Hawaii day 7

With an evening flight and only 30 miles to drive, we didn’t really have a plan for our last day on the island, and so spent it rather enjoyably wandering around places that we may not otherwise have bothered to visit. We began with the aptly-named Devastation trail, where the woodland was covered with ash from the 1959 eruption in the Kilauea Iki crater.

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Just outside the park, we stopped to look at a collection of tree casts, where big trees were encased with lava, which preserved their shape before vaporising them.

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Next stop was the Kipukapuaulu bird trail – a woodland reserve apparently renowned for its bird life. With our usual wildlife-spotting ability, we heard a lot of birds but failed to actually see any, apart from a couple of Kalij pheasants (not native to Hawaii) which wandered into the path.

Back in Volcano village, we admired a few of the local art galleries before stopping for a delicious lunch in the charming Cafe Ono. (We ate very well the whole week we were in Hawaii actually – they place a big emphasis on fresh local produce, and of course lots of seafood, and most places seemed very capable of handling my ridiculous dietary issues.)

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En route to Hilo, we stopped at Fahrenheit 2400 glassblowers, and the Akatsuka orchid gardens, both offering amazingly-detailed and brightly-coloured delights.

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Back in Hilo we picked up some more of that delicious ice cream, before visiting the Lyman Museum. This is currently one of those slightly old-fashioned collections which contains all kinds of interesting things, but could use a rethink in terms of explanatory text. We missed the last tour of the neighbouring Mission House, which may have helped to set the scene (I discovered from browsing a book in the giftshop that the Lymans came to Hawaii as missionaries). The main museum contains exhibits on Hawaii’s geology and nature,  an apparently world-class collection of minerals (collected by a later Lyman), and a fascinating selection of clothes and cultural artefacts from Hawaii’s various immigrant communities. Despite spending quite a bit of the afternoon looking around the galleries I still have no idea how these collections fit together, or how they came to be assembled, and that’s a pity.

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Then it was time for quick trip to the shops to buy dinner before taking the car back to the airport and preparing to catch our flight. Hilo is the only airport I’ve even been to where the general seating is lounge chairs and sofas after you pass through security, but before getting to them we had a lengthy wait landside until check-in opened. We managed to make the best of it though…

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