 feet tall. That is 8,800 meters for Mount Everest, 10,000 meters for Mauna Kea. That’s our limit, 9,200 feet. Everybody here is really just coming until the Visitor Information Center. From here, everybody is turning around and going down.

Bye. [music] Just made it to Hilo, and guess what? It is raining. [laughs] And there’s a very interesting location here just arriving in town. This stone right here, this is the Naha Stone.

There was a prophecy in old Hawaii that whoever managed to move this stone here would be able to unite the entire Hawaii.

Remember that I mentioned in previous vlogs that all islands were independent? They had their own kings…

The prophecy said that the person would be able to unite the entire Hawaii, not only that, but would also become the greatest king of all time. And guess who did? Kamehameha. He was the king that I mentioned in previous vlogs, exactly for uniting Hawaii. Very important king here in Hawaii.

And he did that when he was 14 years old. This stone weighs 5,000 pounds, about 2,200 kilos. And the story continues, He not only moved, but also lifted one of the sides. Naha Stone is located right in front of Hilo Public Library. This is Downtown Hilo, and we’ll be back later.

First, we want to see the main attraction on the east coast of the Big Island: Akaka Falls. And that’s 20 minutes north. But we were about to be surprised along the way. From here on, we could have chosen the fast route, but we chose the scenic route.

It’s like all of a sudden, we left the city, and we’re driving through a forest.

Beautiful, right? – Jurassic Park. – [laughs] Be careful, dinosaur around the corner. [laughs] – They filmed Jurassic Park in several places here in Hawaii. – They have dinosaurs here.

– [laughs] [music] Oh, wow, baby, look at that. It’s a waterfall in a tunnel. -Yeah. -How amazing. -Have you ever seen a waterfall in a tunnel?

Look at this. This is so impressive, how amazing. I don’t know how this place is not full of tourists. It is so beautiful. Only us here.

– Only us. – Yes, this whole place only for us. -Whole Jurassic Park. – [laughs] – No dinosaurs. Two waterfalls here.

Let’s go to Akaka first. Really easy trail here inside the park, fully paved. Look at this. And it looks like Akaka falls is not very far from the parking lot. Oh, my God!

This is so beautiful. Look at this drop. This wall! [music] It can be raining, it doesn’t matter.

It is so beautiful.

It even looks like there’s a natural pool down there, but you just see the falls from a lookout point here. I see no trail to go down. There’s another waterfall here, too. These are the Kahūnā Falls. This is really tiny in comparison to the other.

America's wettest city: Hilo - Big Island, HAWAII (+ Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea)

Very easy to get to the falls. It’s a loop that you go through, and you see both falls. Perfect to bring kids. The trail is all paved, and everything is very close to the parking lot. Look at how high we are now.

Akaka Falls, Kahūnā Falls.

This is the little town we went through, Honomu. And this, I imagine, it might be Hilo. This is a state park, so there are fees to come in here. $5 if you want to come with your vehicle parking inside, or if you want to park outside, like those people are doing, it’s a dollar per person.

Payment is here in this machine, so you got to bring the exact change, or credit cards, because they don’t give change. Oh, how beautiful. [music] We’re back in Hilo now, and it is so cool because they have waterfalls in the middle of the city, basically. We’re just arriving at the Rainbow Falls. They have this name because there’s a rainbow here, but it’s normally only in the morning with the sunlight.

We knew we wouldn’t see any rainbow here today, but it’s still very beautiful.

[music] Between March and December, Hilo has an average of 20 days of rain every month. You should almost expect rain when you come here. Constant rain has an advantage, right? Naturally green everywhere.

Kamehameha, the Great, the king that unified Hawaii. But this statue has an interesting history, it was not supposed to be here. It was in Kauai originally, but people there refused to have it because he never conquered Kauai, Kauai chose to join the Hawaii Islands. They raised some funds and brought the statue here. Look at these names here, how interesting.

All in Hawaiian. It’s impressive the amount of vowels.

It seems easier to read than Russian, for example. We’re right here in the statue, and this is the Hilo Bay. Imagine this entire area here being destroyed by tsunamis.

