Hawaii: Nature close-ups and sketches

On our first Saturday on the Big Island, Erik and I drove down the eastern coast, where there are lots of little scenic byways. We bought arare shortbread (delicious!) at a small farmers’ market next to a gas station, got a little more sun than was good for us, and visited a beautiful botanical garden that I have no photos of because my camera battery died. (I’m hoping to get back there another day to take photos. It’s a stunning spot with a fascinating backstory.)

Before the garden, though, we were driving along the highway when we spotted a sign for Akaka Falls. That sounded good. We drove uphill through a tiny town (Honomu, population 541), then turned onto a small road that went for a long time. There was no sign of the falls, nor of anything really, just empty fields dotted here and there with houses and a couple of fruit stands where guys made the shaka sign at us as we went by. After some time we came suddenly upon a “road ends” sign, and sure enough, the road dead-ended into an unexpectedly busy parking lot with restrooms
and info signs for the falls.

Akaka Falls is a single-drop waterfall twice the height of the much more famous Niagara Falls, and you can see it from a “trail” that is really an easy, smoothly paved, 0.4-mile (0.64 km) loop.


It’s not so often that such dramatic sights are so easy to get to, which probably explains the (at least) two busloads of Japanese and Korean tourists.


Fortunately, they mainly clustered around the overlooks, so the trail itself was relatively peaceful. This was my first good look at Big Island flora — a crazy abundance of foliage in every shape and size, punctuated with the bright colors of berries, flowers, or bugs.














Yep, all of this was along one 0.4-mile bit of trail. As we got near the end of the loop, my battery ran out (my camera informs me of this by displaying the text, “battery exhausted,” which always makes me feel like I’ve wearied the poor thing) and I took out my sketchbook instead. I tried to capture the intensity of all that plant life, but the real thing is so much more chaotic and vibrant.




12 responses to “Hawaii: Nature close-ups and sketches

  1. I love seeing the photos of growing things that are so different from what grows in my part of the world. I especially love the photo of that large leaf with the holes in it. And the ferny thing with the dark dots. Your sketches are wonderful, too! I really love that second one, with the dark tree.

    • Thanks so much, Alejna! Me too — that’s how I always end up running around in new places taking macro shots of all the flora. 😉 The holey leaf reminds me of the way they make fougasse bread at one of my favorite Bay Area bakeries!

    • Thank you very much, Sarah!! I’ve been curiously uninterested in drawing/painting since I got here; I’ve been doing more writing; but it’s good to get the equipment out every now and then and do some more practice. Sigh. Hope you’re doing well in Minneapolis!

  2. Lisa, I cannot comment it in different way: WOW, looks like paradise!!!
    I am so glad you can see it. Thank you!!! for sharing

    • Oh, you’re so welcome, Aga!! Thank you for sharing in this small bit of paradise that I can give. 🙂 I wish you were here to see it yourself — you’d love it.

    • Thank you, Mo!! Hee. It makes me smile every time I see it, even if I’m usually annoyed that the battery ran out. 😉 (Why can’t they have a more reliable battery-life indicator?!)

  3. Hi Lisa! I found you blog when I was searching for some info about Hveragerði for my upcoming iceland trip and have really enjoyed reading about your adventures. Its amazing to be able to travel like this. I just wanted to say that I really like your writing style and sketches! Looking forward to your new posts!

    • Hi Elaine! Thank you ever so much for reading and taking the time to comment! Ahh, how exciting you’re going to Iceland. I really loved it there (as you can tell from my posts)! Feel free to email me if you have questions about anything there. 🙂

    • Thanks, Alan! This is definitely a very different round of travels, not just here but the other places we’ll visit too before returning home in June. I’m curious to see how my perspective and experience change this time around!

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