When I was born, Hawaii was not yet a state. I was in first grade when Alaska became a state, followed 7 months later by Hawaii. It was the coolest thing ever, two new stars added to our flag! I thought that every year we would add new states, as I was way too young to understand how long it had been since any state was added to the Union. Before Alaska, Arizona was the last state, and Arizona joined the union on Valentine's Day in 1912. That means in the last 100 years, give or take, we've added only 3 states to the Union, yet the last state to join was more than 50 years ago.
Oh, the photo above, that is Rainbow Falls off the Saddleback Road on the Big Island. You can see the rainbow in the lower right on the rock.
This is another state park outside of Hilo called Boiling Pots. I think at certain times, the pools of water that you can see will bubble but they weren't bubbling when we were there early morning. It was sunny, warm and beautiful. Whomever says that it rains all the time in Hilo must be talking about some other time of year. Sure, it rains daily but it rains in Kauai, too, and you don't hear anybody complaining about that.
There is a visitor's center located about 6 miles up this road. We never made it all the way to the summit because it was raining, foggy and the guy at the Visitor's Center said even with 4-wheel drive it would be dangerous. He said the last tourist who got stuck up there had to pay $1,400 to get his car towed. The top of the mountain is almost 14,000 feet from sea level; from the ocean floor it's over 33,000 feet, making Mauna Kea the tallest mountain in the world. It snows on the cap of Mauna Kea, and I spotted blotches of snow along the way. Snow. In Hawaii.
OK, by the time we reached this scenic spot at Waipio Valley, it had begun to rain and the fog blanketed the shore. This is a sacred spot, and you're not supposed to go down there except by invitation. The road from Mauna Kea to Waipio led us through lush forested canopies and past cattle plantations. If it hadn't been raining and impossible to shoot the shot because there was no place to pull over, I would have jumped out of the car to show you the road. At one spot, you could see the rolling blacktop made up 8 hills, way off in the distance, up and down and up and down. In another a triple set of S turns.
Another interesting tidbit, the guy for whom the Douglas Fir was named, this botanist Douglas, lived in the region when it was overrun by wild cows. The cows were mean, not like today's cows. He was walking along the road when he fell into a pit designed to trap cows. Fortunately, he survived the fall. But so did this bull, and the bull gored him to death. True story.
Photos: Elizabeth Weintraub