Here are some highlights from yesterday’s meanderings around the Big Island. Switching over to the ‘rainy’ side of the island, we bopped over to Hilo, the oldest city in the archipelago. Surprisingly, there was no rain. For an area that receives an average of about 140″ of rain, this is pretty remarkable but we were grateful nonetheless. Our mission, to see the Pana’ewa Rainforest Zoo and Gardens, the only natural rainforest zoo in the country. Traveling along the Daniel K. Inouye Highway, the roadway connecting the western to the eastern side of the Big Island, also known as the Saddle Road, we shaved about 30 minutes off the trip and we were able to see snow-capped Mauna Kea with blue skies around it. While the roadway is wind-swept with Mauna Kea on one side of the road and Mauna Loa on the other, Mauna Loa was shrouded in grey clouds. 🙁 Mauna Kea, the state’s tallest peak at 13,796 ft., is a dormant volcano while Mauna Loa with the Kilauea caldera is definitely still active and growing.
Although the main attraction of the zoo (Namaste the Bengal white tiger) passed away in 2014, there are still a few other animal attractions and a wide array of gorgeous Hawaiian plants.
We managed to see the state bird, the Nene which is one of the most endangered birds in the world and is closely related to the Canadian goose.This peacock kind of followed us around when we first arrived. Pretty spectacular, isn’t he?
While the animal exhibits were somewhat limited, there were a number of macaws and other birds, several of whom chatted up a storm. This guy kept repeating “hello, bye-bye and Mac Nut.” A stunning blue, he was quite the specimen and an even bigger character who clearly seemed to enjoy the attention.
Still, the small number of exhibits were no comparison to the various flora. Not living in a rain forest environment, I’m in awe of tropical plants in nature. My experience has only been with small specimens on desk tops. From parasitic orchids to large bromeliads and little pineapples, Hawaii has some amazing and colorful plant life.
We took the scenic route home and checked out the Waipi’o Overlook outside Honokaa. Talk about breath-taking! Although it’s rained at some point nearly every day in Kona, we are keeping our fingers crossed tomorrow is a good day for the beach.
Speaking of crossed fingers, our daily spying on Sam revealed a semi-behaved hound (for a change). He’d been walking around as if in
disbelief a daze before I snagged a pic off the video feed, no doubt wondering where the devil we went and why had we left him for so long. That or the whole drama MO with paw to forehead, and a breathless thought something like…”Day 8 and the uprights are still missing (cue the creepy organ music 🎶). Where could they have possibly gone?” Here’s he’s orchestrating the sun worshipers’ canine society in Denver’s 66º weather. Hope they’re using sunscreen.
Live, love, bark! <3