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Exploring Hilo
14 January 2007

Tree Geocache
geocaching Cave We just finished another round of coffee picking so we decided to take the day off and go to Hilo to for some geocaching.  We have already found almost all the geocaches on this side of the island but there are still a few left on the Hilo side.  We made a list and headed off to find them.

Kona is on the leeward side of the island so it is generally much drier.  Hilo is on the windward side of the island and receives the bulk of the rain.  Even though it was bright and sunny here in Kona all morning, we got plenty of rain while in Hilo.  The rain didn't stop us though.

The first geocache we looked for was hidden in a large banyan tree.  It required some climbing to find it.  The complex root and trunk structure of banyan trees makes them fun to climb.  The large hanging roots are also great for Tarzan impersonations.

Our next stop was a nearby lava tube.  This is a 25 mile long lava tube formed by an 1881 lava flow from Mauna Loa.  The flow came within 1 1/2 miles of Hilo Bay before Princess Ruth arrived from Honolulu.  She went to the lava flow where she spend all day praying to Pele and that night she slept in the lava's path.  By morning the lava had abruptly stopped.  Modern science can't stop lava flows but apparently Princess Ruth's prayers could.

The lava tube is blocked and collapsed at many points along its path but at this particular sky light it is possible to explore the cave for two miles before hitting a blockage.  We did bring a flashlight but after a few feet we decided we've been in enough lava tubes so we turned around to head for the next geocache instead.

In the park next to Hilo Bay is a very large banyan tree.  It really is quite an impressive tree, much bigger than the previous banyan tree we had climbed.  This tree takes up a good portion of the park and hidden somewhere amongst the complex root structure is a tiny micro cache.  We knew this was going to be a difficult geocache to find so we brought our lunch to the park and had a picnic while looking for the cache.  We even used our flashlight to search the dark crevices.  It was no use though, after a couple hours we had to give up.  Maybe next time we're in Hilo we'll be able to search some more.

Falls Our final stop for the day was at Rainbow Falls.  Other than the fact that it was raining, the falls were perfect.  Just enough water that it was fun to watch but not so much that it was a big muddy mess.  Our GPS led us along a trail to the top of the falls that we never would have found otherwise.  We also discovered a magnificent swimming hole.  Too bad it was rainy and cold.  We'll just have to come back on a warm, sunny day.

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