This is the bayfront here in Hilo. It is a beautiful park, but it was not meant originally to be one. This entire area here was destroyed by tsunamis. Not only once, but twice. After the second one, the city condemned the area here, and made it a park.

Tsunamis here are rare, but they can happen. And talking about disasters, Hilo is also on the path of Mauna Loa that other massive volcano that we saw on the way here. Mauna Loa is not an extinct volcano. It is still active. Look at this, another black sand beach here.

This is fine sand. Now it’s wet, so you can’t really tell, but it is fine. [music] Really beautiful area, this park here. [trying to pronounce a Japanese name] You really learned Japanese, huh? – Carvalho – Carvalho!

This might be Brazilian. – At least it’s Portuguese. – Yeah. One more interesting place here in Hilo. There’s this road here called Banyan Drive.

Why? Because it’s full of banyans everywhere. Look at the trees. In the beginning of last century, the city had this idea to invite Hollywood actors and personalities in general to come here plant these trees to promote the city, and it worked. Today as you walk, there are little signs here like this showing who planted the tree, and the year.

Look at this one, King George V, 1934, Queen Elizabeth’s grandpa. Amelia Earhart, pioneer woman in aviation. She was the first woman to fly across the Atlantic. It’s amazing how the trees grew like this in less than a century. Moving on because it’s sprinkling again.

Japanese garden here, how beautiful. It’s a shame that it started raining right now. But on a good day, you can just come for a drive, see the gardens, or park the car and enjoy. Totally free. The name of this park is Queen Liliʻ Uokalani.

The name is a homage to the last queen of Hawaii Luckily, our hotel was right here in this area. Home sweet home for two more nights. So we checked in and patiently waited for another chance to go out. No..

. couldn’t use that. Let’s go, baby. – We could go right here. – Yeah, we could.

Look at the weather, cleared up a little, perfect for a picnic. – My new favorite food. – Yeah. Mmm, mmm. My new favorite food, too.

Which one is better? – Mine. [laughs] – It’s good, too. – It’s very good. – Very good.

[music] – How’s the water? – It’s nice. – Nice? – It’s cool at first, but..

. – Yeah. [music] – Would you jump? – I did already when I was young. – There?

– Yeah. In places like this, yeah. – Oh, so you’re old now. You won’t jump.

I would.

It’s so interesting as you turn the camera another way, there’s one tiny area that has blue sky. So if you turn the camera the right way, it looks like a beautiful sunny day, huh? Look at the rest of the city. Yeah..

. It’s all cloudy and rainy. [music] All of a sudden it just starts raining. – Just like that, it rains. – Yeah, it was so nice.

Hilo is the largest city on the Big Island and also the wettest city in the entire United States. It rains more here than in Seattle and 10 times more than in Honolulu. What I’ve seen online though is that the sun normally comes out in the mornings, and it tends to rain in the evenings. Now it is so interesting to see the different microclimates that exist here. I saw people online saying that 8 out of the possible 10 that exists in the entire world are here.

Some other people said that 10 out of the 14, 15 that exist are here.

There is no consensus in the numbers. But the fact is that there are a lot of different microclimates here. And when you come to Hawaii, you should plan for everything. Look at the forecast here.

At least it’s warm. We woke up today and the weather is like this. It is so frustrating because our plans were to visit the number one attraction here on the Big Island, Volcanoes National Park. That’s where Kīlauea is located, that volcano that you always see in the news. The volcano is considered by many the most active in the world.

During this trip, there was no lava flow, but the volcano is erupting right now. And the previous eruption went from 1983 until 2018. That’s 35 years. These are the live cameras at Volcanoes National Park.

It’s raining a lot there.

You can see right here. Weather is really bad there. You see? It’s all dark at this time in the morning. Kīlauea is by far the most active of the five volcanoes that form the Big Island.

And I was so excited to see it. What makes it difficult is that a visit to Volcanoes National Park involves a lot of hiking, outdoor activities… And if there’s one thing you learn here on the Big Island is that you can’t go against nature.

So be it! Next time..

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